Lady Cougars cruise to 8th win

Gritt Ryder finished with a double-double and the Western Nebraska Community College women's basketball team remained unbeaten with an impressive 30-point win over Casper College 72-42 on Tuesday night at Cougar Palace.

Ryder finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while also adding eight steals and five assists in the win. More importantly, the Cougars showed plenty of offensive depth as three other Cougars finished with double-figure scoring. Jess Samorodova netted 16 points, while Mikayla Brower and Ashley Stevens each had 12 points.

Ryder said the team played well from the get-go.

"Coach [Dave Harnish] told us before the game that this was a big rivalry and that we wanted to do really well," the sophomore guard from Denmark said. "I think we played really great defensively. We still have a lot to work on, but we did great in the small areas with rebounds and boxing out."

The Cougars' defense was definitely on Tuesday night generating a number of turnovers and steals. The Cougars finished with 18 steals on the night, with Ryder benefiting with eight, Brower with three, and Laurin Rivera, Shalisa Moffit, and Jessica Aratani with two each. Samorodova also blocked three shots in the win.

"I thought we did a great job on defense. The posts did a great job boxing out and us guards tried to get the rebounds as well. I thought we followed the game plan pretty well, recognized the shooters, and did what coach told us what to do."

WNCC didn't take control of the contest until after the midway part of the first half. Casper held a 12-11 with 12 minutes to play. Brower changed the momentum of the game as she drained a 3-pointer to put WNCC up 17-14.

The Cougars continued playing strong the rest of the half. Leading 20-16, the Cougars went on a 21-6 run to close out the half and a 40-22 halftime lead. The lead included eight points by Stevens and five points from Ryder on two steals. Moffit also chipped in a 3-pointer.

WNCC's defense continued playing strong in the second half as the Cougars went on a 13-4 run to go up 53-26 behind four points from Stevens and back-to-back 3-pointers by Ryder and Moffit. Casper came back to score seven straight points, but WNCC put on the afterburner once again with a 6-point run to stop any hope of a Casper comeback.

The Cougars shot 45 percent from the field including connecting on 7 of 21 3-pointers. Ryder canned three treys, while Moffit had two. Brower and Aratani had the other 3-pointers.

Ryder said the team is starting to get confidence amidst their 8-0 start to the season.

"It helps to win games but we all know we want to win a regional championship so this is just one step in the road to that goal," she said.

The Cougars will be back in action Nov. 29-Dec. 1 when they compete in the Air Force Prep tournament. WNCC's next home action will be Dec. 6-8 when they host the Lady Cougar Holiday Classic.

Casper (6-2) 22 20 – 42

WNCC (8-0) 40 32 – 72


Kaylee Swope 2, Ashley Jones 5, Shelby Stewart 14, Whitney Lott 4, Fayne Tyson 4, Cheyanne Balster 4, Shelby Garske 1, Ragen Wilson 2, Agata Dobrowolska 6.


Mikayla Brower 12, Gritt Ryder 20, Shalisa Moffit 7, Ashley Stevens 12, Jessica Aratani 5, Jess Samorodova 16.

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