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NWC women win fourth straight, Improve to 7-4

NWC’s Estefania Vilela goes up strong against the University of Great Falls Nov. 22 in Powell. Vilela scored five points and grabbed eight rebounds against Minot Air Force Base Saturday. NWC’s Estefania Vilela goes up strong against the University of Great Falls Nov. 22 in Powell. Vilela scored five points and grabbed eight rebounds against Minot Air Force Base Saturday. Tribune photo by Carla Wensky

Begin conference play Wednesday

The Northwest Trappers women’s basketball team has been working to erase the five-game losing streak it suffered mid-November.

A four-game winning streak in which the Trappers have won by an average of 38 points has gone a long way to do just that.

“Apparently we like to go with wins and losses in streaks,” head coach Janis Beal joked Monday morning.

The Trappers notched two more victories in Glendive, Mont., over the weekend.

Routs of Rocky Mountain College JV Friday and the Minot Air Force Base squad Saturday boosted Northwest’s record to 7-4.

Northwest won Friday’s matchup 80-50 behind the team’s best shooting night of the season, led by a trio of forwards.

“We had an advantage with our post players versus their’s so we definitely started the game with an emphasis on wanting to get post touches,” Beal said.

Sophomore Imari Simpson scored 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting and freshman Hattilyn Snyder sank all four of her shots to score 10 points as the Trappers shot 50.8 percent from the field.

It was the third time this season the Northwest women have shot better than 50 percent.

Simpson and freshman Sarah Nielsen (seven points) tied for the team lead in rebounds with seven.

“Our post players did a good job,” Beal said. “We got good post touches which opened the perimeter up for our guards.”

Sophomore guard Leanne Winterholler scored 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting, including 2-for-4 on 3-pointers.

Sophomore point guard Andressa Augusto dished out six assists, scored six points, grabbed a pair of rebounds as well as two steals.

Northwest’s hot shooting continued at the free throw line, where the team shot 78.9 percent (15-for-19). It was the team’s best free throw shooting since going 8-for-10 in the season opener.

Beal said free throw shooting is a learned skill and something the Trappers have worked on in practice.

“We do some pressure free throws where they have to get above 75 percent as a team, and if we don’t they run,” Beal said.

Saturday’s 84-49 victory over Minot Air Force Base featured contributions from 11 players, nine of which scored at least five points.

Freshman Caitlin Clancy led the charge with 16 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double.

Augusto scored 12 points, had four assists and two rebounds in 16 minutes, the most played by any starter.

Beal said it was nice to give more minutes to her rotation players and rest some of her starters.

“The basketball season is such a long season when you can get them some breaks it’s good,” the coach said.

Freshman Mandee Christensen struggled from the floor (2-for-12) but scored nine points, grabbed eight rebounds and had six assists.

“Her attacking the basket made us a little more aggressive even though they weren’t going in,” Beal said.

Sophomore Estefania Vilela scored five points, and tied with Christensen for second on the team with eight rebounds, including four off the offensive glass.

Sophomore Megan Lund scored seven points, had eight rebounds and two assists.

No Trapper that started on the bench played less than 15 minutes.

Northwest won by 35 points despite shooting just 4-for-21 on 3-point attempts.

The Trappers return home this week for a pair of Region IX North games. Gillette College comes to town Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. matchup and Miles Community College will be in the Cabre Gym at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Beal said Northwest is ready for the games to carry a little more weight.

“The sense in the locker room is we’re excited to start Region 9 play, especially with Gillette,” Beal said.

Gillette eliminated Northwest from last season’s region tournament with a 81-74 overtime win in the semifinals.

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