NAU storms back to beat Wildcats

Christian Johnson

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'Cats forward Kayla Watkins struggles against defenders for control of the ball. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

The Weber State University women’s basketball team faced off against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Feb. 9, looking to ride the momentum from a dramatic victory two days earlier. Despite holding the lead for most of the game, the Wildcats fell victim to a furious rally by the Lumberjacks as they were defeated 75–64 at the Dee Events Center.

The ‘Cats led 52–44 heading into the fourth quarter before NAU began their comeback. Freshman forward Khiarica Rasheed led the way for the Jacks, scoring 12 points during a 17–6 run that gave her team a 61–58 lead with four minutes to play.

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'Cats forward Kayla Watkins struggles against defenders for control of the ball. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

“If we don’t do our work early to get in position, so she (Rasheed) doesn’t get the ball, we’re in trouble,” said WSU head coach Velaida Harris.

Rasheed finished the game with 22 points after scoring just four in the first half.

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Wildcat guard Emily Drake pushes passed defenders on her way to the basket. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

NAU extended their lead to six with under two minutes left, while Weber’s offense went flat and was in desperate need of a stop and a basket. This forced the Wildcats to play the free throw game in order to stop the clock.

The Lumberjacks hit six free throws down the stretch, while the ‘Cats missed four of their final five shots to lead to the 11-point margin of defeat.

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Welch-Coleman jumps to put up two points. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

“We got to get boards, and they turned those rebounds not into extra possessions, but into extra points,” said Weber State senior guard Emily Drake.

Drake led her team in scoring with 23 points.

Weber started off the game on a strong note, as they enjoyed a two-point lead to close out the first quarter. Junior forward Dominique Williams had a hot start, leading all scorers with six first quarter points.

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Kayla Watkins, right, puts up a two point shot. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

Drake put on an offensive showcase in the second quarter, scoring 10 points to help WSU to a 32–27 halftime lead.

The ‘Cats defense was a strong point in the first half, as they forced nine NAU turnovers to go along with six steals and a block.

Senior guard Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman also had a strong afternoon for the Wildcats, scoring 20 points. She helped increase WSU’s lead to nine points in the third quarter with three straight makes from the field, forcing a NAU timeout.

With the loss, Weber State dropped to 5–18 on the season and fell short in their attempt to win back-to-back contests for the first time. The Wildcats will hit the road against Montana, with contests in Missoula and Bozeman on Feb. 14 and 16.