Article by Harry Lipsiea, Devils Lake Journal Sports, January 30th, 2017.
If you add up the points from three of the quarters in the Mon-Dak Conference women's basketball matchup between Lake Region State College and Dakota College at Bottineau, the score of Sunday's game would be tied up at 47. The third quarter, however, changed everything at the Devils Lake Sports Center.
Leading 32-30 at the half, the Royals wasted no time charging out of the gates in the third quarter. Ultimately, the team put up 31 points while limiting its opponent to just six points. The third-quarter performance led to a 78-53 conference victory for Lake Region State College.
"That's the best quarter we have played all season long," LRSC head coach Danny Mertens pointed out. "You look at the 31 points we scored, but take a step back and look that they only scored six points. Good defense feeds offense and that was the case for us. Once we locked down, our shots started to fall and then it was contagious."
Another good sign for the Royals is easy to tell by looking at the stat sheet. LRSC had five players in double figures to give the team an extremely balanced attack.
"That's great to see," Mertens added. "We were sharing the ball really well and it showed. Credit to Mikayla Wallace who came off the bench and knocked down some big shots. That's an example of someone filling their role and that is exactly what we have been talking to the players about this season."
The Royals held a 16-12 lead after one quarter and a 32-30 advantage at the half. LRSC used its big third stanza to take a 63-30 advantage going into the fourth before earning the 78-53 triumph.
Cassidy Nelson led the team in scoring with 15 points and seven rebounds. Emily Schafer finished with 14 points. Mackenzie Irwin added 13 points while Mikayla Wallace and Jillian Hanson scored 11 points each. Helen Schuster chipped in with eight points. Ella Gobald added four points while Jadyn Fee scored two.
"It was a confidence booster for us," the coach said. "The way we played in that third period was unbelievable. We used the whole court, lock down on defense and hit shots. That is the type of team we want to be all the time. I was extremely pleased with our effort. I think it will be important for us moving forward."
With the victory, LRSC improves to 11-7 and 3-3 in the conference. Mertens pointed out that the Royals will have a chance to avenge all three of its Mon-Dak losses in home games during the second half of its conference schedule.
"We are now evened up at the conference again. We have the chance to take care of business at home against the three teams that beat us," he said.
That starts Wednesday evening as the Royals play the Mystics of Bismarck State College. The 13-3 team knocked off LRSC 88-70. Mertens believes the key will be stopping 5-foot-11 sophomore Macy Lynch.
"They go as far as she takes them," the coach said. "So we need to limit her. To do that, we will be doing some different things with personnel and how we guard Lynch. It will be a good opportunity to see if we have improved from earlier in the season."