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The Wildcats came into the match after losing to the Brigham Young University Cougars last Friday, with a final score of 80-55.
Five minutes into the first half of the game against BSU, the score read 8-6 in favor of BSU. The tempo of the game was evenly matched for both sides of the court in the first minutes of the game.
Halfway through the first period, the Wildcats gave up a 9-0 run to BSU over a two-minute period of time and weren’t able to make up the difference in the first half.
At the end of the half, the score read 32-20 in favor of the Broncos. Freshman forward Kalie Matthews was the leading Wildcat, with six points and six rebounds. Senior guard Kia Rhodes also had six points for WSU, and freshman guard Regina Okoye contributed four points and two rebounds. Freshman guard Desiree Ramos had six rebounds and two assists for the Wildcats as well.
Both teams struggled with shooting in the first half. WSU shot only 7-32 from the field for a percentage of 21.9. The Broncos shot 9-33 and had a field goal percentage of 27.3.
As the game continued into the second half of play, the point gap widened for WSU. Ten minutes into the half, the Wildcats were down by 23 points, due to the Broncos going 4-8 in 3-point shooting.
The Wildcats didn’t give up, going on an 8-0 run near the seven-minute marker and playing some solid defense. With five minutes left in the half, the score read 61-48, and WSU had narrowed the previous 23-point lead for BSU to a 13-point lead.
With two minutes left, WSU narrowed the score to 63-54 — only a nine-point scoring difference. Nevertheless, the team’s efforts couldn’t carry it past BSU, as the final score read 70-56.
Noteworthy statistics for WSU include 10 points and four rebounds for Okoye, nine points and 12 rebounds from freshman forward Jalen Carpenter, nine points and 11 rebounds from Kalie Matthews, eight points and four assists from Desiree Ramos, and seven points for sophomore guard Carlee Lough.
“Well, the firsthalf was hard because we saw too many turnovers,” Carpenter said, concerning the game. “But, in the secondhalf, we picked it up, and we worked harder and had fewer turnovers. It was unfortunate for us to lose, but I think we worked hard in the second half.”
WSU Head Coach Bethann Ord commented on a few factors that contributed to the loss for the Wildcats.
“We did what we always do, and we battled,” Ord said. “We do everything. We work hard in practice, and it carries over, but certain things carry over, and you’re not going to win a game missing 25 opportunities. Those turnovers, they just kill you because that’s 25 lost opportunities to score. And these kids can score. We’ll just keep battling and go back to work tomorrow.”
Despite the loss, Ord feels that it may be a very short matter of time before the young roster begins to show its full potential.
“In the secondhalf, we really fought hard,” Ord said. “We outscored them in the secondhalf. . .we just switched some things up on defense and had a little more sense of urgency, and we took care of the ball. We had more opportunities. We did out-rebound them, and that’s a positive. . . and as we play and as these freshmen get a few games under their belts, it’s going to happen soon.”
WSU will now head to Stillwater, Okla., for a big match against Oklahoma State University on Sunday. The game begins at 1 p.m.