LaCombe's record day propels LSUE to victory
GLENDALE, AZ – The LSUE Lady Bengals scratched out a 106-105 win here Thursday night over Glendale Community College and Candace LaCombe broke three NJCAA records to give the squad their seventh win of the season.
The Lady Bengals (7-8) came into the game with a subpar 6-8 record on the season, just one day after a heartbreaking 91-83 loss in Tucson, and LSUE was up against the NJCAA’s most efficient scoring team, the Glendale CC Gauchos (6-4), who average 110.6 points per game.
Former Iota standout, Lacombe went 21 for 21 at the free throw line, and broke three national NJCAA records during the contest. She was one free throw shy of tying the all-time NCAA record of 22 straight in a single game.
The first of the three records came at the 3:29 mark in the first half, when Lacombe hit her sixth free throw of the night, breaking the NJCAA record for most consecutive free throws in a career, her 24th consecutive at that point.
Later in the game, with 16:43 in the 2nd half, LaCombe hit her 17th free throw of the game, breaking the NJCAA record for most free throws in a game, as well as the record for most free throws in a row.
Her career streak was extended to 51, which started on November 22nd against Allen County Community College in Kansas. She finished the night with 33 points.
LaCombe currently leads LSUE in points per game (18.7) and rebounds (7.9) while logging an average of 30.3 minutes per contest. She also has 11 blocked shots and 17 steals on the season.
LaCombe is 89-for-99 from the free throw line and has also knocked down 40 3-pointers in 15 games.
LSUE started off slow against Glendale, falling behind 17-2, and forcing head coach Michael Bari to call his only full timeout just 4 minutes into the game.
After the timeout, the Bengals rallied, hitting nine of ten free throws after Glendale started racking up fouls. Fast break layups and a three pointer by Amanda Fontenot eventually closed the gap, and the Bengals took the lead with seven minutes remaining in the first half. The two teams traded baskets until halftime, where the Bengals held the 54-51 advantage at the break.
But in the second half, it was the record-breaking performance of Candace LaCombe and gritty defense by Quanessa Batiste that made the difference for the Lady Bengals. The dynamic duo of Batiste and Sierra Goldwire combined for 27 second half points to keep the score close.
A late run, including some tough shots made by Glendale’s Baja Biggs, who hit three second half three-point field goals, and a clutch three by Chelsea Brown extended the Glendale lead to five points.
A Mallory Thorton 17-foot jumper, one of two free throws by Jennifer Hicks, and a fast break layup off a steal by Batiste tied the game at 104.
Goldwire was called for her fifth foul with 30 seconds left, and sent Glendale’s Brittany Lopez to the line. Lopez hit one of two to gave Glendale a 105-104 lead.
Hicks pulled down the rebound off the missed Lopez free throw, and Danielle Morgan was fouled under the basket, sending her to the line for two free throws. Morgan converted both free throws putting LSUE up by one, and Glendale was unable to score in the final 15 seconds, giving the Lady Bengals their fifth win in the last seven games.