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Since the 1988-89 season, the Big Sky Conference has only had five women’s basketball teams finish the year without a conference win.
The last time this happened was during the 2001-02 season when the Sacramento State Hornets went 0-14 in Big Sky Conference play. Last week, the Weber State women’s basketball team moved closer to becoming the sixth team in Big Sky history without a conference win, as it lost two games to the University of Montana Grizzlies and the Idaho State University Bengals.
Thursday night the struggling Wildcats faced off against the fourth-place Grizzlies in search of their first Big Sky Conference win of the year. UM got off to a quick start, jumping out to an eight-point lead just five minutes into the game.
The Wildcats battled back though, going on an 11-point run while holding the Grizzlies scoreless for almost five minutes. As good as the team looked, WSU faltered, allowing UM to take an 11-point lead heading into halftime.
Coming back from halftime, WSU struggled to make a basket, as it only made three of its first 14 shots in the half.
However, with just over seven minutes left in the half, the Wildcats went on another run, making four of nine shots while the Grizzlies were held to just one out of eight shots. Despite outscoring UM during the second half, WSU could not overcome the lead from halftime, and the Wildcats lost again 62-52.
WSU struggled offensively against the Grizzlies. Junior guard Megan Patterson and senior guard Caela Mohre were the only two players to make half of their shots. They both led the team in scoring with 11 points.
Junior forward Amanda Hughes led the team with six rebounds and contributed eight points while making five of six free throws.
Along with the team’s offensive woes, WSU also had to deal with injuries. Because of this, the Wildcats had three players who played for at least 35 minutes of the 40 minute game.
Mohre plaid every minute of the game. After the game, Head Coach Bethann Ord gave Mohre credit for her performance in the game, saying, “Caela did a great job defensively. She really worked hard and didn’t get a break.”
Ord said that it has been difficult for her to rest her starters. She also said that she has essentially only had half of her team in practice because she has to hold players out to rest.Despite that, she remains positive.
“As long as the team sticks together, it’ll be OK,” Ord said.
Mohre also spoke about the team’s injuries, saying that they have put a damper on the team’s outcome for the season.
“We have six solid players right now,” Mohre said. “So we gotta play with what we have.”
The Wildcats traveled to Pocatello, Idaho, on Saturday to match up against the ISU Bengals. WSU scored the first points of the game off of a 3-pointer from Patterson but were only able to score two more points over the next 12 minutes.
Over the final five minutes of the half, WSU chipped away at ISU’s lead but was unable to get within 10 points of ISU. Going into halftime, the Bengals led 31-18.
With the start of the second half, ISU continued to maintain a double-digit lead. Five minutes in, WSU managed to get within eight points after sophomore guard Jordan Pfau hit two free throws, but ISU went on another run that put the Wildcats in a 17-point hole.
WSU managed to get within eight points of ISU twice more. but were unable to get any closer. WSU lost its 17th consecutive game, 65-53.
Hughes fell just short of her ninth double-double of the season, scoring six points while making 10 rebounds.
Hughes said said that the team just needs to go hard in practice and make sure that everyone is prepared for the final two games.
The Wildcats next game will be Saturday afternoon, when they host the University of Northern Colorado Bears in what will be WSU’s second to last game of the season.
The following week, WSU will host the Montana State University Bobcats. Despite the rough season and mounting injuries, Mohre remained positive when looking toward the final two games of the season.
“I definitely think we can win against both of these teams in the next games,” Mohre said. “We just have to execute. If we can do the little things, we’ll be successful.”