Big second half lifts Lady Cougars past Trinidad State

Lauren Rivera

The Western Nebraska Community College women's basketball team put five players in double figures in registering to stay unbeaten in sub-region play with a 94-61 win over Trinidad State Junior College Friday at Cougar Palace.

The Cougars opened up the game with a second half performance that was nearly flawless. WNCC, which led just 39-36 at intermission, went on a 21-2 run to open the second half and shot 74 percent from the field in posting the sub-region victory.

A big reason to the second half start was Cougar freshman Shalisa Moffit, who buried three 3-pointers and scored 11 of the teams' first 15 points. Moffit said they definitely came ready to play in the second half.

"We just thought we needed to pick it up in the second half," Moffit said. "The first half our shots weren't really falling but the second half we got them to fall. We also just picked up the defense as well. Coach [Dave Harnish] also changed up the defense and that helped us."

Another big reason for the Cougars' success was of a balanced scoring attack. Kelsey Doddridge paced the Cougars with 19 points followed by Moffit with 18, Laurin Rivera with 14, and Gritt Ryder and Mikayla Brower with 12 points each.

The Cougars also sizzled from the 3-point area, converting on 10 of 22 long shots. Moffit led the way with four treys followed by two each by Doddridge, Rivera and Brower.

Free throws also played a part in the contest. The two squads combined for 46 fouls. The Cougars were 22 of 30 from the charity stripe while Trinidad was 18 of 27.

WNCC's defense also played a part in the win during the second half. The Cougars held Trinidad to just 33 percent shooting after the Trojans shot 54 percent in the first half. In fact, Trinidad had a 15-3 lead on the Cougars to open the game. WNCC also recorded 20 steals and forced 22 Trinidad turnovers.

Moffit said this team loves to play up-tempo, just like they did in that second half with pin-point shooting and a stingy defense.

"We are definitely an up-tempo team," she said. "We can do the set offenses, but if we push the ball, that is when we get out points."

That 21-2 run to start the second half put WNCC up 54-39, but they weren't through as they went on another 23-4 to push the score to 73-44. That run was highlighted by 10 points from Doddridge and six points from Ryder.

WNCC also out-rebounded the Trojans 34-32 as Ryder led the way with five rebounds followed by Moffit and Jessica Aratani with four each. Ryder also had six assists, Simone Evans led the way with four steals.

The Cougars will face another big sub-region contest Saturday when they take on Otero Junior College at 1 p.m. Otero is the defending Region IX champions. The Rattlers fell to Eastern Wyoming College 68-61 on Friday.

Trinidad (10-7) 36 25 – 61

WNCC (6-13) 39 55 – 94


Natasha Lacero 4, Justine Gallegos 9, Stephanie Knowels 10, Jackie Becker 20, Destiny Bragman 6, Codiee Myles 2, Lauren Davis 4, Samantha White 6.

Mikayla Brower 12, Laurin Rivera 14, Kelsey Doddridge 19, Gritt Ryder 12, Shalisa Moffit 18, Katie Kerkhoff 2, Simone Evans 2, Ashley Stevens 8, Jessica Aratani 5, Jenna Lindquist 2.

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