The Trappers struggled throughout the contest as Mesa held the team to 29 percent shooting from the floor. By contrast, the Lady Thunderbirds were able to knock down 44 percent of its shots, including a 9-for-14 night from behind the 3-point arc.
“We didn’t attack the basket as aggressively as we needed to,” Beal said. “We were a bit over-dependent on the three, and we didn’t shoot well from behind the arc in that game. We need to learn to adjust better than we did.”
Mesa built a 37-23 lead at halftime. Cold shooting prevented the Trappers from ever mounting a run at the Arizona school in the second half. Northwest’s efforts were also hindered by a 51-34 Mesa advantage in rebounding.
Megan Smith and Mckenzie Garrett each finished with nine points to pace the Trappers.
Things went markedly better for Northwest College in its first game back from the break. The Trappers built a 20-point first-half lead against South Mountain, but saw that gap slide back to eight points at the intermission.
“We came out strong,” Beal said. “You worry after a layoff how the team might react in its first game back, but we really didn’t have that many mistakes. We relaxed a bit and didn’t block out late in the first half and they made a bit of a run, but we were able to come right back at the start of the second half and re-establish our lead.”
Megan Goodman had an outstanding contest for Northwest, finishing with a game-high 27 points. Goodman connected on six of her seven 3-point shots and also pulled in seven rebounds, one off team-high honors.
“Megan had a great game,” Beal said. “She definitely played well in both halves.”
Garrett added 18 points for the Trappers while Smith had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
As a team, Northwest shot 43 percent from the floor. The Trappers were 9-for-14 behind the arc and hit 78 percent from the free-throw line. Defensively, South Mountain connected on just 18 of its 86 shot attempts.
“The nice thing about playing two games like this over the break is that it gives us a chance to get our feet under us before we get back into Region IX play,” said Beal.
The Trappers, now 6-8 for the year, host Western Wyoming in a Region IX contest on Friday night. The game tips off at 5:30 p.m. The Trappers also host Miles Community College in a North sub-region game on Wednesday, Jan. 12.
NWC 81, South Mountain 58
Duran 8, Fisher 2, Goodman 27, Smith 10, Garrett 18, Butler 2, de Souza 2, Santos 2, Ryan 2, Otineru 8.
Mesa 76, NWC 47
Duran 7, Goodman 8, Smith 9, Garrett 9, de Souza 2, Santos 2, Ryan 2, Otineru 4, Lesu 4.