Posted 4 months ago
By John Axtell
The 13th-ranked Western Nebraska Community College women’s basketball team put four players in double figures and buried 11 3-pointers in rolling to a 91-58 win over Otero Junior College in South Sub-region action Friday at Cougar Palace.
Abi Lujan paced the Cougars with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds, including two 3-pointers. Laurin Rivera led WNCC with 16 points and two treys. Shalisa Moffit buried three 3-pointers to go with her 14 points and Angela Vigil had 10 points.
Lujan said the key for the win was how the team played defensively and how they stayed strong throughout the contest.
“I thought we got out on their 3-point shooters because we knew they were a good shooting team,” the freshman from Brighton, Colo., said. “We also really picked up our intensity on defense because we have been lacking it lately. We tried to be a first half and a second half team.”
The Cougars definitely hit all cylinders on both sides of the ball. Otero, however, grabbed a 6-0 lead behind 3-pointers by Stephanie Rey and Bailey Haist. After that, the Cougars turned up the heat, going on a 30-5 run to lead 30-11 with 9:40 left in the first half.
The run was started by back-to-back treys from Rivera and Moffit. During the run, the Cougars buried five 3-pointers as Rivera added a second trey and Allyson Vasquez and Angela Vigil each had a 3-pointer.
Otero did slice the lead to 12 points, 34-22 on back-to-back 3-pointers, but WNCC answered right back going on a 12-5 run to close out the half with a 46-27 halftime lead.
WNCC never looked back in the second half as Moffit and Lujan each hit two 3-pointers for a 69-37 lead with 10 minutes left in the game.
The Cougars shot identical from the field and the 3-point arc, burying 47.8 percent of their shots. WNCC was 11 of 23 from behind the arc and were just as sizzling from the field at 23 of 67. WNCC also converted 16 of 19 charity stripes (84 percent).
Lujan said their shooting has really picked up since the opening four games.
“The shooting has really improved from the beginning of the season where we couldn’t hit anything,” she said. “Now everyone is more confident with the ball and ready to shoot.”
The Cougars had nine different players hit the scoring column in the first half and had 11 players overall score points. WNCC saw Vasquez and Ashley Stevens finish with nine points each followed by Lyndie Puckett with seven and Lie Havili with six.
Lujan said what made the game impressive in head coach Dave Harnish’s eyes was how they didn’t let up.
“We tried to keep the defense up all night and we didn’t have any drop off so they could come back on us,” she said. “Coach told us after the game he was really proud of us and it was real touching. I wanted to cry.”
It was the Cougars 12th win of the season and fourth straight. WNCC will look for win number 13 Saturday when they face Trinidad State Junior College at 2 p.m. in the team’s final game before the winter break. Lujan said they need to come out and play like they did against Otero.
“I feel like we have to come out like we did today against Otero with the same intensity, get out on their shooters, and play defense,” she said.
Otero (9-5) 27 31 – 58
WNCC (12-2) 46 45 – 91
Stephanie Rey 3, Bailey Haist 16, Kadijah Borom 4, Haley Martinez 4, Chelsea Velasquez 3, Brittany Gutierrez 6, Chelby Santiago 12, Danica Shipley 2, Elika Posey 2, Fanni Horvath 6.
Allyson Vasquez 9, Laurin Rivera 16, Shalisa Moffit 14, Lyndie Puckett 7, Abi Lujan 12, Angela Vigil 10, Liz Dogan 2, Ashley Stevens 9, Kaylee Biddell 4, Lile Havili 6, Olivia Vogel 2.