Thursday , January 11, 2018 - 9:17 PM
Shianne Johnson (10), of Weber State, knocks down Savannah Smith (10), of Northern Colorado, but avoids the call for a foul at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, on Thursday, January 11, 2018.
OGDEN — The Weber State women’s basketball team handed the University of Northern Colorado their first Big Sky Conference loss, defeating the Bears 82–73 in WSU’s home conference debut.
“Tonight was about toughness,” head coach Bethann Ord said. “I am so proud of this team. We locked in, defended, got the rebounds and stuck to our game plan.”
Senior Larryn Brooks led the Wildcats with 32 points, just one shy of her career high. Brooks shot 4 of 7 from behind the arc and has made four or more 3-pointers in seven games this season.
“Larryn was huge tonight,” Ord said. “Her shot selection and consistency is improving every game.”
Despite Northern Colorado (12-4, 4-1 Big Sky) striking first, the Wildcats controlled the lead for most of the first quarter. UNC senior Savannah Scott dropped a 3-point shot to give the Bears a 13–10 lead with under three minutes to play in the first. Gray scored five points in the last two minutes to take back the lead, 19–17.
Weber State (11-4, 3-1) led by as many as nine points in the second quarter. The Bears forced four turnovers in the last three minutes to minimize the damage from there, and the Wildcats led 40–32 at the half.
“The lead was definitely a confidence boost,” Brooks said. “Third quarter is the toughest and we came out with a lot of energy.”
The Bears brought the game within one point in the third quarter, but the Wildcats held onto a five-point lead heading into the final stretch.
Leading 74-71 with 3:31 left, Weber State closed the game on an 8-2 run on a 3-pointer from Emily Drake and four free-throws from Brooks.
Weber State held Scott — who averaged 18 points per game in conference play — to 13 points and three rebounds.
The Wildcats held Northern Colorado to 4-of-22 shooting (18 percent) from the 3-point line.
Senior Briana Gray tied her career high with 16 points.
“(Gray’s) leadership and what she brings to this program has been unbelievable,” Ord said. “Her effort and attitude are great, and it showed in the points tonight.”
Jocelyn Adams pulled down eight rebounds, and Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman added 10 points and four assists.
The Wildcats have lost only one game at home and look to extend that record as they host North Dakota at 2 p.m. Saturday.