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Trapper women win big at home

NWC freshman Dana Bjorhus comes down with one of her eight rebounds against the University of Great Falls Friday night in the Cabre Gym. Bjorhus scored 11 points in the 94-26 win. NWC freshman Dana Bjorhus comes down with one of her eight rebounds against the University of Great Falls Friday night in the Cabre Gym. Bjorhus scored 11 points in the 94-26 win. Tribune photo by Carla Wensky

The Northwest Trappers women’s basketball team ended a five-game losing streak and got back to .500 with a pair of wins in Powell over the weekend.

In their first home action of the season the Trappers (5-5) beat University of Great Falls 94-26 on Nov. 22 and then Colorado Northwestern 75-55 the next day.

Head coach Janis Beal said the wins came at a much-needed time for the Northwest squad.

“When you’re getting losses it can kind of shake your confidence at times,” Beal said. “It was good to be at home for the first time all year and it was good for our confidence level (to win).”

Sophomore Imari Simpson led Northwest in scoring both games, her first action since sustaining a concussion Nov. 14 against College of Southern Idaho.

Simpson scored 13 against Great Falls in just 12 minutes of play and 21 (a season-high) against Colorado Northwestern (3-6). The 5-foot-9 forward made an equally impressive impact on the boards, an area in which the team has struggled early on this season.

“Imari came up with some really big rebounds,” Beal said. “She was huge for us on the boards.”

Simpson had four rebounds against Great Falls and a team-high 14 Saturday versus Colorado, which gave the forward her second double-double of the season.

Freshman Dana Bjorhus led the Trappers with eight rebounds against Great Falls and added 11 points and two steals.

“For her only playing 23 minutes but having 11 points and eight boards, I thought she came out strong early on,” Beal said.

Freshman TaNeil Clayton also scored 11 points while grabbing three rebounds and five steals.

Mandee Christensen was the fourth Trapper to score in double digits. The freshman scored 10 points, had four rebounds and three steals.

Point guard Andressa Augusto scored eight points and added  six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

All 12 Trappers played at least 12 minutes in the 68-point blowout.

“It was a good chance to get them some experience and it was definitely good to get everyone in a game, everybody scored,” Beal said.

Like Simpson, freshman Caitlin Clancy had her best game of the season Saturday. Clancy scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting and grabbed six rebounds, which tied freshman Hattilyn Snyder for second on the team.

Beal said Clancy took advantage of Northwest’s defensive stops to score in transition.

“Her game really came about with us getting stops and being able to run the floor a little bit,” Beal said. “She’s so quick she can get out and run.”

Sophomore Leanne Winterholler was zeroed in from deep and scored 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting on 3-pointers. She also had five rebounds.

“She got good looks within the offense and shot a good percentage,” Beal said.

Everyone played in both games and Beal said that her starting lineups and rotations will likely fluctuate all season.

“I can see us kind of rotating throughout the year depending on the team we’re playing and who’s playing well for us,” she said.

The Trappers head to Glendive, Mont., this weekend to take on Rocky Mountain JV (2-5) today (Friday) and Minot Air Force Base Saturday.

Beal said she hasn’t seen much of Minot but will be able to scout when Minot plays Dawson Community College Friday night.

The weekend’s tilts will be Northwest’s final tune-ups for conference play, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, against Gillette College at the Cabre Gym.

Beal said she’s still looking for her squad to “be a little more efficient offensively,” and the Trappers are “still working on being better rebounders every single game.”

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