The Western Nebraska Community College women’s basketball team didn’t have their best shooting performance of the night, but the Cougars made up for it on defense as WNCC registered its seventh win of the season with a 68-39 win over Williston State College Saturday afternoon at Cougar Palace.
The 15th-ranked Cougars put three players in double figures as they went to 7-1 on the season and a perfect 5-0 at home, led by Tishara Morehouse with 16 points.
Yuliyana Valcheva, who finished the game with 11 points and seven rebounds, said the team started slow but picked it up in the second half.
“We started a little shaky,” the sophomore said. “The shooting wasn’t going at the beginning and the defensive effort and rebounding wasn’t as good as it should be. The energy was down in the whole first half of the game.”
Shots weren’t falling for either team on the night. WNCC shot 34 percent for the game and just 22 percent from beyond the arc. The Cougar’s first half shooting was lethargic at 31 from the field and just 13 percent from the 3-point arc (2-of-16). Second half was much better, shooting 36 percent from the field and 31 percent (5-of-16) from beyond the arc.
Williston wasn’t much better from the field as the Cougar defense held the Tetons to 30 percent for the game and 20 percent from beyond the arc. Williston State shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in the first half (2 of 5) and then didn’t bury one 3-point shot in the second half.
Valcheva said that will happen in a game where shots don’t go down and when that happens they just need to pick it up in other areas.
“It [shots not going down] will happen and there are games where the ball just won’t go in,” she said. “That means that we just have to defend and rebound better.”
WNCC started the game with a 9-0 run and led 13-3. WNCC’s defense in the first quarter held the Tetons without a point until a free throw with 3:40 to play and then a field goal about 30 seconds later. WNCC led 15-7 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was evenly played as WNCC outscored Williston 15-13. Williston cut the lead to six, 21-15 before WNCC went on a 7-0 run behind four points from Maddie Campbell and a trey from Tishara Morehouse for a 28-15 lead. WNCC led at halftime 30-20.
The third quarter was more like WNCC usually plays, outscoring Williston 21-7. WNCC scored the first six points of the third quarter as Valcheva hit a bucket followed a free throw from Lidsey Mahoukou, and then a trey by Campbell for a 36-20 lead. After a bucket by Williston, WNCC ran off 14 straight points for a 50-22 lead before leading 51-27 after three periods.
WNCC stayed in control in the fourth quarter, outscoring Williston 17-12 for the win.
WNCC had three players in double figures. Morehouse led the way with 16 points with four 3-pointers and four assists. Mahoukou had 15 points with eight rebounds, followed by Valcheva with 11.
Eleven of the 12 Cougars hit the scoring column in the contest. WNCC connected on seven treys in the game.
WNCC also out-rebounded Williston 49-29. WNCC also forced 23 Williston turnovers over while only committing 11 themselves.
WNCC will be on the road for three games next week. WNCC will travel to Torrington, Wyoming, to face Eastern Wyoming College on Tuesday before traveling to Council Bluffs, Iowa, for the Thanksgiving Classic to face Iowa Western Community College on Friday and then Mineral Area College on Saturday.
Valcheva said they need to be focused next week.
“We need to have good practices before the games because the games are on the road,” she said. “We have to be twice as focused and twice as concentrated. Everything just needs to be twice the effort. We need to rebound and play defense. The shooting needs to get better.”
Williston 7 13 7 12 – 39
WNCC (7-1) 15 15 21 17 – 68
Tishara Morehouse 16, Yuilyana Valcheva 11, Zarrea Coleman 2, Georgia Berry 3, Dalgenis Martinez 2, Dezmonea Antwine 2, Dakota Duplessis 3, R’Manie Pulling 2, Maddy Campbell 7, Taylor Joplin 5, Lidsey Mahoukou 15.
Eliska Michalcikova 5, Rylee Conlan 3, Laia Balcells-Niubo 2, Cathlyn Knutson 1, Jordan Kulczyk 7, Grace Lupumba 3, Gabriella Capasso 18.