The Top 20 showdown went the way of the No. 15 Western Nebraska Community College women’s basketball team as the Cougars erased a 10-point first quarter deficit in posting the 78-70 win over No. 18 Casper College Tuesday night at Cougar Palace.
Tishara Morehouse poured in 34 points to lead both teams in scoring. Morehouse buried four treys and went a blistering 12 of 14 from the free throw line.
Taylor Joplin was the only other Cougar in double digits with 12 points on four 3-pointers.
The two teams were pretty even in shooting on the night. Both teams buried 10 3-pointers. WNCC was 34 percent from the field while Casper was 37 percent.
The difference in the contest was free throw shooting. WNCC was 24 of 26 from the charity stripe while Casper was 16 of 24.
Rebounding was the big key in the contest. WNCC out-rebounded the Thunderbirds 48-39. Morehouse led the team with seven boards, while Joplin and Georgia Berry each had six boards.
WNCC head coach Chad Gibney said it was a good win for his squad.
“It was a good resilient win,” Gibney said. “We competed hard. A good win against a well-coached tough ball club.”
WNCC had a slow start while Casper started blistering hot. Casper led the entire 10 minutes of the first quarter, holding a 23-13 lead after one period.
Morehouse said they started slow, but warmed up after that.
“The first quarter we were warming up,” the sophomore point guard said. “The rest of the game we were hyped and energized. We played hard and together.”
The next three quarters the Cougars outscored Casper. Casper held a 28-18 lead in the second quarter when the Cougars went on a 14-0 run to grab their first lead of the contest. WNCC tied the game for the first time on the night on two Morehouse free throws with 3:44 to play. WNCC led 34-31 only to watch Casper score five straight to lead 36-34 at halftime.
Casper started the third quarter on fire with a 45-39 lead. WNCC came back to tie the contest at 45 on a Lidsey Mahoukou bucket. Casper went up 47-45 only to watch WNCC outscore the Thunderbirds 10-2 the rest of the way for a 55-49 lead after three periods.
WNCC built the fourth quarter lead to 60-52 but two treys by Casper’s Natalia Otkhmezuri brought Casper to 60-58. WNCC pushed the lead to 65-58 on a Joplin trey and went up double digits at 71-60 on their way to the win.
WNCC, 6-1, will be back in action Saturday when they face Williston State College at 2 p.m.
Casper (7-1) 23 13 13 21 – 70
WNCC (6-1) 13 21 21 23 – 78
Tishara Morehouse 34, Yuliyana Valcheva 5, Desmonea Antwine 2, R’Manie Pulling 8, Maddy Campbell 8, Taylor Joplin 12, Lidsey Mahoukou 4.
Raquel Ferrer-Bernad 3, Emily Achter 1, Marija Bakic 21, Juneau Jones 22, Mya Jones 5, Natalia Otkhmezuri 16, Reka Soos 2.