Western Wyoming Makes Second Trip To Cabre Gym
When Saturday’s 69-50 win against Sheridan College, the Northwest College women’s basketball team solidified their spot as the No. 2 seed heading into the Region IX-North playoffs.
But perhaps even more important, the Lady Trappers (23-7, 14-4) guaranteed themselves one more home game for the 2017-18 season. NWC will kick off March Madness by welcoming Western Wyoming Community College (6-24, 4-15) for a play-in game Friday at Cabre Gym. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
NWC swept the season series against the Lady Mustangs with a pair of lopsided wins, though Lady Trappers head coach Janis Beal said WWCC is a team with the potential to play spoiler.
“We haven’t played Western Wyoming since the first part of February,” Beal explained. “I think they’ve been playing pretty well this last month. Their record doesn’t necessarily show it, but they’ve been in some games.”
Strong showings in losses against Miles Community College and Central Wyoming to finish the season has WWCC starting to peak at the right time. Beal said the Lady Mustangs were hampered by injuries early, and are finally getting some of that talent back.
“It’s definitely a game that we can’t overlook,” Beal said. “The thing that makes them dangerous is they’ve got some kids that can shoot it extremely deep. If they catch fire, they kind of gain momentum that way.”
The Lady Mustangs also have a couple of athletic post players who can hold their own against Julynne da Silva Sa and Dallas Petties in the middle.
“They’ve got some good players, but the thing that’s hurt them this year is they’ve had a lot of injuries,” Beal said. “I think that’s a big part of why they haven’t been as successful on the win column this season.”
For the Lady Trappers, Beal said the team’s defensive intensity will be put to the test — and with the playoffs, everything ratchets up a notch.
“We have to do a really good job of defending their shooters early, and not let them get going,” Beal said. “That’s definitely going to be a focus. We have to defensively get after it and cause some turnovers.”
Enjoying their best regular-season record in years, Beal said the Lady Trappers are excited for a final home game and the opportunity to extend what’s turned out to be a special season.
“It’s one of those groups where it will be a season to remember for sure, no matter how it ends,” she said. “But I think all of us have that feeling that we’re not ready for it to end. It’s been such a fun season and such a fun group of girls to work with and develop those relationships.”
“Of course, getting those wins helps, too,” the coach added. “It’s always more enjoyable doing that.”
Going into tournament play, Beal said the most important thing for her team will be to play 40 minutes. Every team they face from here on will be playing their best game.
“Especially in tournament time, you can’t have those times in a game where you kind of let up,” she explained. “The better teams you play, you can’t have those one or two minutes of mental breakdowns.”
Friday will be the final opportunity to watch this year’s sophomores at home, and Beal said she hopes Trapper fans head to Cabre to show their support.
“It’s a fun time to be able to have a second Sophomore Night,” Beal said. “Tournament time is an exciting time, so I think both teams will come with some energy and excitement. It should be a fun game.”