The Weber State University women’s basketball team fought, clawed and tried everything it could to beat the Idaho State University Bengals on Monday. But a bank shot from Rebecca Schrimpsher with just more than three seconds left in the game gave ISU the lead.
A 3-pointer at the buzzer from Kalie Matthews couldn’t find the net, and the Bengals escaped with the 60-58 victory. The loss brought the Wildcats’ record to 0-6 in Big Sky Conference play, with their record being 4-11 overall.
“We had an opportunity at the end of the game, but weren’t able to get the stop that we needed,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord. “We played a good game, got the rebounds and caused turnovers. One or two more missed shots from them and we (would) get the win.”
The Wildcats were led by Regina Okoye, who had 17 points, many of them coming late in the second half when the Wildcats battled back into the game. Desiree Ramos once again balanced out the attack with 11 points and five assists. She and Okoye were the only two who scored in double figures for WSU.
The team out-rebounded the Bengals 38-36 in a team effort, as no player had more than seven rebounds.
“I thought it was an intense game,” Okoye said. “We were able to play as a team, which made it even more fun. I knew that they were a good team, but I knew that we could take them.”
The Wildcats once again started strong on the road, something they have done since conference play began. Behind six consecutive points, they took the lead early on in the first half, 11-6. Ramos, the Wildcats’ leading scorer, extended the lead when she was made two free throws and gave them a 19-9 lead.
The Bengals clawed themselves back into the game with the play of Lindsey Reed, who finished with a game-high 22 points. At halftime, the Wildcats still held the advantage, 29-24, after the Bengals finished the half on a 10-5 run.
Ord said she was pleased with the team after another solid first-half effort in a hostile environment.
“We did a good job of pushing the ball, running our offense,” Ord said. “The girls moved well off the ball and finishing the open shots that we had.”
Just as Reed kept the Bengals in the game right before halftime, the best was yet to come from both teams in the final minutes of the game. With the Wildcats holding a lead for a majority of the second half, the Bengals started their comeback efforts with just more than five minutes left.
Reed led that comeback, but Okoye had the answer just when it seemed the game was slipping away. With six straight points from Okoye, WSU pulled within one point. That was followed by a 4-0 run to tie the game in the final minute.
With the clock running down, it seemed as if the Wildcats were going to have the last chance to win the game. But a bank shot from Schrimpsher with 3.2 seconds left in the game sent the crowd into a frenzy. The Wildcats had one more chance, but the deep three was off the mark, and the Bengals escaped by a hair.
The Wildcats will continue on their four-game road trip as they turn their attention to the University of Montana. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.