WNCC women capture 21st straight victory

WNCC’s Lidsey Mahoukou puts up a layup during the Cougars’ game against NJC on Thursday, Feb. 13.

Tishara Morehouse scored 28 points and collected her 1,000th career point in leading the third-ranked Western Nebraska Community College women’s basketball team in outscoring Northeastern Junior College 31-15 in the fourth quarter for a 96-73 win Thursday, Feb. 13 in Region IX South Sub-region action.

The win moves the Cougars to 23-1 on the season and 7-0 in south sub-region play. The win was the Cougars 21st straight win and it was also the team’s 51st consecutive home win dating back to January 2017.

Morehouse said the team played well after somewhat of a slow start.

“First off it was a little shaky, but we all got together and came together as a team and said we were going to get everything right,” the sophomore said. “We were going to defend well and execute on offense as a team. The second half we played good.”

It was the second straight game the Cougars used a big fourth quarter to get the win. Monday night against Eastern Wyoming College, the Cougars used a 31-12 fourth quarter to earn an 80-62 win. Thursday night against NJC, the Cougars held a slim 65-58 lead after three quarters and then outscored NJC 31-15 in the fourth to roll to the victory.

Morehouse said the fourth quarter was huge for the team.

“We notice that when we are not playing good in the beginning, we get down on ourselves, so when it comes down to the fourth quarter we know it is game time,” she said. “The fourth quarter is the time it will tell if you win or lose. So, we see that as an important moment to get going.”

It was the final home game for the Cougar women as they hit the road for three regular season games, including a trip to Lamar on Friday. The Cougars have put together a rather nice win streak this season and at home over the course of three years.

Morehouse said it means a lot to be a part of something like that.

“It is great to be a part of something like this,” she said. “It is great to be 51-5 over the two years and it is just great to be a part of.”

The first half was a battle. WNCC opened things leading 10-6 and doubled the score at 24-12 before NJC battled back to trail 28-20 after the first quarter.

The second quarter say WNCC take a 33-25 lead only to watch the Plainswomen cut the halftime deficit to 43-40.

NJC came out of the locker room in the second half on fire, taking a 48-47 lead on a 3-pointer with 6:40 to play in the third. The Plainswomen led 55-53 at one time and seemed to have the Cougars’ number.

That was when WNCC closed out the third on a 12-3 run that saw Taylor Joplin hit back-to-back 3-pointers and led 65-58 after three periods.

WNCC opened the fourth on a 16-0 run that saw Morehouse rattle off eight straight points. Morehouse’s bucket with 6:45 to play in the game was her 1,000 career point and it gave the Cougars a 79-58 lead. WNCC never looked back after that.

Morehouse said it is special to get 1,000 points in her two year career at WNCC. Morehouse is only the third Cougar to score 1,000 points. The other two were Penny Mallet back in 1983 and Merle Wiehl, who set the career scoring record last season.

“Coach told me that I was only the third girl to do it at the school so that gave me a lot of confidence and great to be a part of that as well knowing that I made 1,000 in two years,” she said. “It is just a great accomplishment.”

WNCC was led in scoring by Morehouse with 28 points, including burying three 3-pointers, dishing off six assists, and getting six rebounds.

Yuliyana Valcheva finished with 20 points with eight rebounds, while Lidsey Mahoukou had 12 points and nine boards. Zarrea Coleman finished with 11 points followed by Dakota Duplessis with nine.

It was the last home game for the four sophomores – Morehouse, Valcheva, R’Manie Pulling, and Taylor Joplin. Morehouse said they had a good career at WNCC.

“We going to miss it,” she said. “Knowing that we played in Cougar Palace for the last time shows that our journey is almost to the end. We just want to enjoy it as much as possible.”

NJC 20 20 18 15 – 73

WNCC 28 15 22 31 – 96

WNCC

Tishara Morehouse 28, Yuliyana Valcheva 20, Zarrea Coleman 11, Georgia Berry 3, Dakota Duplessis 9, Maddy Campbell 7, Taylor Joplin 6, Lidsey Mahoukou 12.

NJC

Taelor Jackson 8, Ciarra Mutshatshi 6, Brianna McBride 19, Aleksandra Ratnikoava 27, Unique Gainey 4, Bailee Hart 9.

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