A sour senior send-off

Weber State Athletics/Big Sky Conference
Weber State celebrating at Big Sky Tournament 2022.

Unable to hold off Northern Arizona University in the fourth quarter, Weber State University’s women’s basketball team lost 66–57 on Feb. 27 at the Dee Events Center.

“I don’t think it was them,” Wildcat forward Daryn Hickok said. “It was our slip-ups and the lapses that we had.”

Weber State started the night scoring with points from Hickok and forward Jadyn Matthews. Jumping out to a lead, the Wildcats maintained control of the first quarter, only falling behind once due to a layup from guard Taylor Feldman.

Down by 1 point with two minutes left in the first quarter, Matthews drove inside for a layup to put Weber State back on top. After a jumper from forward Ava Williams, Feldman responded with a layup to cut the Lumberjacks’ deficit to 1 point.

Looking like she was going to drive to the basket, Wildcat guard Kaiija Lesane stopped near the free throw line, forcing her defenders to pass her for an open shot to give Weber State a 3-point lead. Before the end of the first quarter, however, Northern Arizona guard Regan Schenck made a layup to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 1 point before the second quarter.

While Weber State maintained control during the first, the Lumberjacks created some distance at the start of the second quarter.

Northern Arizona forward Fatoumata Jaiteh made the first points of the quarter to give the Lumberjacks a 1-point lead. Fouled while trying to shoot against a double-team, Matthews was able to make one shot to tie the game but missed the second.

Following the free throw, guard Emily Rodabaugh hit a midrange floater to put Northern Arizona up.

The Wildcats weren’t able to regain the lead till guard Aaliyah Ellis scored inside off a fastbreak. With one minute left in the half, Ellis made a freethrow to put the Wildcats up by 2 points. During the last minute however, Northern Arizona caught up after forward Montana Oltrogge scored 3 points before the buzzer sounded.

Coming back from halftime, the Lumberjacks led 29–28.

Looking to regain the lead, Matthews hit a mid range jumper to start the third quarter. Holding the Wildcats off, Schenck made a layup and a 3-pointer during the first two minutes of the half.

Fighting to regain the lead, the Wildcats were able to tie the game one minute before the fourth quarter. Driving inside, Matthews scored and drew contact off forward Sophie Glancey, converting on the and-1.

The game was tied heading into the fourth quarter at 46. Senior forwards Laura Taylor, Williams, Hickok and Matthews combined for 41 of the team’s points by the end of the third.

Edging out to an early lead, Northern Arizona guard Olivia Moran made 3 points to put the Lumberjacks on top. After free throws from Lesane tied the game, Lumberjack guard Nyah Moran hit a 3-pointer with seven minutes left.

Driving to the basket after a steal, Nyah Moran was able to find Olivia Moran under the basket. Despite Hickok making two free throws, the Lumberjacks were able to gain momentum.

With less than five minutes left, Rodabaugh made a 3-pointer to put Northern Arizona up by 8 points. The Wildcats were unable to get within a possession away from winning after.

“I was proud of the effort that we gave,” Weber State head coach Velaida Harris said. “I’ve been telling this group all year, ‘yes, we’re young, but that’s not an excuse.’”

The Wildcats will travel to the Big Sky tournament in Boise, Idaho, to face the University of Northern Colorado on March 4 at noon.