After earning a first-round bye in the Big Sky Conference Tournament, the Wildcats were set to face Idaho State in the quarterfinals.

After leading nearly the entire game, WSU gave up what was a 25-point lead in the third quarter, which let the No. 5 seed Idaho State upset the Wildcats 113­–109 in overtime.

“It was definitely a tale of two halves,” head coach Bethann Ord said. “We came out screaming and played a terrific first half, but as we know, it’s a four quarter game.”

Despite the loss in Reno, the Wildcats have been given another chance to prolong their season.

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On March 12, the Weber State University women’s basketball team (12–6 Big Sky, 20–10 overall) received an invitation to participate in the Women’s Basketball Invitational. The WBI features 16 teams, selected by their regular season records, who represent 15 different conferences.

The Wildcats will now head to Houston, Texas, where they will take on Texas Southern University.

“I am so excited to have another opportunity with these girls,” Ord said. “They have worked so hard and have been so positive all season. That loss in the Big Sky was so hard, but this extra opportunity is just so awesome for this program.”

The Tigers had a 13–5 record in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and a 19­–12 overall record. The No. 2 seed in the SWAC defeated No. 7 seed Alabama State 70–42 in the quarterfinals, but went on to lose to No. 3 seed Grambling State 59–66 in the semifinals.

The only other team in the WBI that the Wildcats played this season was Fresno State, who defeated Weber State 81–78 on Dec. 20. The Wildcats and Bulldogs could potentially meet in the semifinals.

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“The next few days are all about practice and preparation,” Ord said. “I am lucky to have an amazing staff who jump right on it. I focus on our team, one coach will focus on the team we are playing and the other two focus forward.”

The Wildcats had the opportunity to play in the WBI during the 2015–16 season after earning a 11–7 conference record and 20–11 overall.

Weber State defeated New Mexico and North Dakota on the road, USC Upstate in Ogden and went on to lose to Louisiana-Lafayette in double overtime in the championship.

“Being able to play in the WBI again is awesome,” senior Kailie Quinn said, one of four current Wildcats to have played in the WBI. “Waiting to hear about the tournament was nerve-wracking; knowing whether or not we were going to get in. I am thankful our season isn’t over yet.”

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From left to right, junior Emily Drake, senior Briana Gray, junipr Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman, senior Lrryn Brooks, and senior Kailie Quinn strategize during the game against Idaho State on Wednesday. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)

Lead-scorer Larryn Brooks, who was not on the team during the 2015–16 season, is anxious to see a post-season opportunity and continue her college basketball career with Weber State.

“Nobody wants this season to end,” Brooks said. “I think this post-season opportunity is so great for this program, especially the young ones on this team. This is especially exhilarating for us seniors to keep our dreams alive and we have the fire to do so.”

The Wildcats head into these finals games with their team motto in mind: Relentless, Selflessness and Passion.

“Relentless is never giving up no matter the circumstance and pushing through it all,” Quinn said. “Selfless is being able to make that extra pass and know you are playing for a team and not just yourself. Being passionate is playing like you love the game and every game is your last. These three words represent our play, our team and our season, especially as we head into this tournament.”

Weber State will take Texas Southern at 6 p.m. on March 15. For live streaming information check womensbasketballinvitational.com on the day of the game.

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Head Coach Bethann Ord gives a pep-talk to the Wildcat team during a timeout in the quarterfinal game against Idaho State. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)
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