by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Freddie Lacey of Weber State Athletics
It was a solid first half for the Weber State Wildcats as they held a 33-24 halftime lead over the visiting Utah Tech Trailblazers. Unfortunately, the ‘Cats would be derailed after returning from halftime.
The Wildcats were held to only four points in the third quarter, which gave Utah Tech enough breathing room and a lead going into the fourth quarter. The final period of play was back-and-forth, but ultimately the Trailblazers held despite a late push from WSU.
Turnovers and Fouls
Turnovers have been a problem for this team all year, but they were especially an issue Saturday. This entire game for Weber State comes down to turnovers. The Wildcats seemingly led this game in every statistical category, but they turned the ball over 26 times compared to the 14 of the Trailblazers. Losing the turnover battle, especially to this margin, is only going to result in dropping more close games like this.
The Trailblazers forced the issue with 17 steals in the contest, while the Wildcats left with only seven.
The ‘Cats also could not keep Utah Tech from the free-throw line. The Trailblazers although only shooting 61%, were at the line 41 times in the matchup. Breaunna Gillen was the greatest Trailblazer beneficiary, hitting 11 of her 18 free throws on her way to a 19-point performance. When games are only coming down to a possession or two, handing opponents free chances at points will be devastating.
Despite the turnovers and fouls, there were some bright spots for the Wildcats. The defense played well against an offensive juggernaut. Limiting three-pointers was a major concern coming into the game, but WSU limited Utah Tech to shooting 15.4% from three. Three-pointers were the Trailblazers’ bread and butter coming in, but the solid defense kept their opportunities limited.
The Wildcats duo of Jadyn Matthews and Daryn Hickok continued to produce. Hickok led the team with 18 points as Matthews collected a double-double on 11 points, 12 rebounds, and a respectable six assists.
Emma Torbert was also a force as she put up a solid 15 points from off the bench. The bench needs to follow Torbert’s example since they only produced four points out of her performance.
It will be back to the drawing board for the ‘Cats as they host the undefeated #13-ranked Utah Utes at home on Tuesday.