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Women ousted by No. 1 team

Posted by: NWC Athletics — March 6, 2014
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By DANTE GEOFFREY Tribune Sports Writer Courtesy of the Powell Tribune

Augusto Returns From Injury For Playoffs              

The Northwest College women’s basketball team couldn’t return to the Region IX semifinals, even with point guard Andressa Augusto back in the lineup.

Augusto, who missed the team’s final five regular season games with a back injury, returned in time to lead the Trappers to a first-round win over Northeastern Junior College Sunday afternoon but couldn’t prevent Northwest’s ousting at the hands of Western Nebraska in the quarterfinals Monday night in Rock Springs.

Head coach Janis Beal said the Trappers were “upset. They’re competitors, you want to win.” But she remains proud of her squad and the season they put together. 

“It’s the most wins we’ve had in a season,” Beal said. “We went on a 10-game winning streak.” 

Northwest, even with Augusto’s effective but limited minutes, couldn’t must enough firepower to keep pace with the top-seeded Cougars, who won 83-65.

Western Nebraska, riding a 10-game win streak of its own, came into the quarterfinals boasting a 27-4 record and received votes for the nation’s top 25 poll released Feb. 26.

“We knew it was going to take a great effort on our part,” Beal said. 

The Cougars shot 54.5 percent from the floor and was led by Lile Havili, who scored 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting and was 7 for-7 from the free throw line. 

“If you take one player away they got 11 others who can step in and contribute,” Beal said. 

The Trappers, who were seeded fourth in the North, were led by freshman Dana Bjorhus’ 22 points in 33 minutes of play and Augusto’s 14 points in 18:20 off the bench. 

“Both girls had a great tournament,” Beal said. 

As a team the Trappers shot a respectable 45.8 percent from the floor and were 5-for-15 from the 3-point line, but a 32-24 rebounding disadvantage limited their scoring opportunities. 

“We knew that post play was going to be significant,” Beal said. “We gave them too many second-chance points.” 

Bjorhus and freshman Hatti Snyder tied for the team lead in rebounds with four apiece. 

Sophomore forward Imari Simpson was second for the Trappers with 15 points but had only two boards in 21 minutes. It was Simpson’s lowest rebounding total of the season besides a November non-conference game in which she played only four minutes.

Simpson played more than 21 minutes but a collision midway through the first half left her with a headache and temporary blurred vision. 

“That took some of her aggressiveness away,” Beal said. 

Shooting guard Leanne Winterholler was another Trapper sophomore not at her best in her last game in red and white. One of Northwest’s most dangerous (37 percent from deep during the regular season) yet streaky scorers was held scoreless on an 0-for-4 night from the field.

“They (Simpson and Winterholler) know that they gave it their best,” Beal said. “It’s always tough, their last game.” 

Starting point guard Mandee Christensen was just 1-for-6 from the field and 1-of-2 from the foul line for three points. She added a rebound, two assists and a steal. 

The Trappers committed just one more turnover than the Cougars, 19-18 

Dominant second-half defense helped Northwest pull away from the Northeastern Junior College Plainswomen on the way to an 81-61 round-one victory.

Beal said the Trappers made some adjustments at the half to try to take away Northeastern’s effective transition game. 

“Instead of trading baskets we could get stops and go score at the other end,” Beal said. 

Northeastern’s offense all but disappeared in the final 20 minutes. The Plainswomen shot an abysmal 6-for-33 (18.2 percent) from the floor, including just 1-of-12 from long range as they attempted to come back late in the game against NWC. 

The Trappers’ offense remained steady as they made just 10 field goals (including four 3-pointers) in the second half but lived from the charity stripe, where they went 16- for-23. 

The coach said the game remained competitive until the final 10 minutes, when, “all of a sudden the girls just turned it on” and the Trappers pulled away. 

Augusto was Northwest’s leading scorer with 18 points in her first action since Feb. 1. The sophomore got 12 of her points from the foul line while also grabbing four rebounds, dishing out four assists and coming up with two steals in just 15:26 of playing time. 

Bjorhus added 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal. 

Simpson notched 11 while grabbing four rebounds and one steal. 

Snyder, who scored eight points, tied for the team lead in rebounds with fellow freshman Caitlin Clancy and sophomore Sarah Nielsen, who each came down with six boards.

Winterholler scored eight points on 3-for-8 shooting (2-for-5 from deep) while Nielsen scored seven and Clancy added four. 

Christensen scored six points on another 1-for-6 shooting performance and committed nine of Northwest’s 17 turnovers to just four assists as the starting point guard. 

Northeastern’s Meg Pritchard carried the Plainswomen as far as she could. The freshman from Adelaide, Australia, had 22 points (36 percent of her team’s total), seven rebounds and four assists in the loss.

Simpson was voted by coaches to the Region IX North’s All-Region team.

 
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