The Weber State University women’s basketball team fell short in a high-scoring affair to the Hornets of California State University, Sacramento on Saturday afternoon by a score of 111-104.
Kalie Matthews led the Wildcats with 22 points, shooting a perfect 9-for-9 from the field, and also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds. Leading the way for the Hornets was Gigi Hascheff with a game-high 27 points, shooting 9 of 18 from the field.
The Hornets dictated the pace early with a 14-2 run in the first three minutes of play. In the run for CSUS, all four of the Hornets’ made field goals were 3-pointers, as the other two points came from the free-throw line. The Hornets’ high-paced offense and trap defense seemed to catch the Wildcats off guard.
“We knew what we were getting ourselves into,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord. “But we just had one day to prepare with these guys.”
WSU was coming off a loss at home Thursday against Northern Arizona University.
The Wildcats were able to crack the code and get right back in the game with a 17-4 run over four minutes to take their first lead of the game at 19-18. They broke the full-court press and found some easy buckets once they crossed the timeline.
“The way they play defense just leaves the paint wide open,” Matthews said. “I think it’s really fun, because you can take advantage of how small they are compared to our bigs inside.”
The game was back and forth for the rest of the half, at a much higher pace than WSU is accustomed to. Going into the locker room, the Wildcats led by one with a high score of 57-56.
In the second half, the high pace of the game began to wear down the Wildcats. The unfortunate combination of 16 turnovers and WSU giving up six offensive rebounds allowed the Hornets to retake the lead and never look back.
“We out-rebounded them, we had great percentages, but they’re going to shoot 48 3-pointers? You can’t let that happen,” Ord said. “The crucial part was there were some loose balls, there were some missed bunnies, little layups, and there were, unfortunately, little things like that.”
The Wildcats turned the ball over 28 times in the game, including 16 times in the second half, while the Hornets only had 10 the entire game.
WSU fought hard to stay in the contest, but it was not enough to get the win in the end. The loss now puts the Wildcats at 0-10 in conference play.
Despite falling short and their last-place standing, the Wildcats are keeping their heads up and will continue their hunt for their first conference win in almost three years.
“I haven’t given up on believing that I know we’re going to win, and I know it’s coming,” Matthews said. “It’s just a matter of time.”
The Wildcats will try to make that time come next week as they head on the road to take on the University of North Dakota and the University of Northern Colorado.