BILLINGS – It’s already been a historic season for the Lewis-Clark State women, who are just one win away from the first NAIA National Championship in program history.
The Warriors blitzed Vanguard 65-41 in Monday’s semifinals behind 12 assists from Caelyn Orlandi that helped four teammates score in double figures. They can expect a much stiffer test from Oklahoma City University in Tuesday’s title game – winners of three of the last five national championships.
But LC State beat the Stars in the NAIA opening round last year, and says they’ve played games like this all season.
“I think the Frontier Conference has prepared us for this moment,” said senior point guard Caelyn Orlandi. “I think we have one of the toughest conference in the whole nation. I mean, we had a bunch of ranked teams and every time you go play a league game, it’s a down-to-the-wire game. I think that has given us a lot of game scenarios that we’ve taken here.”
Sophomore Jossilyn Blackman believes the team has lots of confidence going into Tuesday night.
“Honestly, I don’t think our team has a doubt,” said Blackman. “I don’t remember a ton from last year – I was a freshman and I was really nervous going into playing them. I just remember we were playing hard, and you know, this next one is gonna be all about team effort.”
The Warriors are trying to treat it like any other game.
“This will be my third time playing them out of four years,” said Orlandi, “and each time they’ve been a different team. Different players, different coaches, so I mean, they’re just another team.”