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Young teams are supposed to fold, to let the bigger, more physical team just dominate them. That was not true of the Weber State University women’s basketball team as it took on the University of North Dakota on Saturday morning at the Dee Events Center. After falling behind early, the Wildcats clawed themselves back into the game before falling 83-72 in a highly contested match-up.
The loss brought the Wildcats’ record to 0-4 in the Big Sky and 4-9 overall. UND improved its record 10-4, 6-0 in the Big Sky.
Coming off a game in which they struggled shooting the ball, the Wildcats found the basket early and often early on Saturday. The Wildcats held an early 8-6 lead before the UND bigs went to work. The Wildcats couldn’t find an answer for Mia Loyd and Madi Buck, as they were able to be patient on the offensive end.
Loyd and Buck were not only scoring, but pulling down important offensive rebounds. The Wildcats’ defense kept in the game, going into halftime down 36-24.
Desiree Ramos came off the bench and gave the Wildcats a spark in the second half. She found her stroke that had been missing for the few games before. The Wildcats brought pressure from the start and pushed the tempo, wearing out the major players of UND.
With the added turnovers, Ramos found more open shots that began to fall. The Wildcats were able to get within four points, then UND attacked the rim and got to the free-throw line. That made the difference, as it was able to hold the Wildcats at bay.
WSU head coach Bethann Ord said she was pleased with the players’ effort in the second half and the mistakes they were able to force. Free throws and shooting are going to be emphasized as the season progresses, but Ord said this game was a step in the right direction.
“When shots aren’t falling, you just have to keep playing defense,” Ord said. “We are an aggressive team, but once we got shots to fall, it changed the aspect of the game, as we were able to outscore them in the second half.”
Ramos led the team in scoring with 21 points, 14 in the second half. She also added seven assists. Jalen Carpenter also came off the bench to add 14 points. The bench scored a total of 38 to UND’s 19. Amanda Hughes had herself another great game on the boards, with nine and six points.
Ramos, who was coming off 2-20 from the past two games, seemed to find her groove in the comeback effort. The Wildcats were in need of a scorer, and Ramos stepped up and performed well under pressure.
“I was a little bit off, but I decided to attack the basket and get some shots falling,” Ramos said. “As I did that, I was able to get the ball to my teammates as well. Our defense was a little bit more aggressive in the second half, but we kept sending them to the line.”
The Wildcats will return to play as they head down south to take on Southern Utah University on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.