After taking an extra day off for its first round bye, the Weber State University women’s basketball team’s run for the Big Sky Conference title began, and ended, on March 7 against, Idaho State University.
The Bengals pulled out the win 113–109 over the Wildcats in overtime. The loss is not only the end of the season, but the Weber State careers of seniors Kailie Quinn, Jocelyn Adams, Briana Gray and Larryn Brooks — unless they are selected to participate in a postseason tournament.
The Wildcats came out hungry, and they wasted no time before feasting. Weber State made their first three 3-pointers of the game and five of their first six shots overall. The first quarter was all about the juniors for WSU as Emily Drake had 14 points and Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman had six points.
The ’Cats had a 29–19 lead at the first intermission.
Idaho State head coach Seton Sobolewski said, “If you think you’re just going to defend them and slow them down and stop them, I don’t know if it’s going to work out for you.”
With her second 3-pointer of the second quarter, Drake reached 20 points, tying her with Rachelle Gardner for 19th in scoring in WSU history.
The ’Cats kept pushing for the rest of the half as Adams led the team with eight rebounds and Brooks joined the junior-duo as the only players with double digit scoring.
Going into halftime, the ’Cats had a 55–34 lead after an off-balance 3-pointer for Brooks swished through the net before the buzzer rang out.
Head coach Bethann Ord did her best at halftime to motivate her team to not let up. Ord told her team, “They’re not going to stop playing hard and we’ve got to continue to attack.”
Less than three minutes into the third quarter Drake set another milestone, making her sixth 3-pointer and reaching 28 points in the game. The six 3-pointer’s tied her career high and the 28 points set a new career high in scoring, passing her 27 against University of Northern Colorado in January. She ended the game with seven made 3-pointers and 31 points.
The Wildcats upped their lead to 25 early in the third quarter before hitting their first roadblock in the game. This was the first time the Wildcats struggled in the game, going on a three-minute long scoring drought in the period that allowed the Bengals to bring the game back within 20 points.
The team held strong and ended the quarter leading 73–61 with another buzzer beater, this time a layup from Welch-Coleman. Welch-Coleman was in charge for the fourth quarter, every time the Bengals inched closer to the ’Cats, she pushed them back.
With six minutes left in the game the Bengals were trailing 76–82, and Welch-Coleman got up to 29 points. Idaho State took their first lead since the opening possession with 1:34 left in the game off a 3-pointer by sophomore Estefania Ors. ISU led the Wildcats 93–92.
Both teams went back-and-forth in the final seconds, tying the game at 98 apiece with 24 seconds left. The score stayed 98–98 going into overtime.
Drake opened the scoring in the extra period with another 3-pointer, giving the team their first 100-point game since Feb. 24 against Idaho.
Idaho State eventually called a timeout with 24.9 seconds left with the Bengals leading 108–107. After a pair of Bengals free throws, the ’Cats called their final timeout of the game, trailing by three with 21 seconds to go. After back and forth free throws the game ended 113–109 in favor of the Bengals.
Ord said, “It was definitely a tale of two halves, we came out screaming, just playing terrific and had a great first half, but as we know it’s four quarters.”
Welch-Coleman ended the game with a career-high 33 points, the most in the game, and a team-high six assists. Adams finished with the final double-double of her career, she picked up 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Weber State ended the game shooting 52. 8 percent from the field and 76.9 percent from the free throw line.
Drake said, “When things started to turn we needed to come together and I felt like we did a good job of handling their runs a little bit, and then it just came down to the end and we didn’t end up on top.”
With the season coming to a close, the Wildcats now can look forward to next year, and for the graduating seniors, the next steps in their lives.