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NWC women split home games

NWC freshman Alexi Payne of Molt, Montana, heads to the basket on a fast break during a home game against Little Big Horn College on Thursday, Feb. 9. NWC freshman Alexi Payne of Molt, Montana, heads to the basket on a fast break during a home game against Little Big Horn College on Thursday, Feb. 9. Tribune photo by Breanne Thiel

Last week went about the same way as the Northwest College women’s basketball team’s entire season has gone, with the Lady Trappers winning one and losing one at home.

NWC lost to Sheridan College, 71-67, on Wednesday, Feb. 8, before besting Little Big Horn College, 106-42, on Thursday, Feb. 9, to put the team’s overall record at 13-13.

NWC 106, Little Big Horn 42

Twenty-three Lady Trapper assists highlighted the home win against the Rams, led by 11 from Domenica Gomes. Gomes also led the team in steals, with eight.

As a team, Northwest also collected 22 steals spread across nine of the team’s 10 players; Little Big Horn, meanwhile, only took the ball away from the Lady Trappers six times.

Northwest’s dominance in the steals category helped the team force 35 turnovers while only committing 15 of their own.

NWC head coach Janis Beal said the ratio of 23 assists to 15 turnovers stood out for her.

“We were getting our teammates open instead of going one on one,” Beal said.

On the boards, the Lady Trappers similarly out-rebounded the Rams, 41-21. Dani McManamen and Dallas Petties led with eight boards each, followed by Alexi Payne with seven.

NWC shot 63.6 percent at the free throw line, 57.6 percent from the field and 42.9 percent at the 3-point line.

Coming off the bench for the very first time this season, Aubrey Payne made three treys in the second half of the game.

With each of those 3-point shots made, the bench erupted in applause and cheers — which coach Beal said was a testament to the support Aubrey Payne has shown from the bench all season as she’s battled an injury.

Jessie Lessard paced the team with 21 points, also sinking a trio of 3-pointers.

Three other players also scored in double digits: Petties had 17, Alexi Payne scored 14 and Kira Marlow made 13.

All 10 players put points up on the board.

Little Big Horn shot 36.4 percent at the free throw line, 34 percent from the field and 25 percent from the arc.

Sheridan 71, NWC 67

In the first half, the team built a 39-28 lead and “did a great job of our game plan,” Beal said.

That plan was to heavily guard Sheridan’s two leading scorers, which meant giving up a little bit in the post position.

“(We) did a great job of taking away their shooters in the first half,” Beal said.

In the third quarter, however, Sheridan came out firing, outscoring the Lady Trappers 25-14 in the quarter to tie the game at 53 going into the fourth quarter.

“In the second half, we gave up points inside, but didn’t take away shooters,” said Beal. “We tried to take chances and we left shooters open and they converted on those.”

The Lady Generals made seven of the team’s nine 3-pointers in the second half.

Sheridans improved offense was reflected in the shooting percentages: in the second half, the Lady Generals shot 80 percent at the free throw line (up from 50 percent in the first), 69.2 percent at the 3-point line (up from 50 percent) and 47.4 percent from the field (up from 44.4).

The Lady Trappers’ shooting percentages stayed roughly the same between the halves, 88.9/91.8 percent at the free throw line, 29.4/26.7 percent at the arc and 34.2/35.8 percent from the field.

Even though the Lady Generals outshot the Lady Trappers, NWC out-rebounded Sheridan (45-21) and only had 18 turnovers for the game.

Petties had a double double, with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Lessard also scored in double digits, with 11 points.

Coach Beal said that, offensively, it was the best game the Lady Trappers have played — especially in the first half.

“We moved the ball really well, but we didn’t get a lot of post touches,” she said, adding, “We moved the ball really well on the perimeter; we just didn’t shoot real well in the second half.”

The loss to Sheridan, puts the Lady Generals ahead of Northwest in the Region IX North standings.

On Wednesday, Northwest traveled to Miles Community College, which is seeded fourth, and on Saturday, the Lady Trappers will go head to head with No. 2-seeded Western Wyoming in a 2 p.m. home game.

After Saturday’s contest, the Lady Trappers have only two games remaining in the regular season — and each game counts toward seeding in the postseason.

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