Article by Harry Lipsiea, Devils Lake Journal Sports, February 2nd, 2017.
Going into Wednesday evening, the Lake Region State College women's basketball team centered its gameplan around stopping one player. Bismarck State College sophomore Macy Lynch averages 19 points a game and gets her team going.
"She is a very good player," Danny Mertens, third-year LRSC women's head coach. "Our goal was to shut her down and lock in on everyone else to make sure no one had easy looks."
After the first half, the Royals executed the first part of the gameplan well limiting Lynch to eight points and forcing six turnovers. It, however, was the sophomore's supporting cast that hurt LRSC early on as the Mystics jumped out to a commanding 46-19 lead at the half.
"I thought we did an excellent job shutting down Lynch in the first half, but we didn't lock down on everyone else," Mertens said. "She would penetrate and would kick it out for a three. We just didn't do a very good job sticking with our assignments."
Bismarck State College went on to earn an 87-61 Mon-Dak Conference victory over the Royals. With the loss, the Royals fall to 3-4 in conference play.
The Mystics found success early and often. Three-point shots by Nicole Bunting and Hannah Hanson gave the road team a 16-2 advantage in the first. The hot shooting continued as Lynch and Cassidy Wilhelm added baskets to make the score 29-7 going into the second period.
LRSC worked to battle back in the second as baskets by Cassidy Nelson and Mer Gach got the squad going. But, it didn't last long. Threes by Mariah Sellon and Syann Golus gave the Mystics a 27-point halftime lead.
It looked as if it would be more the same early on in the third as BSC took a 60-29 lead after Sellon nailed a three. The Royals played much better in the second half as the team's shooting started to heat up. A three by Helen Schuster and jumpers by Nelson and Mackenzie Irwin cut the Mystic's lead to 64-42 going into the fourth period.
LRSC finished out is 15-2 run to cut its deficit to 16 points at one point after an Emily Schafer bucket. But, the Mystics stretched its lead thanks to three straight buckets by Lynch. Bismarck State College closed out the contest on another run earning the 87-61 victory.
Bismarck State College shot 47 percent from the field while finishing with 50 percent from beyond the arc hitting 14-of-28 shots.
The Royals finished at 31 percent from the field, 21 percent for three-point land and 33 percent at the charity stripe.
"I have said it before and I will say it again, our defense fuels our offense. When we aren't able to make stops, we have a hard time getting much going on the other end," Mertens told the Journal. "Because we had breakdowns our defense, our shooting wasn't very good."
Nelson led the Royals with 15 points. Schafer finished with nine points and seven boards. Gach added seven points and nine rebounds. Schuster chipped in with six points while Mikayla Wallace had five points. Irwin and Jadyn Fee scored four points apiece while Jillian Hanson scored three points. R'rionna Brocks, Karly Kennelly, Jaden Hanson and Ella Gobald rounded out the scoring with two points each.
Lynch led all players with 31 points.
LRSC looks to bounce back Monday on the road against Williston State College.
"It's a big game for us," Mertens said. "We will need to play defense from the start and I think that will help us knock our shots down. It's going to be a different game out there, they always play well at home."