LUBBOCK, Texas (February 25, 2016) – Kelsey Hoppel scored 17 points in the first half and top-ranked Lubbock Christian University used a 22-6 first quarter scoring advantage to defeat St. Mary's (Texas) 77-47 in Heartland Conference play Thursday night inside a crowded Rip Griffin Center.
LCU got off to a solid start, but it was generated around their defense. LCU scored the game's first 11 points while forcing StMU into six turnovers and 0-of-6 shooting in the opening 5:20 of the game. St. Mary's was 3-of-18 from the field in the opening quarter and held to two second-chance points despite seven offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, LCU was 50% (8-of-16) from the field in the opening quarter, with six different players tallying at least one field goal in the quarter.
Hoppel, who scored all of her game-high 17 points in the first half (only played six minutes in the second half), had 12 points in the second quarter and was 5-of-7 from the field in the quarter. Hoppel had more field goals in the first half (seven) as St. Mary's entire team had in the first half (five) and it led to a 44-16 halftime lead. The Rattlers were just 2-of-14 (14.3%) in the second quarter for a 15.6% (5/32) mark in the first half. Dezirae Elias (0-of-8) and LaBraile Fields (0-of-5) were a combined 0-for-13 from the field in the half. LCU forced StMU into 15 turnovers in the half and had a 20-7 advantage in points off turnovers. The Lady Chaps also had a 22-4 scoring advantage in the paint in the half.
LCU opened the second half on a 10-3 run and jumped out to a 54-19 lead. Tess Bruffey hit four field goals in the third quarter and LCU used an 18-4 scoring advantage in the paint in the quarter to take a 64-28 lead into the fourth quarter. LCU led as much as 45 points (75-30 with 6:09 remaining) before Ciara Briseno knocked down three three-pointers and scored 12 of her team-leading 15 points in the fourth quarter. LCU committed 10 turnovers (nine from bench players) in the final quarter.
The Lady Chaps won by 30 points despite committing 21 turnovers, allowing 24 rebounds and being outrebounded for the third time this season. They did have the percentages in their favor, shooting 56.1% (32/57) in the game (65.2% in second half) and holding StMU to 24.3% from the field. LCU finished with a 44-14 scoring advantage in the paint.
Hoppel was one of three Lady Chaps in double figures, as LCU received 16 points from Bruffey and 10 points from Haley Fowler. Freshman Olivia Robertson was 4-of-4 from the field and matched a career high with eight points in just five minutes of game time. Along with Briseno, the Rattlers received 10 points each from Dezirae Elias and Kiara Etheridge, who also had a double-double with 11 rebounds.
While StMU fell to 16-9 overall and 10-7 in conference, LCU improved to 25-0 overall and 17-0 in conference. LCU will try to close out the regular season with a perfect 26-0 record Saturday at noon hosting Texas A&M International.
In the opening 21:26 of the game, St. Mary's had field goal droughts of 8:57, 5:20 and 3:05. They went the final 7:31 of the first half without a field goal.
STAT OF THE GAME
Nicole Hampton notched her second highest steal total, with six steals (one off the Rip Griffin Center record). It is the highest steal total for her since recording seven on Nov. 21, 2013 against Oklahoma Panhandle State. Along with Hampton, Elias of StMU had six steals as well. That is the most by an LCU opponent since Candice Fallowwell of Arkansas-Fort Smith had six on Feb. 12, 2015.