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After one of the most impressive starts to the season in recent history, the Weber State University women’s basketball team took to the road as it opened Big Sky Conference play. The Wildcats were still in search of their first road win of the season as they headed to the Northwest to face the Eagles of Eastern Washington University.
In a game that included four lead changes and was tied seven times, the Wildcats just didn’t have enough down the stretch to get the win. The Eagles used a strong second half to win 78-67. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 4-6 overall, 0-1 in Big Sky Conference play.
In the losing effort, Desiree Ramos led the charge. She poured in 20 points on 6-14 shooting while also hitting three 3-pointers. The Wildcat bench outscored the Eagles 31-12, spearheaded by Amanda Hughes, who gave the team a great effort with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Overall, the Wildcats ended the game with a higher shooting percentage than the Eagles with 45 percent to their 42 percent, and a 3-point shooting percentage of 58 to their 42 percent.
After leading for a majority of the first half, the Wildcat offense was in full swing. Coach Bethann Ord said she was pleased with how her team executed and made the extra pass to find the open shots.
“We were finding the open shots in the first half,” Ord said. “With the way that we passed the ball and worked together as a team, we gave ourselves a chance to be in the game. But we only played good basketball for 30 minutes. You have to play a full 40 minutes if you are going to win.”
The Wildcats entered halftime leading by the score of 37-33, but the score could have been more if the Eagles had not ended on a 8-0 run that gave them momentum to start the second half. WSU led by as much as 12 late in the first half.
Both teams came to battle in the second half, but the Eagles had just enough in the last 10 minutes to pull away from the Wildcats. Their physicality on the offensive and defensive boards was something the Wildcats struggled to adjust to.
Hayley Hodgins paced the Eagles, leading all scorers with 22 points, with 17 of those coming in the second half. Lexie Nelson also chipped in 21 points, while Laura Hughes added 17.
Ord said she liked some things she saw from her team in the first night of Big Sky play. But she also said the team has to work on some things if it is going to beat the better teams in the Big Sky.
“We learned once again that we have to do the little things, like boxing out and not giving the other team second opportunities,” Ord said. “They are a good shooting team and have a good inside presence, but it’s hard when the other team has three players scoring in double figures.”
Leading Wildcat scorer Ramos, who came into the game averaging 14.1 points per game, had another solid game. As the floor general, she said she also feels the team needs to improve on some things, but that it is moving in the right direction.
“Our execution wasn’t there when we needed it to be, but I felt that we played a good first half,” Ramos said. “We just need to continue to play hard and not give the other team more opportunities to beat us.”
The Wildcats will host the Bears of the University of Northern Colorado on Thursday for their Big Sky home opener. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m.
The Wildcats also played a game on Saturday. That game will be covered in the Wednesday edition of The Signpost and on www.wsusignpost.com.