For the first time since December 2011, the Weber State University women’s basketball team has a number in the win column. The Wildcats broke their 48-game losing streak Friday in thunderous fashion, defeating Walla Walla University 107-25.
The 82-point margin of victory set a new record for the largest margin of victory in school history. The previous record was a 57-point win over Southern Utah University in 1982. For the sophomores on the team, it was their first collegiate win.
“It feels good,” said sophomore Jalen Carpenter, a member of the team that went 0-29 last season. “We still have a lot of things to work on, but it feels good. We are just going to keep moving as a team. I’m just really happy for us to grow.”
The Wildcats started out strong, getting four turnovers in the first two minutes from the Wolves. WSU ended the game with 33 turnovers.
“We just want to establish that we are a team that is a defensive team,” Carpenter said, “one that can pressure a team and make them turn over. I think that when we have more games, we are going to get better at that and let teams know that we are defensive-minded.”
The Wildcats got on the board first and never trailed in the game. The stat books seemed to be reversed from the previous season. The Wildcats shot 60 percent from the field in the game, while the Wolves shot just 19 percent. The Wildcats dominated every stat in the game.
“I think we did a great job of moving the basketball,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord. “Des Ramos, who came off the bench, had nine assists. That’s huge for Des, and she knows that. She is a great shooter and can get points pretty quickly. But for her, her biggest thing is assists.”
The Wildcats went on multiple unanswered runs of 22, 20, 21 and 13. Many of those runs were fueled by turnovers. The Wildcats had 48 points off of those 33 turnovers. They also had 28 fast-break points.
The Wildcats were led by St. John’s University transfer Zakkiyah Shahid-Martin, who had 17 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Deeshyra Thomas also had 17 points and six assists. Carpenter had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Wildcats had five players in double figures.
“As long as we are winning, I could care less about being the leading scorer,” Shahid-Martin said. “My teammates got me involved; I got them involved. Leading scorer is nothing to me. I’m just going to keep doing what it takes to win.”
After the game, Ord praised Shahid-Martin for her play and the leadership she brings with her from her experience at St. John’s, where she played in two Sweet 16 games.
“Zakkiyah is a very strong post player,” Ord said. “Her leadership will help this team. She played in a Sweet 16 game when she played at St. John’s. Having a Big East player come to Weber State, it’s going to bring your team up.”
After the game, there was no lavish celebration, just focus on the next game, and there was no mention of having broken the team’s losing streak.
“We don’t dwell on the past,” Ord said. “We always focus forward. We haven’t talked about (the streak). I feel like we got to get back to work. We’ve got a lot of work to do. As much as you want to try and enjoy it, it’s the first game of the season, and we’ve got a long way to go.”
The 107-point output by the Wildcats was the third-most in school history, and it was the most points scored since 1979. It was also the first time since 1983 that WSU has scored more than 100 points. The 107 points is tied for the second-most in Big Sky Conference history.
The Wildcats look to get a winning streak going as they play the University of Montana Western on Monday night. The game will be at 5 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.