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November 25, 2008 4:02 am

Lady Tetons push NWC in overtime

Written by Tribune Staff

Northwest 2-5 after weekend tournament

During the span of a week, the Northwest College Lady Trappers endured more than their fair share of adversity.

On Saturday, Nov. 15, the team's bus suffered a breakdown on the interstate as the squad was returning from the Air Force Prep Tournament in Colorado. That caused the team to arrive home a day later than expected, and the after effects spilled into the early portion of last week.

With that in mind, NWC head coach Chad Oletzke said the Lady Trappers (2-5) were ready to simply return to the court and play, which they were scheduled to do Friday in the opening round of the Lady Trapper Tournament in Powell. The problem, however, was the Lady Trappers had no one to play.

Friday's opponent, Salish-Kootenai College, backed out of the tournament the morning of the event. The result was a forfeit victory for the Lady Trappers, but the downside was that NWC missed a valuable opportunity to play.

NWC finally got to compete Saturday against the Williston State College Lady Tetons, but the result was far from what Oletzke had hoped for his team, which lost a 74-63, overtime decision.

“It was a weird week,” Oletzke said. “We had the deal with the bus, which put us behind during the early part of the week. We struggled through Monday as everybody got caught up on school work, and we were practicing for Friday. When Friday got here, the girls didn't find out that we weren't going to play around 1 or 2 p.m.”

When NWC did get to play, Oletzke said his team had trouble maintaining any type of consistency.

“We struggled to get anything going,” Oletzke said. “At times we had players trying to make things happen, but we just couldn't get any consistency. Even when we took a six-point lead (26-20) into halftime, I felt like we should have been up by more.”

The game remained close throughout, thanks in part to turnovers. Both teams struggled to take care of the ball from start to finish. WSC committed 24 turnovers, while NWC finished with 30.

“It's hard to win when you have 30 turnovers,” Oletzke said. “That makes it that much harder.”

WSC tied the game at 30 with 14:15 left in the second half, but it took the Lady Tetons until just under the 12-minute mark to claim its first advantage of the half at 40-37. The lead changed hands five times after that, and WSC held a 54-53 advantage with 3:53 left in regulation.

The Lady Tetons added a 2-point basket for a 56-53 lead before NWC's Erin Cooke trimmed the deficit to 56-55 with 1:24 left on the clock.

Following Cooke's basket, both teams endured turnovers before WSC's Whitney Sundheim hit one of two free throws for a 57-55 advantage.

With 29.7 seconds left, Cooke answered with a clutch, 2-point basket. Both teams each had one final possession before regulation ended, but neither team could break the 57-57 deadlock.

In overtime, NWC opened strong with a quick basket by Sheena Ryan, but the Lady Tetons answered by outscoring NWC 17-4 the rest of the way.

For NWC, Cooke finished as the leading scorer with 18 points. She was followed by Ryan (13), Gita Grava (9), Madara Upeniece (8), Larissa Crump (5), Lacey Gilmer (5), Rachel Tilley (2), Kassi Tucker (2) and Kati Oliverson (1). Grava led the rebounding effort with 12 boards, and Ryan and Cooke each added seven.

WSC had three players finish with double-digit scoring efforts, including Amber Adams (21 points), Sundheim (20) and Kristen Bearstail (11).

• Up next: The Lady Trappers will be in action again Friday and Saturday in the Snow College Thanksgiving Classic. During that tournament, NWC will face Yavapai College Friday and Treasure Valley Community College Saturday.