Looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season on Saturday, the Weber State women’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a dominating second-half performance from Cal State Fullerton, as the Wildcats lost their second game of the year 70-68.
“I know we didn’t get the ‘W,’ but we had the opportunities and one thing that we were doing finally was we finished,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord. “I’m so proud of my team and they battled to the end. They didn’t falter; they didn’t put their heads down.”
The game fell apart for the Wildcats in the second half, as they saw a 12-point lead disappear 10 minutes into the half. Titans senior guard Chante Miles led Fullerton to the come-from-behind victory with a career-high 35 points, scoring 23 points in the second half by shooting 7-for-11 from the field and 4-for-6 from three-point range. After losing the lead the Wildcats were able to keep the game close—trailing by five points at most—and with just over a minute left in the game junior Regina Okoye made a layup to tie the game at 68-68. Miles hit the game-winning shot with 18 seconds left to put the Titans up 70-68, and following a missed layup and failed tip-in by the Wildcats, the buzzer sounded to give WSU their second loss of the season.
“It was intense. It went back-and-forth a lot, but it was a good game,” said freshman guard Kailie Quinn. “It was a game that we looked forward to playing, but we just got to execute better.”
Quinn was 4-for-12 from the field in the loss—all four baskets coming from three-point range—as she finished the night with 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Junior Jalen Carpenter led the Wildcats in scoring with 17 points, as she also pulled down four rebounds and made three blocks and a steal. Carpenter took the last shot of the night for the Wildcats, and she dropped to the floor in agony after the failed tip-in attempt just missed sending the game into overtime.
“That always is the toughest thing when it gets down to it. You’re the one that takes that shot, but it could have been anyone else. Unfortunately for her, she put all the weight on her shoulders because she missed it,” Ord said. “It’s just hard when that happens to you. She was upset and I just put my arms around her and told her how proud I am of her and I asked her to do some things tonight and she did those things. She did a terrific job.”
Okoye scored 15 points for Weber State—her fourth game of the year with double-digit points—and also recorded at least four steals for the fourth time this season. She also led the Wildcat starters with seven rebounds. Freshman Jocelyn Adams appeared in her second game of the season, coming off the bench to score her first career points to tie the game at 63-63 with just over five minutes left in the game.
“It felt good to get the shot off and let it go in,” Adams said. “But I knew that that shot was just as important as any of the other shots my teammates made and I just had to get back (on defense) and make sure we kept going and pushed forward.”
Adams finished the night shooting 1-for-4 from the field, while pulling down a team-high eight rebounds and was second on the squad with three steals.
“I just wanted to go in there and work hard for my teammates,” Adams said. “I knew that we were kind of flatlining a little bit on defense, so I knew that if I couldn’t score on the offensive side, whatever I could do on defense I was gonna try and do that by getting rebounds and helping out my teammates.”
Even with the loss, Ord said that she was proud of how the team performed.
“I am so proud of this team because they really battled to the end,” Ord said. “We had some of the young freshmen step it up, Jocelyn coming in, getting some good minutes. Her minutes that she did it was terrific. She had some key plays.”
The Wildcats (3-2) head on the road over Thanksgiving break, as they travel to compete in the New Mexico State Tournament. The Wildcats will first face New Mexico State (0-3) on Friday at 1 p.m., before playing Eastern Michigan (1-2) on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Wildcats’ next home game is on Dec. 6 when they host San Diego (3-0) at 2 p.m. Last season at San Diego, the Wildcats lost to the Toreros 75-55.