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Bobcats beatdown Wildcats despite hopeful start

For the first time since ending their 10-game losing streak, the Weber State University women’s basketball team returned to Ogden to host the Montana State University Bobcats. The Wildcats played a great first half, but the Bobcats caught fire and left Utah with a 66–59 win.

The Wildcats won on the road against first place Northern Colorado last Thursday where they secured a victory after a game-winning free throw from Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman, the senior point guard.

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Point guard Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman drives toward defender Blaire Braxton (44). (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost) Photo credit: Marissa Wolford

Even with that win on their side, the Wildcats fell short against the Bobcats. “It was a very disappointing loss. We played very good half-court defense in the first half, and after half time, we didn’t have the same urgency,” head coach Velaida Harris said in a post-game press release.

Both teams were ready, and the battle between WSU and MSU began. The Wildcats and Bobcats played evenly throughout the first half, as the teams matched each others offense.

The Wildcats were able to find a groove and created a 10-point advantage going into the half. Harris emphasized how important a good
second quarter is.

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Emily Drake tries to recover ball for Wildcats. (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost) Photo credit: Marissa Wolford

During the Wildcats’ losing streak, Harris pointed to the second quarter as an area that needs improvement. The Wildcats fell apart in the second quarter and dug themselves a hole they couldn’t get out of. However, Thursday’s second quarter was huge for the Wildcats.

The second half began with a barrage of scoring from the Bobcats as they cut the Wildcats lead from 10 points to five within the first four minutes.

When they were in need of points, freshmen Ciara James found herself open after a spin move in the post to give her an easy lay-up. The Bobcats offense did not slow up, and two minutes later they held a 39–37 lead.

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Kayla Watkins gain control on the ball during tip off. (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost) Photo credit: Marissa Wolford

“The first half the ladies are on our end so coaches can communicate and dictate, but they’re on their own in the second half,” Harris said. “That’s when our level of communication has to be heightened. The major differences tonight were our unforced turnovers, our effort on the defensive end and rebounding.”

James would eventually sink a short range jump shot to give her eight points and a Wildcat lead. In the next possession, Welch-Coleman would confuse her defender off of a crossover and hit a jumper off the glass that pumped life into the Dee Events Center.

As both teams broke for the final quarter, the game was tied up 46.

The final period opened up with three-point baskets exchanged by MSU and WSU, as sophomore Kayla Watkins connected from deep for her seventh point of the night. Midway through the fourth, Welch-Coleman sized up her defender and sent her running the wrong direction before knocking down a mid-range

Much of the Wildcats offensive attack was having a post player screen forcing a MSU big to guard Welch-Coleman, and most of the time it ended up with her defender looking for her. Welch-Coleman finished the night with 16 points and five assists.

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Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman breaking past Montana State players. (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost) Photo credit: Marissa Wolford

After a deep three from WSU junior Dominique Williams, the Wildcats found themselves down by three and in need of a stop. The Wildcats played suffocating defense, but with only a couple seconds left on the shot clock the Bobcats buried a deep three that silenced the Wildcat fans and essentially ended the game.

When the final buzzer rang, the scoreboard read 66–59 in favor of
Montana State.

With this loss, Weber State drops to 4-14 overall and 1-7 in Big Sky play. They will look to bounce back on Saturday in a battle with the Montana Grizzlies at the Dee Events Center.

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