Far from a win

Simon Mortensen

After advancing to the quarter-finals on March 7, Weber State University’s women’s basketball team fell to Montana State 81–60 on March 8 in Boise, Idaho.

Although a neutral territory, it felt like a home game for the Bobcats, as the Montana State band and mascot showed up. Many were in attendance to watch Bobcats star guard Darian White return to play in her home state of Idaho.

Daryn Hickok gets around a Montana State player in an effort to toss a basketball to her teammates. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)
Daryn Hickok gets around a Montana State player in an effort to toss a basketball to her teammates. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)

The Bobcats tried to dominate from beyond the arc to start the game. Forward Kola Bad Bear hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Bobcats an early lead.

Montana State’s lead wouldn’t last long, however, as they missed six 3-pointers in the first quarter while the Wildcats scored 21 points. By the end of the first, Weber State was up 21–14.

The Wildcats’ momentum continued into the second as they managed to lead by 11 points twice. The momentum shifted, however, when Montana Big Bear drilled a deep 3-pointer off an assist from Montana State guard Ashley Van Sickle.

Weber State University's women's basketball team attempts to grab a basketball from Montana State players before they make a point. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)
Weber State University's women's basketball team attempts to grab a basketball from Montana State players before they make a point. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)

With less than five minutes left in the half, Big Bear’s 3-pointer started a 14–0 run to give the Bobcats the lead at the half. Weber State turned the ball over three times during that stretch and ended the game with a total of 22 turnovers.

Coming into the second half with a 36–33 lead, Montana State did everything they could to put this game away. After not scoring once in the first half, White had 22 points in the second.

Kaiija Lesane gets ready to run through the middle of two Montana State players. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)
Kaiija Lesane gets ready to run through the middle of two Montana State players. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)

As for Weber State in the third quarter, the team went three minutes without a single basket until forward Emma Torbert ended it with a layup. Bobcat forward Taylor Janssen responded by hitting a 3-pointer off an assist from White, pushing Montana State’s lead to 14 points.

By the end of the third quarter, the Bobcats led 63–48.

The game started looking competitive again in the fourth quarter as Torbert and forward Daryn Hickok both started the quarter scoring. However, Weber State’s eight fouls paved the way for Montana State’s takeover.

Head coach Velaida Harris preps her team during a time out. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)
Head coach Velaida Harris preps her team during a time out. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)

“It didn’t end the way we want it to,” Weber State’s coach, Velaida Harris, said. “We know we’re better than that 21-point loss.”

Hickok and guard Kori Pentzer were the only Wildcats to score double-digits. Torbert was on the cusp with a 9-point performance complemented by 9 rebounds.

“That was an okay game,” Torbert said. “It should have been better.”

This was the final game for starting guards Aloma Solovi and Pentzer. At a press conference, Harris said that Solovi had been playing on an injury for two months.

WSU players take a fall after being rushed by Montana State players trying to grab the basketball. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)
WSU players take a fall after being rushed by Montana State players trying to grab the basketball. (Kennedy Robins/ The Signpost)

“That’s the toughest kid that I absolutely know,” Harris said. “I’m hoping that that reverberates and that is infectious in our team.”

The Wildcats ended the season with a 6–14 in-conference record and an 11–20 record overall, making this the winningest season since the 2017-18 season.

“Every year that I’ve been here, there’s been growth,” Pentzer said. “This year we made big strides. This group is really special, and next year I’m excited to see where they go.”