This Thursday, the LMU women's basketball team played in its first postseason tournament in 14 years. Unfortunately for the Lions, they lost to the Idaho Vandals at home with a score of 79 to 64. Here are three significant takeaways from this playoff matchup:
3. Women make first postseason appearance in 15 years.
Despite the disappointing result Thursday night, the Lions' participation in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (NIT) represented an impressive achievement for the program. The last time the women's basketball team was invited to a postseason tournament was 2004. Much of the team’s current roster were small children at the time. This appearance alone is worth celebration, as it highlights the team's historic run this year.
2. Lions outshot from beyond the arch.
There was one glaring difference between the two sides Thursday night: their disparity in three-point shooting. Idaho shot a respectable 40 percent from the three-point line, going 11 for 27, while LMU’s three-point efficiency was well below par. The team managed only a 16 percent conversion rate from their three-point attempts, making three of their 19 shots.
The LMU women have not been a standout three-point shooting team all season, often relying more on consistent points in the paint to outscore opponents. However, Thursday night showed what happens when they face off against a team that can shoot from range. The Idaho offense exploded early on, with its first four buckets coming from the three-point line. This earned the Vandals an early commanding lead as the Lions spent the rest of the night playing catchup.
1. Loss marks the end of impressive season.
The Lions of the LMU women’s basketball program should look back at this season and feel nothing but pride in their team’s performance. They were able to replicate a similar hot start to last season, winning eight of their first 10 games. This translated to an 18-14 record overall and NIT appearance. In terms of individual performance, this season saw the rise of Chelsey Gipson as a program star. The sophomore guard scored 434 total points this season, regularly producing 20+ point performances. LMU basketball fans certainly must be excited at this burgeoning star’s continued development.