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Cougar women top EWC

Gritt Ryder had a douible double and the Western Nebraska Community College women's basketball team converted 33 of 51 free throws in staying unbeaten in the South Sub-Region with a 69-52 win over Eastern Wyoming College Tuesday night at Cougar Palace.

Ryder poured in 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, but it was her sizzling free throw shooting that was evident. Ryder converted 11 of 14 free throws. Ashley Stevens also had another top night, finishing with 18 points.

The win moved the Cougars to 5-0 in the sub-region while Eastern Wyoming falls to 4-3. The winner of the sub-region hosts the regional tournament in March.

But, more importantly, what helped the Cougars was their sizzling shooting from the charity stripe especially in the first half. The Cougars ran out to a 29-19 halftime lead thanks to connecting on 17 of 25 free throws.

Shalisa Moffit, who had a near double-double on the night of nine points and seven rebounds, said they executed well and made their free throws.

"As a team, we had more heart and rebounded well," Moffit said. "It was pretty physical out there and there was a lot of fouling. The free throw shooting was a huge factor."

To say the least free throws and fouls made a difference in the game. The two teams combined for 48 fouls and 48 of 81 shooting. Field goal shooting also played a part in the contest. The Cougars shot just 20 percent in the first half and 29 percent for the game.

The Lancers were 28 percent in the first half and 30 percent for the game. EWC also connected on five 3-pointers, while WNCC had just two both coming with under four minutes to play in the game.

Just like Moffit said, rebounding also played a big factor in the Cougars' win. WNCC out-rebounded the Lancers 53-42. Ryder led the way with 12 boards followed by Moffit and Ashley Stevens with seven each.

Eastern Wyoming, however, hung tough with the Cougars and actually held an 18-13 lead after a bucket by Jeileen Mas with about four minutes to play in the opening half. The Cougars came back and out-scored the Lancers 16-1 over the final four minutes and most of the damage was down at the free throw line where they went 11 of 12 during that stretch before Ashley Stevens hit the teams' first field goal in over four minutes. WNCC led 29-19 at halftime.

The second half saw the Cougars jump out to a 43-27 lead before Eastern Wyoming ran off eight straight to cut the deficit to 43-35 with 10 minutes to play. WNCC came back and went on an 18-6 run to grab a 61-41 lead on a Moffit 3-pointer. Moffit's trey with five minutes to play was the Cougars' first of the game.

WNCC put just two in double figures, led by Ryder's 24 points. Stevens also finished with 18 points. Ryder had just six points at intermission – all free throws, while Stevens had 12 points in the first half.

The Lancers were led by Brittany Cross with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Hazel Doe and Brittani Colberg each nine points.

WNCC, who won its eighth straight, will be back in action Saturday when they travel to Casper College. The Lancers will be back in action Saturday when they travel to face Northwest Kansas Technical College.



EWC 19 33 – 52

WNCC 29 40 – 69

EASTERN WYOMING
Hazel Doe 9, Brittani Colberg 9, Jeileen Mas 4, Courtney Peterson 4, Jai Chandler 8, Megan Crenshaw 5, JaiDah Richardson 3, Brittany Cross 10

WESTERN NEBRASKA

Mikayla Brower 5, Laurin Rivera 2, Kelsey Doddridge 7, Gritt Ryder 24, Shalisa Moffit 9, Ashley Stevens 18, Jessica Aratani 4.

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