In a tightly contested game on Saturday afternoon, the Bengals of Idaho State won in a close matchup against Weber State by a score of 58-57. This was the second matchup of the season between Weber State and Idaho State after a game on Jan. 2 where the Wildcats won in Pocatello.
The game stayed close throughout, the largest lead for Idaho State being nine points for part of the third quarter. The largest Weber State lead was six near the end of the second quarter.
With an attendance of 948, the crowd stayed loud and active all game, cheering on their Wildcats, with a small group that made the trip south cheering on Idaho State.
The Wildcats struggled somewhat from the three-point line, with only 29.2 percent in the form of seven out of 17 3-point shots being made overall by the ‘Cats. The leading scorer for the game was Regina Okoye, who shot 6-11 and scored 17 points. Deeshyra Thomas followed, scoring 13 points off of 5-10 shooting.
Following Okoye and Thomas in scoring was Brittney Dunbar with 10 points, Kailie Quinn with nine points and Dionne Coe, who scored eight points, including a four point play mid-way through the second quarter.
The Wildcats assist leader for the game was Dunbar, who picked up six assists and tied for the team lead in rebounds. The other rebound leader was Okoye, who has now led the team in rebounds for three straight games, six games total.
A key element that helped to keep the Wildcats in the game was a stifling defense that stepped up, forcing 22 turnovers from nine steals and one block from Quinn. Even with this tough defense from the Wildcats, they only fouled the Bengals 14 times, leading to just eight free-throw attempts.
With about one minute left in the game, the Wildcats had a scare when Okoye, the senior guard, dropped to the ground, holding her knee. After a small absence from the game, she checked back in for the last possession and plans to play in the next game.
This loss drops the Wildcats to 12-5 on the season and 4-2 in conference play. With their 12 wins so far this year, Weber has already surpassed last season’s win total of 11.
“I feel like there’s better chemistry as far as the players and relationships within the team,” said Okoye.
Next up is a two-game road trip for the Wildcats. The first game is Jan. 28 against Northern Arizona followed by a game against Southern Utah University on Jan. 30.
The next home game for Weber State is on Feb. 4 against Northern Colorado, who is currently 9-9 on the season.