Women's basketball finishes season strong

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(Photo by Tony Post) Weber State University senior Amanda Hughes shoots in a game earlier this season. Hughes led the Wildcats with 12.8 points per game in her final season at WSU.

Coach Bethann Ord entered her third season as head coach of the Weber State University women’s basketball team looking to accomplish a lot of firsts and to make the team relevant in the world of women’s basketball. The young players were hoping to build on the experience they garnered from the year before. They finished the season with a record of 7-22, 3-17 in conference play.

“I have said all season that once we get going, we are going to be a scary team,” Ord said. “I am really proud of our girls, because it is not easy when you are going through losing, but these girls handled it perfectly.”

The team’s lone senior, Amanda Hughes, led the team in scoring, averaging 12.8 points per game while bringing down 5.8 rebounds as well. Hughes was accompanied by the sophomore sharp shooter Desiree Ramos, who averaged 12.4 points while dishing out 4.7 asssists. Ramos also led the team in minutes, as her durability allowed her to stay on the court.

The Wildcats started the season with a bang as they won their first two games by a combined 100 points. The season couldn’t have started on a better note, as they won four of their first seven games, with all four of those games being at home. They seemed to be on their way to their fifth win, but a massive Brigham Young University comeback halted that.

After that loss, the Wildcats battled through their early conference schedule of a lot of away games, a thing the young Wildcats struggled with.

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(Photo by Tony Post)
Weber State University sophomore Desiree Ramos goes up for a shot in a game earlier this season. Ramos averaged 12.4 points and a team-high 4.7 assists during the 2013-14 season.

But those struggles seemed to fade as February started to come to a close. The Wildcats continued their quest for their first Big Sky Conference win.

After 51 straight conference losses, they were primed for a breakout game, and that came against Idaho State University. A big second half helped the Wildcats slowly pull away from the Bengals. The final score of 84-71 was music to the team’s ears.

But the Wildcats weren’t done there. They started a winning streak after they knocked off the visiting University of Montana 56-54. Two clutch free throws as the game was winding down sealed the deal for the Wildcats. That win gave the team confidence as they headed into the final part of conference play, which led them to more success.

Their last win of the season came against the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks in Flagstaff, Ariz. It had been nearly three years since the Wildcats had walked off an opposing team’s court with a win. That changed when Kalie Matthews was sent to the free-throw line with a couple seconds left on the clock. She calmly made both of her free throws to give the Wildcats a 74-73 win.

Matthews said the team started to turn the corner as everyone’s confidence started to grow with each win. The players knew they could win games; they just needed to put it all together.

“Once we got that feeling of winning, we didn’t want to go back to losing,” Matthews said. “We know what team we can become, and we started to play better as we played together on both sides of the ball.”

With just one senior on the team, the core of young players looks to take the end-of-season momentum into next season.