Lady Lancers fall to WNCC

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TORRINGTON – A tenacious rally by the Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) Lady Lancers late in the third quarter against the Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) Lady Cougars came up short in closing a 12-point deficit established by WNCC following halftime on January 8.

Finding momentum midway into the third quarter, the Lady Lancers fought to close WNCC’s lead to a single possession, 56-53, seconds before the fourth quarter commenced.

The point-for-point battle continued early in the fourth quarter until the Lady Cougars regained the initiative with a 6-point run. WNCC steadily widened the gap to post a 78-67 win.

Head coach Tim Larsen praised the Lady Lancers’ ability to remain competitive against a “tough” team at the top of national rankings.

“I thought we did a good job playing together on Monday,” Larsen said. “Our press was effective and I thought in spots our offense was clicking. We emphasized rebounding before the game because of how well WNCC is able to offensively rebound and that is where they definitely hurt us. We still did a great job getting extra possessions and fighting all the way to the end.”

A neck-and-neck first quarter found WNCC ahead by a single point, 23-22. EWC established an early 6-5 lead following a layup by Ali Tripp and a jumper and pair of free throws from Luna Moreno.

The Lady Cougars gained the initiative,19-8, with 3:14 remaining in the first quarter. The Lady Lancers responded with a 3-pointer by Emma Jimenez. Andrea Gutierrez Ciordia netted a layup and Tawny Rodriguez went 2-for-2 at the charity stripe.

Moreno tossed in a jumper, Jimenez scored from inside the paint and Nikolina Vukcevic sank a 3-pointer.

The point-for-point battle continued through the beginning of the second quarter. Ciordia snatched a steal, setting Moreno up to net an outside shot and tie the game at 25 points.

WNCC responded with a 7-point run. Hailey Long made a significant dent in the Lady Cougar’s lead with a 3-pointer.

WNCC edged up to establish a 41-32 lead at halftime.

The Lady Cougars widened their lead as the third quarter commenced, 46-34. Refusing to throw in the towel, the Lady Lancers made a concerted effort to close the gap.

Sofia Mokofisi went on a 4-point run. Moreno tossed in a layup and Rodriguez went 2-for-2 once again at the free-throw line. 

Long converted an and-1, grabbed a steal and broke through the WNCC defense to score, making it a two-possession game, 53-49.

WNCC tossed in a 3-pointer. Taking possession, Moreno made a layup, narrowing WNCC’s lead back to two possessions, 56-51.

Defensive pressure by Rodriguez resulted in a turnover. With 15 seconds remaining on the clock, Tamar Kopilevich sank a close-range shot and brought EWC to within a single possession of overtaking WNCC, 56-53.

The Lady Cougars outscored EWC, 19-14, to increase their lead in the fourth quarter. Long led the Lady Lancers’ fight to remain on the scoreboard with two deep 3-pointers. 

Moreno led EWC in scoring against WNCC with 15 points. Long contributed 14 points, Jimenez nine with eight apiece by Mokofisi and Rodriguez. Rodriguez posted 10 rebounds and Moreno tallied four assists.