The Weber State University women’s basketball team hosted the Grizzlies of Adams State University in an exhibition game on Halloween night, winning handily 75-46 over the Division II school from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Sophomore guard Regina Okoye led the way for the Wildcats with 13 points on 5-6 shooting, six boards and two steals. The game acted as a warm-up for the team, which will start regular season play next week.
Both teams got off to slow starts offensively, as only three field goals were made between both teams in the first five minutes. The offensive challenges continued throughout the first half, but WSU’s defensive presence, including six steals, two blocks and ASU’s 17 turnovers, led to many opportunities on the other side of the floor. The Wildcats held ASU to just 23 percent shooting in the first half, and shot 35 percent themselves.
The Wildcats’ defense held the Grizzlies to just one made field goal in the last seven minutes and 35 seconds of play, closing out the half on a 14-5 run. In the run, Okoye scored six of those points consecutively, two of which were fast breaks off of her own steals.
“I’m pretty athletic; I use that to my advantage as well as my reach,” said Okoye on her aggressive defense. “I just anticipate passes and find a way to turn them over into steals and read the defense as much as possible.”
WSU also never let ASU score back-to-back buckets in the first half.
Going into the second half, WSU had an answer for anything and everything ASU threw at them. The Wildcats led the Grizzlies by as many as 30 points, and shot better at 50 percent from the field, compared to the Grizzlies’ 31 percent in the second half.
The highlight of the night came from Amanda Hughes. As an ASU player drove to the basket from the right side, Hughes met her going up and obliterated any hopes of that ball going anywhere but down. However, the senior from Aurora, Colo., was called for the foul.
While the team came out with a dominating win over the Grizzlies, it wasn’t enough for WSU head coach Bethann Ord.
“I know we beat them by a lot, but we didn’t do the little things,” she said. “We didn’t execute the way I that would like them execute.”
WSU had 13 turnovers, which is seven less than the average from last season. The Wildcats also forced 24 turnovers for the Grizzlies, getting 26 points as a result.
“We just got to take it one at a time,” Ord said. “We have a lot of work to do, so we’re just going to get back at it before our game next week.”
The season will open for the Wildcats next Friday at 3 p.m. in the Dee Events Center, as they host Walla Walla University. The Wildcats are looking to break what is currently the longest losing streak in any division in the NCAA for women’s basketball at 48 in a row, just 10 shy of the Division I record.
Friday’s game will present a great opportunity to break that streak, as the NAIA team has lost all four games played this season.
The main issue for the Wildcats last year was youth and injuries, but with 10 returning players, including a healthy Laura Palmere and Hughes, things may start to turn around for this team.