Wildcats win one, lose one at New Mexico State tournament

Senior Brianna Averette (5) plays defends against UVU guard Mariah Seals (3). Averette scored   (Michael Grennell / The Signpost)
Senior Brianna Averette (5) defends against UVU guard Mariah Seals (3). Averette scored 33 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the Wildcats’ two games at New Mexico State.
(Michael Grennell / The Signpost)

The Weber State women’s basketball team finished off the New Mexico State Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic tournament with a 57-42 loss to Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

The numbers don’t show how hard the girls worked,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord. “You can’t win a game when you don’t finish shots and convert. I am proud of the girls, playing on the road is tough and they did well in this tournament.”

The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead over the Eagles, but Eastern Michigan quickly battled back and took the lead for good with just over 11 minutes left in the first half. The Eagles shot 19-for-57 from the field in the win, outshooting the Wildcats (14-for-61). Weber State was also outrebounded 53-42.

Senior Brianna Averette led the team in scoring with 12 points, while also pulling down six rebounds. Junior Jalen Carpenter led the team with nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals while scoring four points.

One day after scoring 20 points and shooting 5-for-9 from three-point range, freshman Kailie Quinn struggled to make her shots as she shot 0-for-6 from the field, all six attempts coming from three-point range.

Ord said after the loss that the team had work to do before their next home game on Dec. 6.

“We’re going to be working on executing the little things this week in practice,” Ord said. “We are going to get back to the basics and tighten things up before San Diego.”

The loss to Eastern Michigan came one day after the Wildcats beat New Mexico State (NMSU) in a 100-97 double overtime win.

 “(NMSU) threw everything at us,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord. “For us to come in here and get this victory was huge.”

The Wildcats trailed the Aggies throughout most of the first half but managed to pull within one point to go into halftime trailing 35-34. The Aggies added to their lead in the second half, as they jumped out to a 12 point lead with just over two minutes left in the game. The Wildcats battled back, and went on a 15-3 scoring run to tie the game at 75-75 and force overtime. The teams changed lead three times in the first overtime period, but freshman guard Kailie Quinn hit her fourth three-point shot of the game with two seconds left to send the game into second overtime. The Wildcats took control of the second overtime period, as they only lost the lead once on their way to the double overtime win.

Averette led the team in scoring with a game-high 21 points, while also pulling down four rebounds and making six assists. Her 21 points and six assists were both new career highs for her, as it was the first time since 2012 she scored 15 or more points.

The Wildcats had four other players score double-digit points in the win, as freshman Kailie Quinn had her second 20-plus-point game of the season, putting up 20 points while shooting 5-for-9 from three-point range. Junior Regina Okoye scored 12 points against New Mexico State, while fellow junior Jalen Carpenter had her second double-double of the season. Carpenter pulled down 13 rebounds and scored 13 points while tying her career-high with three steals. Freshman Sira Toure set a new career-high with 14 points off the bench.

“I am so proud of these girls,” Ord said. “We were pressuring them and attacking them and we did what he needed to. Having people come in off the bench and play aggressively really helped us earn this win.”

The Wildcats currently sit in second place in the Big Sky Conference standings after the weekend with a 4-3 overall record. Their next game will be at home on Dec. 6 when they host San Diego (5-1) at 2 p.m. The Wildcats have three more non-conference games—against BYU, Denver and Oklahoma State—before they begin their conference schedule at home against Eastern Washington on Jan. 1.