Coach Janis Beal’s pep talk after the first quarter was almost loud enough to echo from one side of the gym to the other.
The Northwest College women’s basketball team came out sleepily against Laramie Community College Tuesday night and it took a stern talking-to to jump-start the Lady Trappers.
Somehow, after playing poorly and being lucky to only trail by as much as 11 early, the Trappers looked like themselves in the second half and won by nearly 20 points, 75-56. The win raised Northwest’s record to 6-3.
“We needed to pick up our energy,” said sophomore Dani McManamen. “We weren’t even playing like we were there. Our effort and our intensity had to go way up.”
Laramie out-hustled, out-rebounded and out-defended Northwest. Besides the high-decibel lecture, Beal made one statement move in the second quarter, yanking all five players off the court at once.
Newly inserted Tayla Sayre hit a 3-pointer and Dallas Petties quickly made a drive and two free throws.
“They made a little bit of a run and started our momentum,” Beal said of the five-for-five substitution.
It was the stuff she witnessed first that was dismaying.
“I felt they were beating us in every aspect of the game,” Beal said. “Energy, excitement, desire. I think the girls realized it was on them.”
The second half was a different world. The NWC tempo changed, the shooting improved and the Trappers made their free throws when needed. They hit 21 out of 27 with McManamen going 6-for-6.
“I’ve always practiced them my whole life,” she said. “It’s something that’s important to me and important to the team.”
Kaylee Brown, a freshman from Ririe, Idaho, came off the bench and led the Trappers with 11 points.
Brown was steered to Northwest through an old Beal connection. Her high school coach’s sister-in-law played on the Trappers with Beal.
She and the other players identified their early-game problem, Brown using a variation of a word not found in the dictionary. She said the Trappers came out “lackadaisy.”
Northwest grabbed the lead, 43-41, with 2 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Kira Marlow (10 points) made a layup.
Then the Trappers owned the fourth quarter, with a spread of 27-12.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is going to be close at the end,’” Brown said.