Women's basketball set to face Bengals

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(Photo by Tony Post)
Weber State University sophomore Kalie Matthews attempts to block a shot in a game against the University of Northern Colorado. The Wildcats will face Idaho State University on Monday.

The Weber State University women’s basketball team will travel up to Idaho on Martin Luther King Jr. Day looking to take down its rival, the Bengals of Idaho State University. Both teams come into the match-up after games against Southern Utah University, and both are hungry for a win.

The Bengals will enter the match-up having won five of their past six games against WSU. The Wildcats’ last win against ISU came in February 2011 in an overtime thriller in which then-sophomore Amanda Hughes scored 14 points in the winning effort.

Coming off two home losses in the past week, head coach Bethann Ord said she saw improvement in the team but knows it still has a way to go. Working through shooting slumps and trying to find open shots are always issues the team is practicing.

“We are going to continue to shoot, because if you don’t score more points than them, you don’t win,” Ord said. “Of course, we are going to work on defense, but we are making an emphasis to work on free throws and shooting.”

Desiree Ramos, who is coming off a 21-point performance against the University of North Dakota, looks to lead the Wildcats once again. Ramos has been the general of the floor all year, averaging 13.1 points and 4.5 assists. Both of those averages are significantly better this year, which is one of the reasons the team has found success.

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(Photo by Tony Post)
Weber State University junior Zakiyyah Shahid-Martin goes up for a shot in a game against the University of North Dakota. The Wildcats are looking for their first Big Sky Conference win Monday.

“We just need to figure out how to close out those close games more,” Ramos said. “Once we learn how to do that, we are going to be unstoppable.”

Hughes, one of the two seniors on the team, has been a big post presence all season. She is second in scoring on the team with 11.8. She has also been aggressive on both the offensive and defensive rebounding, averaging 6.4 boards a game, leading the team. Hughes’ leadership and tenacity has been a boost for the young and sometimes inexperienced team.

The Bengals entered the season with high hopes, but a tough early schedule has derailed some of those hopes. They will enter this game having lost 10 of their last 11 games. That one win came in their first conference game against Portland State University, in which they scored a season-high 76 points.

The Bengals’ two statistical leaders are similar to the Wildcats’. They have a guard who can shoot and penetrate. This is complemented by a player who can control the glass and take advantage of easy baskets. Those two players are Jessica Reed and Jessica Tingey.

Reed comes in averaging 14.6 points a game. Her presence on the floor has given the Bengals a boost, and she has been known to be a streaky 3-point shooter. Her partner in crime, Tingey, has been a force in and around the basket all season. Averaging 11.3 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, she will require attention from the bigs of the Wildcats down low.

Both teams are searching for confidence and a win on Monday night that could boost either team into contention for the Big Sky title. Tipoff is set for Monday at 7 p.m. at the Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.