Coming off of the largest margin of victory in school history, the Weber State University women’s basketball team looked to string together back-to-back wins with a win over the University of Montana Western on Monday. The Wildcats won the game easily, running away with a 77–57 victory.
The win gave WSU its first back-to-back wins since the 2010-11 season. It is also the first two-game winning streak under head coach Bethann Ord.
“This is a good team,” Ord said. “This Montana Western team is going to do very well in their league. We are getting better. We still have some work to do this week before we head on the road.”
The Wildcats scored the first bucket of the game on a steal from sophomore Regina Okoye, but the Bulldogs scored a 3-pointer early on. It was the first time WSU trailed this season.
The Wildcats pulled ahead four minutes into the game, going on a 7-0 run to take a quick six-point lead.
Points were harder to come by for the Wildcats compared to the previous game, as the Bulldogs played lockdown defense and played strong in the post.
The Wildcats continued their burglary, causing multiple turnovers and converting them into easy scoring opportunities. Midway through the quarter, WSU had built a double-digit lead.
The Wildcats led by 14 with eight minutes left in the quarter, but the Bulldogs would not be deterred, going on a run of their own to cut the lead down to nine.
WSU began to run away after that, going on a 15-0 run and pushing its lead to 24. The Wildcats finished the half with a 42-21 lead.
The Wildcats had two players in double figures in the first half. Sophomore Jalen Carpenter had 10 points and four rebounds in the first half. Senior Amanda Hughes had 10 points for the Wildcats in just her second game back from a season-ending injury last season.
“It’s great getting back on the court and playing with my teammates,” Hughes said. “Obviously, I missed it. Going through the struggle of our games last year, it’s a great feeling to have.”
Okoye added nine points and six assists, and had five of WSU’s 11 steals in the first half.
“I kind of read the defense, and I try to help as much as possible,” Okoye said. “I kind of play the passing lanes. It kind of hurts sometimes, but that’s how I get most of my steals.”
The Bulldogs were led by senior Sammi Bignell, who had seven points and two rebounds. Junior Kelsey Callaghan added six points and three rebounds for UMW.
The teams played evenly in the early going of the second half, keeping the game to within 20 points. After the Wildcats pushed the lead back up to 24, the Bulldogs went on a 12-1 run, including hitting back-to-back 3-pointers.
“We lost our intensity for a while on defense, and we stopped scoring,” Okoye said. “Our intensity dropped. We lost that energy, that spark that we had. Coach talked to us and we got it back and we found it inside of us to finish the game. We need to finish games.”
Late in the second half, both teams were in foul trouble. Both were able to hit their free throws, keeping the game close.
After having their lead cut down to 12, the Wildcats quickly went on a 10-0 run, icing the game at 77-57.
Hughes finished with a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds. Carpenter added 16 points and seven rebounds.
“A healthy Amanda is a good Amanda,” Ord said. “She’s doing terrific.”
As for Okoye, she finished with 15 points, eight assists, three blocks and nine steals.
“I think the game went really well for the most part,” Okoye said. “We all worked together as one. On defense, we all were there for each other. We all helped each other as much as possible. Offensively, we weren’t greedy with the ball. We made the extra pass. We did well.”
The Wildcats will now travel to New Jersey to face Seton Hall University on Friday. They will then travel to New York to face the United States Military Academy on Sunday.
“We are playing a Big East team, Seton Hall,” Ord said. “They are very good, very athletic. We are just worried about one game at a time. I’m really excited for a good test. We are going to go there and play our hearts out.”