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Wildcats snatch victory from Griffins’ claws

The Weber State University women’s basketball team was coming off a victory over Antelope Valley when they took the court again just 36 hours later. The Wildcats made it two consecutive wins, knocking off the Westminster Griffins 64–58 on Nov. 22 at the Dee Events

“Whenever you play anyone in-state, those games are always going to be a battle,” Weber State head coach Bethann Ord said. “They really battled today.”

It was a sluggish beginning, as the two teams combined for as many first-quarter turnovers as points. WSU led just 8–6 after the opening ten minutes.

Ord embraces the opportunities afforded to the Wildcats by playing in games that start early.

“We’ve got a few games at noon,” Ord said. “We are thinking for the future because in the Big Sky and NCAA tournament, you could have noon games.”

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The ’Cats dramatically improved their shooting in the second quarter, scoring 25 points. WSU went on a 15–0 run, led by two buckets from senior guard Larryn Brooks. Brooks finished with 12 first-half points as her team led 31–17 at the break.

“We finally started doing the things we talked about,” Ord said. “We were attacking the rim, sharing the basketball and continuing to attack. We were playing more aggressive.”

The Griffins stormed back to start the second half, going on a 16–4 run to cut the lead to a mere two points. The Wildcats answered back, getting 3-pointers from junior guard Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman and Brooks to close out the third period.

“It’s really about just taking smart shots,” Welch-Coleman said. “Any open shot is almost always a good shot.”

Welch-Coleman took over the fourth quarter for Weber State, scoring the final ten points for her team. The guard’s play was crucial with Westminster often answering a WSU basket with a score of their own.

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“I know Coach always trusts me to make the right decisions,” Welch-Coleman said. “It won’t be in my hands in all situations, but I know that certain games it will come down to that.”

With nine seconds remaining, senior guard Briana Gray came up with a clutch steal. Welch-Coleman then drained two free throws to ice the six-point victory.

“All of our games are probably going to be challenges, so we need to use this for our confidence,” Welch-Coleman said.

The Wildcats were led in scoring by Brooks, who finished with 21 points. Welch-Coleman’s late surge gave her 17 on the afternoon, as WSU improved to 3–1 on the season.

Ord believes her team needs to continue to play well before Big Sky Conference play begins.

“We have a few tough games before we get to the conference, which will be tough because the (Big Sky) is doing terrific right now,” Ord said.

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