The Weber State University women’s basketball team started off strong, but faltered after halftime, falling to its 41st consecutive loss on Thursday against Southern Utah University, 72-54.
Brianna Averette said a lack of energy hurt the team in the second half.
“In the second half when we lost the energy,” Averette said, “we put our heads down and didn’t come together.”
Regina Okoye led WSU in scoring with 12 points, while Desiree Ramos chipped in with 10 and Kalie Matthews finished with seven points. Matthews also pulled in five rebounds for the Wildcats.
Head coach Bethann Ord said the team didn’t compete for the full game.
“You have to play 40 minutes,” Ord said. “Like I tell my girls all the time, basketball is a game of runs. You’ve got to stop the run and just keep playing hard.”
The early stages of the game were close, with both teams trading baskets in the first half. With 12 minutes remaining, the Wildcats held a slim two-point lead, but the Thunderbirds tied the game on their next possession. Two minutes later, SUU took the lead, going up 17-15, but the Wildcats fought back to tie the game.
Hailey Mandelko hit a 3-pointer with a little less than eight minutes left in the half to give SUU a three-point lead. The Thunderbirds were unable to pull away, but WSU kept the score close throughout the remainder of the half.
Toward the end of the half, both teams struggled to score. Each team missed multiple scoring opportunities late in the half. Mandelko struck again for SUU with 1:15 left in the half, pushing SUU’s lead back to three. Then, 10 seconds later, Sofia Hepworth extended the lead to five when she scored off of a fast break created from a WSU turnover.
SUU went into the half with a 36-29 lead over the Wildcats.
In the second half, SUU quickly pushed its lead to seven points before the Wildcats scored their first points of the half. Five minutes into the half, SUU extended its lead to nine points. Midway through the second half, SUU pushed its lead to 13 points.
As the second half wore on, the Wildcats struggled to contain the Thunderbird offense. WSU also struggled to score, only scoring two points in the first 13 minutes of the second half.
The Wildcats weren’t able to overcome their sluggish start to the second half, and SUU easily closed out the game, sending the Wildcats to their 41st-straight loss.
WSU is closing in on the longest losing streak in NCAA Division I history. The Long Island University Blackbirds currently hold the record with 58 straight losses, which they set from 1986-89. The Big Sky record is 44 games.
SUU was led by Mandelko, who was the leading scorer in the game with 18 points. Hepworth had 15 points. Taylor Anderson was the leading rebounder for SUU with 12 rebounds in the game.
For its next game, WSU will travel to the University of Montana next week.