March Madness is not yet here, but college basketball is in full swing, which can only mean loud and crazy nights at the Dee Events Center as the Wildcat basketball teams continue their search for more wins and respect.
The Weber State University women’s basketball opened its first Big Sky Conference home stand with a loss to Eastern Washington University on Jan. 2. The team looks to earn its first conference win when the University of North Dakota comes to town on Saturday.
UND is set to bring its unblemished Big Sky record to the Dee Events Center on Saturday. The team is coming off of victories over Southern Utah University and the University of Northern Colorado at home, and a late game on Jan. 2 against Idaho State University.
UND is led by Madi Buck, who will come into the game averaging 17.3 points, while Mia Loyd comes in averaging a double-double with 13.2 points and 10 rebounds. The two may be a tough match-up inside for the Wildcats.
After a grueling early schedule for UND, it seems to have found its groove in the past few games. After falling to the University of Minnesota in early December, UND has won five of its last six games.
The Wildcats will enter the game on a five-game losing streak, three of those having come in the Big Sky Conference. In the first weekend of conference play, they showed improvement on the road, as they led at halftime in both of the games.
Desiree Ramos leads the team in scoring with 13.1 points a game, and Amanda Hughes is right behind her with 12.5 points. Hughes is also second on the team in rebounding behind Jalen Carpenter, who averages 6.7 a game.
Coach Bethann Ord said she is positive the team is heading in the right direction, even after two tough losses in the past week. She said the players are gaining confidence and experience with each game.
“We need to get over the hump, but it’s good to have a good home game,” Ord said. “We need to protect our house and get wins in front of our fans.”
For the players to get wins, Ord said, they need to stop the small mistakes, such as turnovers in key situations and letting the other team out-rebound them.
“We set goals before each game on what we need to work on and improve for the next game,” Ord said. “We make sure that we put an effort into achieving those goals.”
Ramos is coming off one of her best performances of her college career. She scored 20 points against EWU. She carries with her the confidence of her coach that the team is on the brink of doing something special.
“We need to keep playing hard, not allowing as many second-chance opportunities,” Ramos said.
The Wildcats have lost 41 straight conference games, which is the current Big Sky record. Their last win was Feb. 26, 2011 against California State University, Sacramento.
Tipoff for Saturday’s game is set for 2 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.