WSU gets basketball season underway

[media-credit name=”Bryan Butterfield” align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]

Weber State University’s Scott Bamforth drives to the hoop during a game against the University of Northern Colorado last season. WSU officially kicked off their season on Wednesday at the annual Purple and White Game.

On Wednesday night, fans got their first look at the 2011 Weber State University Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams at the annual Purple and White game.

The night got underway with team introductions for both teams, with the loudest cheers of the night coming for point guard Damian Lillard who was back on the Dee Events Center court for the first time in nearly a year following a season ending injury last year.

Lillard said that it was good to get back on the court and that physically he is feeling great this year.

““I’ve been waiting to get back out there and play,” Lillard said. “I’ve been waiting for it and it felt great.”

The men’s scrimmage started out slowly with neither team scoring in the first minute and a half. Daren Mahoney scored the first points for the white team on a turnaround jumper, but the first highlight of big highlights of the game came from the purple team.  Shai Fields took the ball on the wing and cut inside, and hit a nice reverse layup to excite the crowd.

The white team dominated much of the play in the first ten minute period of the scrimmage, jumping out to a 12-4 lead thanks to five quick points from Scott Bamforth.

With under a minute left in the first half of the scrimmage, Bamforth once again gave fans something to cheer about. He brought the ball past midcourt and did a cross over, then blew past his defender and hit a layup to extend the white team’s, they had a 25-14 lead.

In the second half the teams were changed up and the score started over at zero. The first points of the second period came thanks to a three pointer by Bamforth, which was followed up by a three by Fields to give the white team a 6-0 lead.

Bamforth had a strong showing in the scrimmage, but attributed much of his success on the court to his teammates.

“I had the point guards on my team get me shots,” Bamforth said. “I know Dame (Lillard) got me a lot of shots. It’s not like it’s all about me, I’m not out there playing one-on-one it comes from our teammates getting shots, and moving the ball, it’s not just me.”

In the second half of the men’s scrimmage Lillard showed that his ankle is okay following last year’s injury. He scored a nice basket after crossing over, cutting past his defender and driving to the hoop.

At the end of the men’s scrimmage Lillard received the loudest cheers of the night as he drove to the hoop and jumped over a defender to dunk the ball and tied the game.

Davian Berry, a junior transfer from California State University Monterey Bay had a strong game, driving to the hoop multiple times, and hitting multiple threes to show he can be another three-point threat for WSU. Berry hit a three at the end of the second half of the scrimmage to give the white team the lead.

Following the men’s scrimmage there was a three-point shooting contest, and then the women’s team took the court for their scrimmage.

The women’s scrimmage game led by nine points and six rebounds from newcomer Shawnte Taylor, the purple team edged the white team 19-18 at the Dee Events Center. Newcomer Kia Rhodes had eight points, splitting time between the two squads, scoring six points while playing for purple and adding a basket for white. Sophomore guard Justine Johnson had five rebounds and a pair of assists for purple during the 15-minute scrimmage. Senior Mikell Woodfield scored nine points to lead the white team.

Head Coach Randy Rahe said that while there were some things he liked in the game, the team still has a long way to come in order to get ready for the season.

“We’ve got to get a lot better defensively,” Rahe said. “We’ve been making some progress in practice . . . but we’ve got a long ways to go defensively.”