The season came to a close for the Weber State University women’s basketball team last Saturday when it fell to the Eastern Washington University Eagles by a score of 68-60.
The lone Wildcat senior, Amanda Hughes, finished her career at WSU with a game-high 21 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Lexie Nelson led EWU with 20 points, shooting 6 of 12 from the field, including a blazing 4 of 7 from downtown.
“We fought hard and just came up short,” Hughes said. “Turnovers kind of cost us, (and) free throws, kind of the usual stuff that we’ve been working on all season.”
While WSU only committed 11 turnovers to EWU’s 12, they came at crucial moments in the game. WSU also shot 61 percent from the free-throw line, including four missed attempts in the last two minutes of the game.
The Wildcats came out cold in the first half, only making two of their first eight shots, while the Eagles shot 7 of 14 to start the game, including an 11-0 run over five minutes of play, resulting in a 10-point deficit, 15-5.
However, the Wildcats are no strangers to playing from behind, and clawed and scratched their way back into the game. WSU scored the next six points and eventually cut the lead to one at 22-23 with less than five minutes to go in the half.
Sophomore guard Regina Okoye and Hughes were both behind WSU’s push, collectively scoring 12 of the next 17 points for the Wildcats.
The Eagles then responded with a 9-2 in an effort to build up their lead back to where it was, and the half ended with the Eagles up by six with a score of 28-34.
Starting the second half, the Eagles quickly went on a 7-2 run, and eventually built to their biggest lead of the game at 14 with a score of 47-33.
WSU once again made a strong push to get back in the game with an 8-2 run. While that wasn’t nearly enough to erase the deficit, the Wildcats continued to grind their way back into the game. They cut the lead down to as little as five, with the score at 57-62 with 4:34 left in the game.
“They always are tough, they always battle. We just need(ed) that break,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord. “You know, we get a foul, and they’re a very good free-throw shooting team.”
The Eagles scored four points in a row at the free-throw line as a result of a combination of a foul and technical foul.
“That one kind of bit us in the butt,” said Hughes of the situation. “We just rallied back . . . and continued to push. That was crucial.”
The foul was on Zakiyyah Shahid-Martin as she was being boxed out on a rebound by Nelson. Nelson fell to the floor as Martin was trying to get her arms untangled. The officials reviewed the play and called the foul. Ord was then called for a technical foul after a brief exchange with the officials.
From there, the Wildcats only scored three points in the last four minutes of play, making two field goals in the last nine minutes of play.
WSU finished the season with a conference record of 3-17 and an overall record of 7-22.