Merle Wiehl couldn’t have asked for a better game on her birthday.
The freshman from Germany, who was celebrating her birthday on Monday, poured in 23 points and the 25th-ranked Cougar women never looked back in registering a 98-35 win over Williston State College Monday evening at Cougar Palace.
The win was important for the Cougars, too, as they were coming off a disappointing 82-70 loss to Salt Lake Community College on Saturday in a game they led at halftime.
“We were just focused on the game today and we were prepared,” Wiehl said. “We knew what to do and that was to play hard, run the floor, and we did it today. It was good.”
Monday night, it was all Cougars as all 11 players that saw action scored. WNCC had five players in double figures led by Wiehl’s 23. Wiehl, who was celebrating her 19th birthday, also had six rebounds, five assists, and four steals in the contest.
Anastacia Johnson who had four steals, finished with 14 points, while Melisa Kadic chipped in 12. Kadic had two 3-pointers and three steals. Karli Seay and Josie Perez each tallied 10 points. Seay had five steals in the win, while Perez had two treys and three steals.
Wiehl said the offense went well because of the defense.
“Our defense determines how we play,” she said. “When we play good defense, our offense will come. So, we have to focus on playing hard defense. We were scoring on offense so that was maybe the biggest point for us to know is we have to play defense to win games.”
WNCC shot the ball well all night. WNCC shot 72 percent from the field and converted 6-of-10 3-pointers in the first half. WNCC fell down a little in shooting in the second half, but they also changed up their offense resulting in just 42 percent shooting.
Wiehl said the team shot well in the first half and it was from everyone, too.
“We know when we pressure players, we will get steals and open looks at the basket,” she said. “We did a really good job in the first half.”
That first half saw WNCC run to a 10-0 lead and led 21-1 before Williston hit their first field goal with about three minutes to play in the first quarter. WNCC led 32-10 after the first 10 minutes of play.
WNCC opened up the second quarter on a 16-0 run to lead 48-10 and outscored the Tetons 32-5 to take a 64-15 lead into intermission.
The Cougars were just as intense in the third period, allowing just a 3-pointer with 3:48 left in the third by Nicole Drosdal. WNCC outscored Williston 24-3 in the third to lead 88-18.
Williston outscored the Cougars 17-10 in the fourth quarter. The Tetons scored the final nine points of the game.
The Cougars, 8-2, will be back in action Wednesday when they host Sheridan College at 5:30 p.m. at Cougar Palace. WNCC will then travel to Sterling, Colorado, to face Northeastern Junior College on Friday for the first South Sub-region conference game.
“The schedule is tough, but we take rests and we practice good and hard,” Wiehl said. “We are prepared for the upcoming games.”
WNCC (8-2) 32 32 24 10 – 98
Nicole Drosdal 6, Aulora Severance 6, Taylor Kappel 6, Kylie Schott 11.
Melisa Kadic 12, Merle Wiehl 23, Jaleesa Avery 6, Sophie Agorakis 5, Olivia Wiberg 8, Karli Seay 10, Eva Langton 2, Josie Perez 10, Anastacia Johnson 14, Giovanna Silva 5.