The Northwest College women’s train keeps chewing up track, the Lady Trappers polishing off their final two regular-season foes last week to lift their record to 23-7.
After defeating Gillette 86-64 and Sheridan 69-50 on the road, the Trappers are poised to begin Region IX tournament play Friday at home.
“Now it’s down to business,” coach Janis Beal said.
The 6 p.m. game at Cabre Gym is a play-in contest against Western Wyoming, a team Northwest twice beat by large margins this season.
Once the final field is set this weekend, the rest of the tournament is in Casper next week.
“I really think we can go far,” sophomore Dani McManamen said. “We have to play hard on defense. I think we have a lot of confidence.”
The Trappers have won eight of their last nine games.
Beal especially appreciated the all-around performance in those last two wins.
“It was a good week,” she said.
The Trappers put five players in double figures. They led early and expanded their lead late, wrapping things up with a 25-12 fourth quarter.
Kira Marlow’s 16 points was tops for Northwest, while Mattie Creager, Alexi Payne and Dallas Petties each scored 12 points and McManamen 10.
Besides winning the rebounding battle 43-35, Northwest piled up 24 assists, seven from point guard Tala Aumua-Tuisavura, who also had 8 points.
The Trappers led by more than the 19-point final spread against Sheridan after starting 21-7 in the first quarter and going up 59-34 after three.
Marlow was again high scorer with 15 points and Julynne da Silva Sa added 12. Twelve Trappers scored, including McManamen, who had seven points in addition to her team-best 13 rebounds.
McManamen is only 5-foot-9, but rebounds like a center.
“I just go hard to the boards,” she said.
Or she must apply Super Glue to her fingers to hang onto so many bouncing balls.
“It must have been something,” she said of the secret to her double-figure rebound total.
Several times this season the Trappers have had 13 players with playing time and scoring totals, depth and experience that can pay off in tournament play.
“It definitely helps,” McManamen said. “Everyone has played a lot of minutes.”
Although Northwest recorded two no-sweat victories over 6-24 Western Wyoming this season, 95-36 on Jan. 10 and 83-63 on Feb. 3, Beal hopes the Trappers don’t take the Mustangs for granted.
“I think they’ve been playing a lot better,” Beal said. “They’re dangerous in the sense they have some three-point shooters.”
The combination plurality of about 70 points in the two wins over the Mustangs must be good for Northwest morale.
But since now it’s the playoffs, McManaman can’t be blamed for her attitude seeing Western a third time.
“We’re really excited to play Western,” she said.