First Conference Win At Central Wyoming
After six weeks of close and not-so-close contests, the Northwest College women’s basketball team finally shed the monkey on its back. The Lady Trappers won their first conference game of the season last week at Central Wyoming, 68-66.
“We finally played a whole four quarters and we did it as a team,” said NWC sophomore Tayla Sayer. “Everyone had a role to play and executed it. It’s an awesome feeling to win a game after the hard work that has been put in all season.”
The celebration was cut a little short, however, as NWC fell to Region IX North-leading Casper on Saturday, 82-46.
The 2018-19 regular season is quickly winding down, with the Lady Trappers playing their final home game of the year Saturday against Western Wyoming. NWC is trying to avoid going into the Region IX Tournament as the No. 8 seed.
“We have to get everybody healthy,” said NWC head coach Camden Levett. “We still have a chance to fight for that seventh seed, and that’s pretty important. ... We’re in front of our home crowd that’s been there for us all year. And with Saturday being Sophomore Night, we have plenty of stuff to play for.”
LADY TRAPPERS 68, CENTRAL WYOMING 66
After an 11-game losing skid to start 2019, the Lady Trappers (3-24, 1-11) finally found themselves on the winning end of things, beating Central Wyoming (9-18, 3-9) in Riverton, 68- 66. NWC avenged a 74-69 loss to the Lady Rustlers in Powell last month.
“It was just a great win — everybody played a part,” Levett said. “We had some new faces out there that were able to buy the starters some minutes and get their feet wet a little bit.”
The Lady Trappers jumped out to an early lead and held it into the fourth quarter, where it became a back-and-forth contest. Northwest led by as much as 15 in the first half and took a 37-28 lead into the break.
“Our defense was playing well, and our offense was shooting better than we have in the past,” Levett said. “Everything was clicking. I told the girls at half that we’ve been here before with the lead, so we have to stay composed. We knew they were going to make a run, we just have to weather the storm.”
The Rustlers slowly chipped away as the second half wore on, cutting the lead to one point by the end of the third quarter. Central came out firing to start the fourth, hitting their first three shots to take a six-point lead.
“We called timeout at that point, got everyone re-focused,” Levett said. “We got stops and made our buckets. It was fun — it was back-and-forth.”
NWC freshman Juliana Ribeiro had a breakout game for the Lady Trappers, netting 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds to lead the team in both categories.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Levett said of Ribeiro’s performance. “She played really well, and we’ve been waiting for a game like that out of her, very efficient.”
Ribeiro said it was a good feeling just to get another victory.
“I felt great to win again,” she said. “We played very well, we focused on our goals, we also knew how important this game was. I think when we play together we become stronger. We have to keep this spirit in every game.”
Selena Cudney followed with 15 points, while Melissa Martinez scored 13 points, to go along with six boards and two assists. Taylor Groll started in place of an ill Kaylee Brown and chipped in six points.
“Taylor Groll has been playing a lot of good minutes for us, and I think she earned a start for us,” Levett said.
Mikkel McIntosh and Tess Henry added five points apiece.
NWC shot a respectable 49 percent from the floor (26-53), while committing just 11 turnovers. They hit on 12 of 22 shots from the charity stripe to finish at 54.5 percent.
Though she didn’t make the trip, Brown said the win was a special one, considering the obstacles the team has had to overcome this season.
“I watched every minute and was so proud of how everyone played, and kept their heads when the going got a little tough,” she said. “I started crying once we won because I was so happy and wished I could’ve been there to support. Now it’s time to take this win and run with it.”
CASPER 82, LADY TRAPPERS 46
The Casper Lady T-Birds came into Cabre Gym Saturday atop the Region IX North with an 11-1 conference record, 22-6 overall. They quickly showed why, cruising to a 82-46 win.
“Casper is good in all aspects of the game,” Levett said. “They’re a big team and really physical; they have some size to them. They’d be a handful for anybody.”
Northwest was without Wednesday’s hero, as Ribeiro was sidelined with the flu.
“I think we did compete at times, but I think we were feeling a little sorry for ourselves,” Levett said. He added that, “we played hard with what we had.”
The Lady Trappers kept it close for much of the first quarter, but Casper began pulling away at the end of the period to lead 19-8.
NWC sophomore Shelby Wardell, back from an ankle injury that sidelined her for a month, hit a 3-pointer to start the second quarter, cutting the lead to single digits at 19- 11. But that was as close as Northwest would get, with the T-Birds going into the half up 38-18.
Things weren’t much better in the second half, with Northwest unable to get shots to fall consistently. The Lady Trappers ended the game shooting a dismal 25.9 percent (14 of 54) from the floor.
Wardell was a bright spot for NWC, sinking three of the team’s four 3-pointers and finishing with a team-high 11 points.
“Shelby [Wardell] got her shot going a little bit, which was good to see,” Levett said. “That was really her first game back, and it was good to have her. Tess Henry was back from injury as well, so we had some kids step up that hadn’t played for a while, so that was good to see.”
Martinez and Berkley Larsen netted nine points apiece, while Cudney chipped in five, and led the team in boards with seven. Sayer finished with six boards, to go along with three points.