Sophomore Yarden Danan scored 11 points against Montana State University. (Source: Weber State Athletics)

While most students spent winter break relaxing and preparing for the upcoming semester, the Weber State University women’s basketball team spent their break hard at work, including adding a new member to the Wildcat family.

The first game for the team over the break was on Dec. 19 against Fresno State in the final matchup before conference play started. With over 3,000 screaming elementary schoolers in attendance, the ‘Cats fell in a nail biter, 60‐57.

Despite two Wildcats scoring in double figures, the team, as a whole, struggled shooting the ball. In the end, the team shot 32.3 percent from the field including 26.1 percent from behind the 3-point line.

After the loss, the team had a 10 day break before gearing up for the beginning of Big Sky conference play.

Over their break, the team welcomed a new player to the fold, freshman Paulina Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a guard from Chihuahua, Mexico and has already begun working her way into the rotation.

“She has a natural ability to score the ball and can shoot from just about anywhere on the court,” assistant coach Matt Thune said.

The first game of conference play was Dec. 29, when Weber State took on Montana State University. The matchup with the Bobcats was significantly more lopsided as the Wildcats fell 83-68.

With conference play underway, the team faces a new challenge. When it comes to in-conference games, the players and coaches know the tendencies of their counterparts.

Going into the fourth quarter, Weber State was only trailing 56-54. However, the team failed to develop any positive momentum in the fourth quarter. Three Wildcats scored in double figures for the game, with sophomore Emily Drake leading the charge.

Drake scored 23 points off 22 shots. Drake was followed on the score sheet by senior Deeshyra Thomas with 19 points and sophomore Yarden Danan with 11 points of her own.

Rodriguez came off the bench to play five minutes in her first game on the roster, scoring two points and corralling one defensive rebound.

It was only two days later that the Wildcats played again, this time against the University of Montana Grizzlies.

Against Montana, the Wildcats won 74-58, collecting their first conference win of the season. Junior Kailie Quinn led the team with 19 points with Danan and Thomas scoring 12 apiece.

Junior Jocelyn Adams also led the team in rebounds, collecting 12 total boards. Drake also set a new career high for assists in the game by dishing out 12 dimes.

The game was also the first time since this season’s matchup with Westminster College that no single Wildcat played 30 or more minutes in the game.

“We learned from those games and will continue to build in practice,” Thune said. “I think our kids feel that they have something to prove, and their desire to win will be fun to watch.”

Following the game on Jan. 7 against Idaho State University, there will not be another women’s home game in Ogden until Jan. 19, when the Wildcats play the University of North Dakota.

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