The No. 25-ranked Western Nebraska Community College women’s basketball team put three players in double figures and overcame a rough shooting night in posting a hard-fought 85-56 win over Sheridan College Wednesday night at Cougar Palace.
Jaleesa Avery led the Cougars with 18 points followed by Melisa Kadic with 16 and Anastacia Johnson with 10.
WNCC head coach Chad Gibney said it is a win they will take and learn from.
“We will watch this game and address the things that we need to get better at,” he said. “But I think we did some good things tonight. We just have to keep getting better and growing day after day.”
Gibney did see plenty of good things in the contest. One was the team outscored the Generals in all the quarters.
“I thought in the second half especially, we played with more intensity and did some good things,” Gibney said. “We won the first half by 13 and we won the second half by 16. It was good to see.”
WNCC’s ninth win of the season was a battle against a scrappy Sheridan squad that shot 35 percent from the field and converted six 3-pointers. WNCC shot 47 percent from the field and buried nine treys, seven of which came in the second half. Kadic, Johnson, and Olivia Wiberg each had two treys in the contest.
“It is good to see people put the ball in the basket more,” Gibney said. “The more options we have, the harder it will be for teams to guard.”
WNCC only trailed once in the contest with the opening free throw of the contest. After that, the Cougars went up 10-3 on a Karli Seay old-fashioned 3-point play and led 15-8 after the first quarter.
WNCC ignited in the second quarter as Giovanna Silva scored six of the first with points. WNCC outscored Sheridan 15-4 in the first five minutes of the second quarter and led 36-23 at halftime.
Gibney said this team can take a close game and ignite for points at any time. That is exactly what they did in the second half.
“This team can score in bunches and they can score quickly,” he said. “I think when we get out and pressure people, we are able to turn that into offense at a quick rate.”
Sheridan and WNCC battled neck-in-neck for the first five minutes of the third period. WNCC held a 45-35 lead before the Cougar defense stepped up and the Cougars went on an 18-0 run, including treys from Kadic and Karli Seay. WNCC led 63-37 after three periods.
WNCC never let up in the fourth as Johnson and Wiberg each connected on a trey in the first couple minutes and WNCC cruised to the 85-56 win.
WNCC out-rebounded Sheridan 40-36. Kadic led the team with six boards followed by five each from Avery, Silva, and Josie Perez. WNCC also tallied 15 steals, four of which came from Seay.
The Cougars also shared the ball, registering 23 assists. Seay had six assists while Perez, and Wiberg each had three.
WNCC, 9-2, will be back in action Friday when they travel to Sterling, Colorado, for its first Region IX South sub-region contest against Northeastern Junior College. After that, the Cougars will be home for two games next week when they face Casper College on Tuesday and Eastern Wyoming College on Saturday.
Gibney said Friday’s game with NJC is important.
“It is a huge game,” he said. “It is a road game within the Region IX South and it is extremely important for us. We have to continue to get better and they are much improved team. We will dive into them tomorrow and we will be ready to roll.”
Sheridan 8 15 14 19 – 56
WNCC (9-2) 15 21 27 22 – 85
Brooke Cargal 5, Lily Jex 6, Noora Parttimaa 3, Raelynn Keefer 20, Aloma Solovi 4, Ashleigh Frampton 13, Madisan Chavez 1, Aubrey Meiwald 4.
Melisa Kadic 16, Merle Wiehl 9, Jaleesa Avery 18, Anastacia Johnson 10, Giovanna Silva 8, Olivia Wiberg 7, Karlie Seay 6, Eva Langton 3, Josie Perez 8.