Wildcats remain winless after loss to SUU

The Weber State University women’s basketball team fell to in-state rival Southern Utah University 74-61 on Saturday afternoon at the Dee Events Center.

Head coach Bethann Ord told Brandon Garside of KWCR that the team has been working hard in practice and making improvements, which made this loss hard to take.

“This one really hurt,” Ord said. “We had the opportunity here at home . . . this would have been a great win to start off with.”

The Wildcats were led by freshman guard Des Ramos, who finished with 11 points, but the visiting Thunderbirds had three players with 14 points in the game.

SUU’s leading scorer on the season, Hailey Mandelko, was one of the Thunderbirds with 14 points. The other two were Carli Moreland and Kimie Hawkins.

The first half of the game was close, but after halftime, the game turned into a blowout when the Wildcats went four minutes early in the second half without scoring. That four-minute scoreless stretch was part of an 18-2 run by the Thunderbirds to start the second half.

Brianna Averette said the start of the second half hurt the team and affected the outcome of the game.

“In the first half, I feel like we played together and had a lot of energy, but we seemed to lose that in the second half,” she said.

The Thunderbirds also dominated the boards and finished the game with two players racking up six rebounds. Moreland and Desiree Jackson both had six rebounds. WSU’s leading rebounders were Averette and Regina Okoye, who both finished with four boards each. The Wildcats were out-rebounded in the loss. The Thunderbirds pulled down 44 rebounds, while the Wildcats pulled down 31.

Another area of the game SUU dominated was inside points. The Thunderbirds outscored WSU in the paint 42-24. SUU’s bench also outperformed the Wildcats, outscoring WSU 30-28.

Ord told Garside the team was hurt through the game by not taking advantage of opportunities, and missed chances throughout the game.

“If you don’t stick to the game plan and you don’t do the little things, it adds up,” Ord said.

Both teams were relatively even in turnovers, with the Thunderbirds turning it over 25 times to the Wildcats’ 26.

WSU shot it fairly well at 40.4 percent in the game. SUU shot 41.3 percent from the floor in the game.

The Wildcats will host Idaho State University on Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.

Averette said the team needs to start strong against ISU and then keep playing with a high level of intensity throughout the game.

“We need to come out with energy and play with energy throughout the whole game,” she said.

Following the game against ISU, the Wildcats will travel to Northern Arizona University and California State University, Sacramento before returning home on Jan. 24 to take on Montana State University.

Ord said she tries to keep the team positive in practice and wants them to improve and play up to the level she knows they can achieve.

“I try to stay positive. I get after them a little bit,” Ord said, “but that’s just because I know they can do even better.”