The Wildcats looked to break their three-game losing streak on Jan. 21 as they took on the conference-leading University of Northern Colorado.
The Bears came into the matchup 15–3 on the season, undefeated thus far in conference play, while Weber State University sat at the middle of the pack with an 8–9 record.
In the matchup on Weber State’s home court, it was the Bears who came away victorious with a final score of 88–79. Before the game tipped off, the Wildcats were at a disadvantage as senior Deeshyra Thomas was ruled out with the flu.
The first basket of the game was a 3-pointer for Northern Colorado’s Savannah Smith, who scored 14 of the team’s first 16 points. That basket came only 20 seconds into the game, marking the last time the game was tied.
From then on, the Bears maintained the lead until the final buzzer.
The Bears dominated from that first shot, holding an 11–2 lead over the Wildcats only two minutes into the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Wildcats trailed by 10, and that deficit grew to 15 at the end of the first half.
“We can’t let teams start 24, 26 points in the first quarter and try to come back,” sophomore Yarden Danan said.
Near the end of the first half, the Wildcats made a lineup change that sparked the team on both ends of the court.
Bringing in the freshman duo Payton Whitmore and Paulina Rodriguez stopped the Northern Colorado offense, if only for a few minutes, and gave the team a combined 8 points going into halftime.
With Thomas out and junior Jocelyn Adams playing limited time, the team had to go farther down their bench than in a typical game.
“When we take those hits with people not playing or sick, we’ve got to have those people step up,” sophomore Emily Drake said.
At the break, the scoring leader was Danan, who ended the game second in scoring with 18 points. Those points came off five completed 3-pointers while adding four rebounds and three assists on offense and picking up one steal on defense.
Having an uncharacteristically rough first half was Drake, who scored only three points while missing nine shots. In the second half, she returned, scoring 24 points and collecting six additional rebounds.
Drake ended with a career high 27 points, four steals and 10 rebounds. Her statistical dominance, despite the loss, gave Drake her third career double-double.
The Wildcats outscored the Bears 45–39 in the second half, giving the team a nine-point loss in a game where they faced, at one time, a 22-point deficit.
Now on a four-game losing streak, Weber State will go on a three-game road trip, but the remain confident.
“They don’t give up — none of my teams have ever given up,” head coach Bethann Ord said.
The next home game for the team will be on Feb. 9 against Sacramento State.