The Weber State University women’s basketball team fell to the Eastern Washington University Eagles 72-60 on Thursday night, extending its skid to five straight losses.
The EWU Eagles won the opening tipoff and quickly scored the first points of the game. Five minutes into the game, sophomore guard Jordan Pfau hit a 3-point shot to give WSU its first lead of the game at 8-7.
The EWU Eagles quickly took back the lead, though, and, with six minutes remaining in the first half, the Eagles extended their lead to 10 points. WSU then scored nine unanswered points to pull within one with four minutes remaining in the half. But the Wildcats were unable to keep the momentum going. EWU closed out the half strong and took a 35-29 lean into the locker rooms.
At the start of the second half, WSU struggled to score as the Eagles held the Wildcats to only four points over the first eight minutes of the half. As the second half progressed, WSU began to heat up and started chipping away at EWU’s lead, but, over the final 10 minutes of the game, the Wildcats failed to get within 10 points of the Eagles. With 26 seconds left, senior forward Mikell Woodfield scored a layup for the final points of the game, and WSU lost 72-60.
Despite the loss, the Wildcats had solid performances from Woodfield, junior forward Amanda Hughes and sophomore guard Laura Palmere. Palmere recorded a career-high 15 points, while Woodfield added 13 points and seven rebounds. Hughes had 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.
For EWU, its senior guard Brianne Ryan recorded a double-double with 13 rebounds and a game-high 32 points. Ryan is the Big Sky Conference leader in scoring, and her performance helped the Eagles improve to 2-1 in Big Sky play. EWU is 8-8 overall this season.
The Eagles outworked WSU inside and out-rebounded the Wildcats 45-36. EWU also dominated in the paint, outscoring the Wildcats 34-16.
After the game, head coach Bethann Ord said the team has to work at improving on certain things, one of which is limiting turnovers. The Wildcats had 21 turnovers in the game, with 16 coming in the first half alone.
“You’ve got to take care of the ball,” Ord said. “They’re scoring all these points off turnovers, and it’s like we’re reacting after the fact.”
She also pointed out that the team needs to work on its defense and keeping its hands up.
“We just got to keep working and keep getting better,” Ord said.
Palmere remained upbeat after the loss, and said she feels that, if the team can relax and play its style of basketball, the wins will come.
“We’re just going to have fun and let the game come to us,” Palmere said.
When talking about her performance off the bench, she gave credit to her point guards, saying they helped get the ball to her and put her in position to be successful. Like Ord, Palmere pointed to turnovers as being a major factor in the loss.
“We fought back when we could,” Palmere said. “We just didn’t have a full 40-minute game, unfortunately.”
Following the loss, WSU falls to 3-13 on the season and remains without a win in Big Sky Conference play.