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Guard Deeshyra Thomas brings the ball down the court Dec. 9 against Cal State Northridge. The women’s basketball team starts out their new year with a win against Idaho State University. (Abby Van Ess / The Signpost)

In their first game of 2017, the Weber State University women’s basketball team improved their record to 2–1 Big Sky Conference record with a win over Idaho State University. They also advanced to 8–6 overall.

The Jan. 7 matchup between the Wildcats and the Bengals was the third conference game for both teams. The Bengals entered Saturday’s game 2–0 in Big Sky conference play and 8–5 overall. The Wildcats were 1–1 in Big Sky conference play and 7–6 overall.

The Wildcats struggled to develop on offense in the first and second quarters, resulting in a 13–3 Bengal run. Weber did not score for the first four minutes of the second quarter, but once they dropped into a rhythm, they remained consistent.

The Bengals topped the Wildcats in the shooting battle in the first half, shooting 40 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range. The Wildcats shot 30 percent from the field and were 0–6 from 3-point range.

Weber State head coach Bethann Ord said that rebounds made a huge difference in this game.

“In the first half, we let their physicality determine how we play,” Ord said. “In the second half, we made the adjustment of not letting their physicality hurt us and we attacked.”

Fighting their way back into the game, the Wildcats took their first lead of the game early in the third quarter, 34–32, and led for the remainder of the game.

Weber State improved their shooting percentage to 50 percent for the third quarter and dropped a pair of 3-pointers to end their shooting drought. With 19 points, the third quarter was the highest scoring for the Wildcats.

Junior forward Jocelyn Adams was the lead scorer for the Wildcats with a career-high 21 points.

“Jocelyn was one consistent person that we had today,” Ord said. “She took her time, she finished and she scored.”

Adams said teamwork made it possible for her to have such a stellar game.

The fourth quarter was where the tide turned for the Wildcats, according to Ord. The WSU defense held Idaho State to just four points in the fourth quarter while scoring 10 of their own.

“We all came in at halftime, and we sat down and thought to ourselves that if we wanted to win this game, defense was going to be the game changer,” Adams said.

Ord said that defense and rebounding were both areas that the Wildcats struggled in during the first half, but after correcting a few key mistakes, it made all the difference in the second half.

“Holding them to four points in the fourth quarter was terrific,” Ord said. “The difference was that we were coming up with the loose balls instead of them.”

Ord said this game will give the team some much-needed momentum as they prepare for a pair of tough conference games on the road next over the next two weeks.

The Wildcats play their next game against the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, and their next home game will be against the University of North Dakota on Jan. 19 at the Dee Events Center.

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