SHERIDAN — The Sheridan College women’s basketball team doesn’t look to Haley McDermott for scoring. Head coach Ryan Davis doesn’t expect McDermott to come off the bench and carry the team offensively when a couple starters need a quick respite.
If McDermott enters a game, her role is to give energy and play solidly. She did more than that Wednesday night inside the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome, and she needed to.
The Thermopolis native tallied a career-high 10 points in the Lady Generals’ 50-45 victory over the Lady Trappers, which improved them to 15-10 on the season and 5-4 in Region IX play.
“If she had gone in and not scored 10 points and not gone perfect from the field and just provided us energy, it would have been just as valuable,” Davis said. “I didn’t expect her to get 10 points. That was just gravy.”
McDermott’s role has diminished lately. After playing at least 15 minutes through the first 15 games of the season, the Sheridan College freshman had only logged a combined 19 minutes of floor time in the last nine games.
Upon entering Wednesday’s game early in the first quarter, as Davis was searching for any kind of spark, McDermott felt as though she was playing with house money.
“I think I played a little more relaxed,” she said. “I had nothing to lose. I just had to go out and shoot my shot. We weren’t playing well, and I hadn’t been playing very much recently, and I just needed to prove myself in this game.” She did just that. McDermott made all four of her shot attempts, two of them coming from 3-point land, while adding two assists in nearly 26 minutes of floor time.
“I think a lot of times when a kid doesn’t play as much and their minutes go down because of the turnovers, they get tight and tentative. But she wasn’t. She was aggressive,” Davis said.
“She had her mind right.”
The minimized minutes within the last month had not affected McDermott’s attitude or preparedness. She still arrives to practice, film sessions and games with the same workmanlike mentality. And Davis applauds her for that.
“She’s a tough kid,” Davis said. “She’s a kid that works hard everywhere. She works hard in the classroom. She’s a great kid. She’s polite. She does the little stuff for us, the details. She does it in practice.
“I think it’s just who she is, more than anything else. It just doesn’t matter if she’s playing well or not, she’s going to give you everything she’s got.”
McDermott came to play Wednesday, but where she was strong, others struggled. Cynthia Green represented the only other Lady General to score in double figures with 11, as SC shot 40 percent (19 of 48) from the field and committed 24 turnovers.
The Lady Generals only managed nine first-quarter points and didn’t have any period where they scored north of 20. SC trailed 24-20 at halftime, but took a slight 33-32 edge into the game’s final 10 minutes.
Sheridan finally created some separation with a 13-1 run early in the fourth period, but the Lady Trappers quickly responded with an 8-0 spurt that pulled them to within three at 46-43 with 1:11 to play in the game. The Lady Generals earned a key stop with under a minute to play and made four their final six free throws to eek out a victory.
Northwest also struggled from the field, connecting on just 28 percent (12 of 43) of its field-goal attempts.
Sheridan College remains at home and hosts Laramie County Community College Saturday at 2 p.m. The Lady Generals fell to LCCC 84-71 in Cheyenne Jan. 19.
Northwest College…16 8 8 13 — 45
Sheridan College…. 9 11 13 17 — 50
Northwest College — Larsen 8; Martinez 7; Cudney 7; Brown 7; Lohrenz 7; Riberio 5; Sayer 4
Sheridan College — Green 11; McDermott 10; Taliauli 9; Parttimaa 8; Solovi 5; Hoyer 2; Walker 2; Tuisavura 2; Oca 1
Northwest College 30 (Lohrenz 7); Sheridan College 32 (Taliauli 8)
Northwest College 7 (Sayer 4); Sheridan College 11 (Hoyer 3)