In all, Northwest brings back seven players who were in uniform last season, led by Megan Smith. Smith, one of the team's captains for the 2010-2011 season, scored 400 points as a freshman and is one of three returning players to have hauled in 105 …
Team hosts Williston to start yearFive players with returning starting experience will be back in uniform for the Northwest College Trappers, who open women's basketball season this Monday against Williston State College out of North Dakota. The Trappers are looking to build upon the 11-19 mark in head coach Janis Beal's first season at the helm. “I learned more (last year) than you can imagine,” said Beal, who returned to lead the team that she starred for as a collegiate player. “These first weeks, we've really focused on the defensive end of things, because I didn't think we did that enough a year ago. You know I like to run and put up the points, but for us that has to be generated off our defense.”
In all, Northwest brings back seven players who were in uniform last season, led by Megan Smith. Smith, one of the team's captains for the 2010-2011 season, scored 400 points as a freshman and is one of three returning players to have hauled in 105 rebounds. Smith also produced 1.5 steals per contest and knocked home free throws at an 82 percent clip as the Trappers ranked among the national leaders at the charity stripe.
Also starting 22 games last season for Northwest was Orem, Utah, native Megan Goodman. Goodman finished the year with 329 points, incuding 32 3-point buckets, 105 rebounds and an 80 percent free throw accuracy rate.
Also back with some starting experience this year are Jessica Fisher (five starts last season), McKenzie Garrett (three starts) and Valerie Lesu (two starts). At six feet even, Goodman is the only Trapper taller than 5'11” on this year's roster. Garrett, who spent the bulk of last season shelved with a broken leg, is expected to provide the team with a huge boost and Lesu is a scrappy 5'7” player who plays taller than her height.
Also back from last season is Dariana Santos, a post player from the Dominican Republic, and redshirt freshman Taylor Ryan, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
“Taylor has shown a lot of work to get back to this point,” Beal said. “She put a lot of time in over the summer and her teammates recognized that dedication by naming her one of the two team captains for this season.”
The Trappers will have one other sophomore on the roster as Lusina Otineru transfers to Northwest after spending last year at the College of Southern Idaho.
“Otineru gives us a different inside dimension,” said Beal. “She posts strong and rebounds well. She's just incredibly strong and it certainly doesn't hurt that she learned from some All-America post players over at CSI.”
To that group, Beal will sprinkle in four freshmen, starting with Murray, Utah, shooting guard Mariah Duran.
“First and foremost, she's a great shooter,” Beal said. “She's a zone breaker. If anyone tries to go zone against us, she'll shoot them out of it in a hurry when she's on. She can also play the point for us some if we need her to.”
Duran shouldn't need to see the point position very much though, thanks to classmate Meagan Butler, a 5'4” freshman out of Syracuse, Utah. Butler is described by the Trappers' coach as a “tough kid” who “plays bigger” than her size.”
Northwest also brings in Brazilian Layana de Souza and Burlington walk-on Brecka Carrizales.
“Layana is adjusting to the differences in the style of play here versus what she's used to in Brazil,” said Beal. “She's a player that will just get better and better the longer that she's here. Brecka is a walk-on who is coming off an ACL injury last spring. She was only cleared to play two days before practice started, so she's working on getting back into game speed, but she's shown a great ability to adapt and learn the college game.”
Northwest opens Monday at 7 p.m. against Williston State. The contest will be preceded by a scrimmage between the men's teams from the two schools. While the game will not count in the season standings for the Trapper men, the women's game is an official NJCAA contest.
“This is it,” Beal said. “It's the start of our season and it counts in our bottom line.”
The Trappers won't return to Cabre Gymnasium for a game until Nov. 20. The team plays four more home games before the holiday break — its longest home stand of the season.