In the months leading up to the Northwest College women’s basketball season, the Trappers saw a handful of scrimmages axed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, they lost an opportunity …
In the months leading up to the Northwest College women’s basketball season, the Trappers saw a handful of scrimmages axed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, they lost an opportunity to host an exhibition on Jan. 15.
Moments before NWC’s first official game of the 2021 season on Jan. 21, it looked like this was going to happen again. With 10 minutes before tipoff, the Trappers’ opponent — Utah All-Stars — still weren’t present at Salt Lake Community College, the hosting venue.
“We got in the locker room and they were like, ‘Coach, is the other team going to show up?’” NWC head coach Camden Levett recalled. “And I was like, ‘I hope so.’”
Despite the late arrival, the All-Stars eventually showed up and allowed NWC to kick off the season. The Trappers didn’t play their best basketball, shooting 29.9% from the field, but still managed to send the game to overtime, with the game knotted at 61 after regulation.
NWC improved and outscored the All-Stars 12-3 in the overtime period, escaping with a 73-64 season-opening win.
“We kind of got off to a slow start,” Levett said. “We only had a couple practices together, but we played our best basketball in overtime.”
Though the Trappers dropped the following two games — against the Salt Lake All-Stars and Salt Lake Community College — Levett said he noticed improvement in every game.
“Our mindset was to get better each game, and I thought we did that with our defensive rotations,” Levett said. “Just us being together, playing somebody else in a different uniform was nice.”
NWC trailed by just four going into the fourth quarter on Friday before the Salt Lake All-Stars pulled away, winning 88-72. Despite the outcome, the Trappers shot better from the field (37.3%) and saw three players hit double figures, including sophomore Riley Aiono, who recorded a double-double.
To wrap up the weekend, Northwest faced SLCC, the No. 24 team in the NJCAA Division I rankings.
For much of the game, NWC kept it close, trailing by just seven points at halftime. SLCC eventually went on a run in the second half and won 72-51, but Levett was still pleased with the girls’ effort against a strong program.
“We didn’t hang our heads,” Levett said. “We played them tough; I’m proud of our effort. That’s film that we’re going to watch and learn from.”
Samiyah Worrell, a sophomore, was the leading scorer in the weekend, averaging 17 points per game. Other key offensive players were sophomores Raquel Turner, who scored nine points in each game, and Aiono, who posted 9.7 per contest.
Kierra Cutright led the Trappers on the glass, averaging eight rebounds per game. Aiono and Sydney Prather each recorded six per game.
More than individual standouts, the team’s cohesion impressed Levett, even without Adela Smutna — last year’s leading scorer — due to a delayed flight.
“Yes, we would’ve liked to get two, maybe three, out of the weekend, but it’s a good start,” Levett said. “I’m very pleased.”
The Trappers have two weeks of practice before their next set of games. During that time, NWC will continue to grow as a team, now with every player on campus.
“It honestly works out great to have a break,” Levett said. “It gives us what we need: more time together. We have to get more continuity on both ends of the basketball.”
The Trappers are slated to play next on Feb. 4 against the College of Southern Idaho Legends, the first of a three-game weekend.