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The Weber State University women’s basketball team returned to the Dee last week hoping to regain its early-season form that won the Wildcats four of their first six games. The Wildcats were unable to regain that momentum, falling to the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah University on Saturday, 80-64.
The loss brought the Wildcats’ winless conference record to 0-13, while their overall record was brought to 4-18. It also brought the Wildcats’ Big Sky Conference losing streak to 51 games.
“Obviously our shooting percentage was not good and we didn’t get the looks that we wanted,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord. “We did do some positive things, though. Both Desiree (Ramos) and Jalen (Carpenter) played terrific today. Jalen in particular has been working really hard, and it is starting to pay off.”
Ramos led the way for the Wildcats with 30 points on 8-of-12 shooting. She was not only effective from the field, but also from the free-throw line. She made an impressive 11 of 13 from the stripe.
With Amanda Hughes, the team’s second leading scorer, sitting out due to a suspension, the Wildcats had trouble finding someone to fill her absence. Ramos has scored 30 or more points twice this season. She continues to lead the team in scoring, averaging nearly 14 points per game.
In Hughes’ absence, Ramos carried a majority of the load on offense, but continued to get the bigs down low involved.
“My game went good shooting-wise, but I was a little careless on ball handling,” Ramos said. “I was able to get to the line more often because they got into the bonus early on. All of the work that I have been putting in with the coaches and my teammates is starting to show.”
Carpenter had one of her best games of the season. She had 12 points and nine rebounds. Five of those rebounds were on the offensive glass, where the Wildcats as a team had 20. Sophomore Regina Okoye once again put pressure on the opposing team, as she had a team-high four steals.
“We just have to continue scoring on the second chance that we get,” Ord said. “Offensive rebounding is one of our strengths.”
At the start of the game was a back-and-forth battle as the Wildcats held an early lead. But that early advantage was short-lived.
The Thunderbirds regained their composure and forced the Wildcats into mistakes, which led to easier baskets for SUU. The Thunderbirds went into halftime with an 11-point advantage.
The Wildcats came out with an increased amount of energy in the second half, pushing the Thunderbirds into making their own mistakes. That allowed WSU to fight its way back into the game.
After timely baskets by Ramos, the lead was cut to seven points with just more than 12 minutes left. But the Wildcats were unable to get closer than that. The Thunderbirds put the game away, shooting 89 percent from the free-throw line, making the most out of their opportunities.
The Wildcats will continue their home stand when they host the University of Montana on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.