Wildcats lose two games to in-state rivals

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Weber State University’s Mikell Woodfield goes up to block a lay-up by a player from Brigham Young University on the game on Saturday night. WSU lost 82-64 against BYU and 73-63 to Utah State University.
After getting a preseason win, the regular season started out rough for the Weber State University women’s basketball team, which lost 73-63 to Utah State University and 84-67 to Brigham Young University last week.

In the game against USU, the Wildcats made several strong strides from their season-opener against Boise State University, but the ultimate difference in the game came down to WSU’s struggle to hold on to the ball at critical times.

“I’m proud of our team effort; the players kept playing hard even after we got behind in the first half,” Head Coach Bethann Ord said. “We made some adjustments in the second half, and the girls really responded.”

Ord said she was proud of her team despite the loss and felt the team did well against a talented USU team.

“I liked the fight our players displayed,” Ord said. “We didn’t stop. We continued playing tough defense, but couldn’t quite get over the hump to bring home the win.”

Sophomore guard Justine Johnson led the Wildcats with 16 points, hitting six of seven shots from the field and three 3-pointers. Senior guard Caela Mohre added 15 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists in a solid all-around game.

Ord said the team put forth great team effort. He said players need to limit their turnovers and do a better job of taking care of the ball.

After falling behind early, the Wildcats rallied to cut the deficit to 30-25 late in the first half on a jumper by sophomore Jordan Pfau.

“USU has a very good team with great players,” Pfau said. “They have a good coach that does a great job with their players. And they are good at the boards.

The Aggies shot 58.6 percent from the field in the first half and outscored the Wildcats 22-6 in the paint, but WSU shored up both aspects during the second half as it held USU to just 33.3 percent shooting in the second half and won the points in the paint battle.

“I am very proud of the team and their effort,” Ord said. “We have a great defense.  They kept playing hard even when they were down after the first half of the game. They responded well to making the adjustments at half-time. They just keep fighting.”

After the loss against USU, the Wildcats played their first home game of the year against BYU.

Woodfield hit six of seven from the field and collected a team-high seven rebounds as she continued her strong start to her senior season. Sophomore forward Jordan Pfau added 10 points, hitting four of six from the field and knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.

Junior guard Kia Rhodes added eight points and four rebounds coming off the bench, while junior forward Amanda Hughes added eight points and five rebounds for the Wildcats.

The Cougars led by as many as 21 in the first half and held a 48-28 advantage at the intermission, but Wildcats came out scorching hot, hitting over 70 percent from the field in the first 10 minutes of the second and using a 24-10 surge to cut the deficit to just six points (58-52) on a jumper by junior guard Megan Patterson. Rhodes scored all eight of her points during the surge.

After trading baskets for several possessions, BYU went on an 8-0 run to extend the lead back to 14 with 5:11 remaining. The Wildcats were never able to close the gap.

WSU will return to action for three games over Thanksgiving weekend at the Global Sports Cage Classic, where the Wildcats will meet host the University of Oregon, Nicholls State University and the University of California Irvine in Eugene, Ore.