The Northwest College women’s basketball team opened its 2018-19 season on the road, going 0-2 at the Snow College Classic last weekend in Ephraim, Utah.
The Lady Trappers opened the tournament against the host Snow College Lady Badgers Friday, losing 68-51. That was followed by a loss Saturday against Utah State Eastern 74-60.
Both games were competitive, according to NWC head coach Camden Levett, and the first-year coach liked what he saw.
“With a lot of new faces, I thought we played extremely hard,” Levett said. “We put ourselves in positions to win both ball games. The other teams just made more plays than we did; you have to give them credit. They were two really good teams.”
Snow College 68, Lady Trappers 51
The Lady Trappers trailed Snow by six points with five minutes remaining, and “we just didn’t make the shots down the stretch we needed to,” Levett said.
The Lady Badgers jumped out to an early lead and were up 29-21 at halftime. Northwest was able to close the gap in the second half, but a late fourth-quarter run by Snow gave the Badgers some breathing room en route to a 68-51 win.
Freshman Berkley Larsen had a solid night for the Lady Trappers, coming off the bench to score 17 points and grab four rebounds. A native of Plain City, Utah, Larsen had the largest cheering section on the team, according to Levett, with much of her family in attendance.
“Berkley Larsen came off the bench for us at the post position, and was really posting up hard,” Levett said. “She’s a 5’9”, maybe 5’10” on a good day post going against 6’2” girls and holding her own. She really had a great game, she was by far showing out.”
Sophomores Kaylee Brown and Tayla Sayer finished with eight points apiece, followed by freshmen Selena Cudney, Melissa Martinez and Jenna Lohrenz, each with five points.
Brown led the team with three assists, while Martinez finished with three steals. Lohrenz led on the boards with five, followed by Larsen and Cudney with four.
Utah State Eastern 74, Lady Trappers 60
Against USUE Saturday, the Lady Trappers were able to keep it close early, down just three points at the half to the Lady Eagles 25-22. Eastern benefitted from a big third quarter however, outscoring NWC 31-18 en route to a 14-point win. The Lady Trappers earned a measure of respect, outscoring Eastern 20-18 in the fourth, but were unable to close the gap.
Two NWC players scored in double digits, led by a double-double from Juliana Ribeiro. The freshman from Sao Paulo, Brazil, netted 12 points and 10 rebounds, while teammate and fellow freshman Selena Cudney led in points with 14. Melissa Martinez finished with 9 points, Kaylee Brown netted seven and Berkely Larsen added six.
“Selena was our post player, and hit three out of four 3-pointers,” Levett said. “She was confident in her shot. Juliana had the double-double, and you like to see that early in the season.”
Singled out for her play on defense, sophomore Tayla Sayer led the team in assists with six and had two steals.
“Tayla wasn’t scoring a lot, but she helped in other ways,” Levett said. “She played great defense and led the team in assists.”
Overall, Levett said defense was the highlight of the weekend for NWC. Both teams in both games made tough shots down the stretch but defense kept the Lady Trappers in both games.
“There are some small adjustments we need to make and get things dialed in,” he said. “But I would say our defense is what I’m most pleased with.”
The Lady Trappers are on the road again this week for three games in three days, starting in North Dakota against Williston State Thursday, then coming back through Montana to play Dawson Community College Friday and Miles Community College Saturday. Levett said the team will work more on scoring in transition.
“We’re going to get back to running and scoring in transition,” he said. “We just gotta make more shots. We’re two games in now, we know what to expect, we know the level of competition. We’ll be more game-ready come this Thursday.”