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As the Weber State University women’s basketball team continued on its four-game road trip, it received an inspired effort from the only senior on the roster. Amanda Hughes played one of her best games of the year with a score of 25 points in one game Thursday night.
But that wasn’t enough to overcome an early first-half deficit against Big Sky-leading Montana State University. The Wildcats lost 87-71, dropping their record to 4-12, 0-7 in conference play.
“We did some really good things, but you can’t give a team like that too many opportunities,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord. “Give MSU tons of credit. They are rolling pretty hard right now. But when you give them 20 points off turnovers in the first half, that is tough to overcome.”
But even with some strugles, Ord said she was proud of the way the team never gave up, especially Hughes. Since conference play has begun, Hughes has been a reliable option for the Wildcats on the offensive end of the court, while giving a huge effort and energy on the defensive side.
“I just think that I got my rhythm back and felt confident in my shot again,” Hughes said. “This was a great confidence-booster, not only for me, but I think for the whole team.”
Her 25 points was the second-most points scored by a Wildcat player this year; Desiree Ramos had 34 against Utah Valley University. Hughes shot 5-7 from the 3-point line and was perfect from the free-throw line, making all six attempts.
“Amanda did great; she was able to make all of her free throws,” Ord said. “That is something that she has been working on. She also hit some big threes and just battled all night.”
Another player who had a big game was Kalie Matthews. She came up one point short from a double-double. With those nine points, she added a season-high 13 rebounds, with seven of those coming on the offensive glass.
Regina Okoye also shot the ball well, connecting on 7-9 from the field, giving her 14 points. Ramos once again scored double digits with 10 points, and she continues to lead the team in scoring by averaging 12.9 points a game.
The first half was a battle in the trenches as both teams tried to work their offense from the inside out. The Wildcats were able to keep the game close until the Bobcats found their touch from the outside. They shot a 77.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half.
The Bobcats were able to extend their lead to 19 with less than two minutes left in the half, but the Wildcats continued to battle and went into halftime only down by nine points.
Like they have done for most of the season, the Wildcats battled back in the second half but just struggled to put together that final run that would have put them in a better position to win the game.
“I am proud of this team,” Ord said. “We had players step up and take some physical charges tonight. The team is staying together as one. It is no fun when you keeping coming up short.”
The Wildcats will return home to face the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona University on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.
The Wildcats also had a game on Saturday against the University of Montana. That game will be covered in the Wednesday edition of The Signpost and on www.wsusignpost.com.