Records are meant to be broken — or finished, in the case of the Weber State University women’s basketball team, as the Wildcats finally got the monkey off their backs. After losing 51 straight Big Sky games, a streak that went back to 2011, the Wildcats played an inspiring half of basketball against Idaho State University on Monday.
That inspired basketball resulted in them pulling away in the second half against ISU, winning 84-71. The win improved WSU’s conference record to 1-13 and 5-18 overall.
“The second half of this game was the team I have been talking about,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord said, “just knowing that they were going to come out and finally got that win at home. It is up to them; it’s not the other team who wins the game. We made the best of our opportunities.”
Sophomore Regina Okoye was one of four Wildcats in double figures. She had a team-high 16 points. But the player of the game may have been her back-court partner, Desiree Ramos.
Ramos scored 15 points, nearly half of them coming from the free-throw line. She shot 7-7, but didn’t stop there. She added six assists and eight steals. Many of those steals helped the Wildcats get out in the break and score easy baskets.
“It feels really good to know that all of our work finally started to pay off,” Okoye said. “It took longer than we expected. It was a team thing; we all know that we are better than we have been playing. We stayed aggressive, and we usually get it done when we play like that.”
Okoye continued to do most of her damage on the defensive end. She leads the Big Sky in steals for the second year in a row.
“It just happens — I just read the defense and just go with that,” Okoye said. “Sometimes I make mistakes, but try to make up for it.”
After falling behind by at five at halftime, the Wildcats came out in the second half having made some adjustments that proved to be the difference. Ord decided to add more defensive pressure, hoping to force the Bengals into mistakes.
“I was ecstatic with how the girls came out in the second half,” Ord said. “Offensively and defensively, we were really good when we needed them to be. It was a great team effort. Jalen (Carpenter) was a beast down there, and what a game by Dez. I am just so proud of them, but we still have work to do.”
That led to a 22-4 run for the Wildcats that lasted nearly 10 minutes. The Bengals were scoreless for five minutes. A combination of open shots and stingy defense ensured the Bengals were not going to get back into the game. The Wildcats’ bench played a huge part in the run and the victory, outscoring the Bengals 25-14.
The Wildcats will return to action this Saturday to host Montana State University at the Dee Events Center. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.