Women’s basketball falls to Utes at home

The Weber State University women’s basketball team lost a tough home battle against the University of Utah on Saturday afternoon in Ogden.

The Wildcats came into the game with four straight losses to begin the season after going 2-0 in preseason exhibition matches.

As the first half opened against the Utes, the Wildcats fell into an early deficit. The Utes went on a 22-2 run to start the game, and proved to test the Wildcats.

WSU was able to keep the scoring somewhat evenly matched after a difficult start, and brought the score back up to 22-8 halfway through the first period of time. By the end of the half, the Wildcats were able to hold the score at 35-18.

At the close of the first half, the point total for the Wildcats was evenly distributed. Four points came from four different Wildcat team members: freshman forward Jalen Carpenter, senior forward Amanda Hughes, freshman guard Regina Okoye and senior guard Kia Rhodes.

The Utes proved to be tough opponents as they led the Wildcats in most categories after the first half. WSU shot 22 percent from the field, as opposed to the Utes’ 58 percent during the half.

In the second half, the Utes continued to increase their lead against the Wildcats, but WSU was able to put up points more consistently than in the first half.

The score read 51-29 in favor of the Utes with 10 minutes left in the half, and the Wildcats stayed down by 20-30 points for the remainder of the game.

At the end of the 40-minute match, the Wildcats saw their fifth-straight loss of the season with a score of 73-47.

Despite the loss, Carpenter contributed with a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Freshman forward Grace Farnsworth had eight points and five boards, Hughes had eight points and six rebounds, and Okoye added six points and eight rebounds.

“There’s always going to be different things, but you’re not going to win a basketball game going 19-76 (in shooting),” said WSU Head Xoach Bethann Ord. “We had wide-open shots, but we just got nothing down. There were too many misses . . . and you’re just not going to win. But I was happy and I was proud of their fight. They worked very hard.”

Ord said she saw many promising factors for her team, regardless of the loss against the Utes.

“Having only 11 turnovers to (the Utes’) 21 is great,” she said. “So they took care of the ball a lot better today. We had some young ladies come off the bench and really bring some fire, which I was proud of. Jalen Carpenter again had 11 boards and 14 points, and she really brought it all game, but we need 40 minutes from everybody.”

Carpenter, after leading the Wildcats in points and rebounds during the game, said the passion and power for the team is improving, as well as her own.

“I felt like I just had a lot of intensity,” she said. “I just wanted to play hard . . . I wanted to turn up the intensity a little bit. We didn’t get the win, but I feel like I played pretty well. We pumped up the intensity (today) because, last game, we didn’t have the fire or the intensity. There were positives — we had only 11 turnovers, so we had control of the ball and took care of it a little better. We just have to keep improving.”

The Wildcats came into the match after a difficult 77-58 home loss against the United States Military Academy last Wednesday night. WSU saw many contributing efforts from its young roster during the game. Freshman guard Desiree Ramos scored 15 points for the Wildcats, and Okoye had 14 points for the team. WSU freshman Kalie Matthews continued leading the Wildcats in rebounds, with 13 during the game.

The women’s basketball team will return to action on Tuesday night when it travels to Albuquerque to take on the University of New Mexico.