Frustration Mounts As Losing Streak Continues
Scoring woes continued last week for the Northwest College women’s basketball team, which is still in search of its first conference win with just six games left in the regular season.
After a pair of home losses to Laramie County CC and Eastern Wyoming on Wednesday and Saturday, the Lady Trappers are 0-8 in the Region IX North, though the team continues to show signs of improvement.
“Frustration is starting to build, with the way this season is going,” said Lady Trappers head coach Camden Levett. “But this is a group that still comes together. We play hard for all 40 minutes; they are a team that doesn’t give up. They play hard for each other, and they’re really supportive of one another.”
The Trappers were hurt by the absence of outside shooters Shelby Wardell and Tess Henry, both of whom have been plagued with recent injuries.
With nine players on the court for the two games, “I think we got worn down a bit in both games, and that’s when the other teams would make a run,” Levett said.
LCCC 81, LADY TRAPPERS 59
In Wednesday’s home contest against LCCC, the Lady Trappers (2-21, 0-8 in Region IX North) kept it close early with the Golden Eagles (15-8, 6-2). Baskets by Berkley Larsen, Juliana Ribeiro, Melissa Martinez and Tayla Sayer briefly gave NWC a one-point lead at 8-7, and the Lady Trappers trailed just 17-14 after the first quarter.
“We emphasized all week how we wanted to get off to a better start,” Levett said. “We definitely did in this game.”
The second quarter was a different story, though, as LCCC pushed its halftime lead to 41-30.
“The first time we played them [LCCC] we had a bad first quarter, then beat them the rest of the way,” Levett said of NWC’s 90-72 loss to the Golden Eagles last month. “But to win one quarter, that’s not good enough at this level. You have to play for the full 40 minutes.”
Northwest started the third quarter strong, with a field goal by Kaylee Brown and 3-pointers by Larsen and Martinez to cut the lead to 42-38. But LCCC countered with a 17-4 run to close out the third quarter, and that proved to be the momentum swing the Golden Eagles needed, cruising to an 81-59 win.
“Bottom line is, they [LCCC] got open shots and they made ‘em,” Levett said. “To me, that was the difference in the game.”
NWC made four of its eight free throws, but LCCC countered with a solid 72 percent after going eight of 11. The Eagles weren’t great from the floor, shooting just 42 percent, but NWC was worse, converting a dismal 29.9 percent.
The Lady Trappers did have 16 assists on its 23 field goals, so “we’re definitely playing unselfish; we’re playing as a team,” Levett said. “We just can’t get shots to fall like they do at practice.”
Two Lady Trappers finished in double figures, led by Melissa Martinez with 14 points. That included going 4 of 6 from behind the arc.
“She’s [Martinez] been playing well for us,” Levett said, adding, “We were going with three point guards out there, and I think that probably helped with our assist totals as well.”
Larsen followed with 11 points, to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Brown finished with nine points, Ribeiro with eight and Tayler Groll chipped in six.
Sayer led NWC in rebounds with nine, to go along with five points and three assists. LCCC’s Karli O’Brien led all scorers with 22 points.
EASTERN WYOMING 65, LADY TRAPPERS 55
Down 19-11 after one quarter to Eastern Wyoming, the Lady Trappers were in danger of once again letting a game get away from them early. The Lady Lancers (18-5, 5-3) came out with a fast-paced attack.
“... We knew that was part of their plan, they’ve done it all year,” Levett said. “We just didn’t get back quick enough. But once we fixed that, we did all right. But those early transition buckets got us.”
Northwest dialed in during the second frame, determined not to give up without a fight. After a quick basket by EWC pushed the lead to 11 points, the Lady Trappers went on a 13-2 run to tie the game at the half, 24-24. Field goals by Ribeiro, Brown, Lohrenz and Martinez pulled NWC to within three points, then Martinez hit a 3-pointer to bring the game even.
“I think we did a good job, for the most part, of beating their press,” Levett said, adding, “we played strong and physical, especially in that first half.”
Unfortunately, Northwest wasn’t able to carry that momentum into the second half. EWC went on an 18-5 run in the third quarter to go up 42-29. The Lady Trappers cut the lead to nine, 47-38, by the end of the third period behind a 3-point play and a free throw by Selena Cudney and a 3-pointer by Martinez.
Opening the final frame, Mikkel McIntosh drilled a 3-pointer and Cudney hit a bucket to cut the Lady Lancer’s lead to four, 47-43. But that was as close as the Lady Trappers would get, as EWC matched Northwest shot-for-shot the rest of the way, winning 65-55.
“It’s a disappointing loss, but what a team effort ...,” Levett said. “These girls are working their butts off — whether they play 30 minutes or 30 seconds, they’re going to give me everything they have. I really appreciate that.”
Northwest was led once again by Martinez, who sank four 3-pointers en route to a game-high 17 points. The freshman from Provo, Utah, narrowly missed a double-double, pulling down nine rebounds in the contest.
“She [Martinez] was definitely our floor general tonight,” Levett said.
Cudney followed with 11 points off the bench, completing a double-double with 12 rebounds, while Ribeiro finished with seven points. Sayer netted five points, while Brown, McIntosh and Lohrenz each chipped in four. Brown also led the team with four assists, and Ribeiro had both of the team’s blocked shots.
NWC improved to 71 percent from the charity stripe, going 10 of 14, though EWC won the battle of the boards 41-35.
The Lady Trappers traveled to Sheridan Wednesday, and will be on the road again Saturday to take on Gillette. The team’s last road game of the regular season will be Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Western Wyoming.