As the Weber State University women’s basketball team returned home on Jan. 19, they hosted the University of North Dakota in the most important home game of the Big Sky Conference thus far this season.
The Wildcats started the game with a 2–3 record and were ranked seventh in the Big Sky standings. The UND Fighting Hawks came into the game with a 5–1 conference record and were ranked No. 2 in the Big Sky Conference.
The game started slowly in the first quarter for the Wildcats as the Fighting Hawks put up 21 points over Weber State’s 11.
The Wildcats only shot 21.4 percent in the first half against North Dakota’s 52.9 percent.
The second quarter picked up for the Wildcats but not enough to take the lead from North Dakota as they faced a nine-point deficit.
“We put ourselves in a hole the first half,” head coach Bethann Ord said. “We didn’t have a sense of urgency.”
The Wildcats began to pick up the slack in the second half, adding 15 points in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to three points heading into the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats rallied back in the fourth quarter to gain their first lead of the game with under three minutes remaining.
“We made a comeback, which was nice,” junior Kailie Quinn said. “I feel like if we would have played as well as we did in the second half, it would have been a better game.”
North Dakota put up seven points in the three minutes remaining to take back the lead 69–63.
Despite the ’Cat’s comeback, it wasn’t enough to fend off the Fighting Hawks, who won the night 65–70.
“Quinn came in and gave us a spark in the second half,” Ord said.
Quinn was the top scorer for the Wildcats, putting up 16 points and three steals.
Freshman Zharia Hale grabbed nine rebounds for the Wildcats in the 26 minutes she spent on the court.
Sophomore J’aiamoni Welch-Coleman said the team should have played the entire game like they played in the fourth.
One of the biggest struggles the Wildcats faced was being out-rebounded 46–34.
“Rebounding is what we had to pick up on,” said Coleman.
Coleman shot 3–3 from the free throw line and had four assists on the night.
The Wildcats shot 32.8 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from the 3-point line and 84 percent from the free throw line.
Although the Wildcats came close to beating the No. 2-ranked team in the Big Sky Conference, they hope to bounce back into the winning column as they further conference play.