by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics
It won’t be easy for the Weber State Wildcats as conference play begins on the road at the Northern Colorado Bears Thursday night. The Wildcats have been on a cold streak, dropping their last four contests, while the Bears remain 7-4 despite falling narrowly in their previous game.
After a solid start to the season, WSU hasn’t been able to put anything meaningful together, but a win can start conference play right while making a statement. And there is one overarching key to the game for the Wildcats to get their year back on track.
It is a lot easier said than done, but the focus point for the Wildcats needs to be offensive efficiency, especially against a defensive opponent like the Bears. Weber State and Northern Colorado display similar defensive numbers, but the Bears have an edge in points allowed per game with 63.7 to the Wildcats’ 66.5. The ‘Cats even have the edge in rebounds with 38.9 per game to the Bears’ 36.4, but Weber State hasn’t been able to take advantage of their chances.
The Wildcats turn the ball over more (21.0 TPG) and shoot less efficiently from the field (38.5%) and three (27.4%). These mistakes and poor shooting have been the key reason for poor offensive production from Weber State, barely hitting the 60-point mark with 61.3 points per game. This poor offensive play will make it difficult for them to keep pace with an efficient team like the Bears, who put up 70.1 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the field and 38.3% from three.
The Bears are led by Hannah Simental and Delaynie Byrne who score 17.1 points and 14.3 points per game, respectively, while the ‘Cats have Daryn Hickok and Jadyn Matthews in charge with 17.4 points and 14.1 points per game. These duos will put on a show, but the other role players will make or break this game for either team. The Bears have had more depth on their roster to this point in the year, but a solid individual performance – or collective performance – from the other Wildcat options can be the difference maker. Be on the lookout for breakout performances from Emma Torbert and Laura Taylor who have been three-point snipers for Weber State and can turn the tides in a big game.
The Wildcats will tip off at 6:00 p.m. MST at Northern Colorado as they will be put to the test in their first game of conference play.