by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics
Weber State Basketball Preview
The Wildcats (4-11) return home as Weber State hosts the Montana Lady Grizzlies (6-9) in an attempt to retire their seven-game losing streak. The ‘Cats have had more luck at home (2-3) than on the road (1-8), so they will look to get back in the win column at the Dee Events Center in their first game back since December 20.
The Lady Grizzlies will be no push over Thursday, playing competitive basketball no matter the opponent. The Wildcats will need to take them down to earn their first conference win and prevent this season from slipping away.
It has been 23 days since the Wildcats hosted a game at the Dee Events Center, and what better way to ring in the homecoming than to get a much-needed victory? The only way for that to get done will be for this offense to start clicking again.
While the Wildcats’ offense has never been their strength, it has crippled them in games that could’ve been competitive. Weber State has not had a 70-point performance since November 27 and has lost by double-digits in each of its last four contests. The defense isn’t always sound, allowing more than 80 points in three of their losses on the seven-game skid, but the offense has failed to keep the Wildcats afloat, averaging a measly 57 points in the stretch.
Montana, on the other hand, has had much success offensively this season with their 69.7 PPG. They have cracked the 70-point barrier in each of their last four games, and have been able to keep pace with most of their competition this season despite shaky defensive efforts. Their defense allows 69.4 PPG, so they have a positive point differential despite their losing record. They have also been competitive in the Big Sky with a 2-2 conference record.
A massive reason Weber State can’t get this offense rolling is that they have little offensive depth. Daryn Hickok has been the shining star on this otherwise sluggish front with her 17.4 PPG, while Jadyn Matthews has been the only other reliable option at 13.3 PPG. Other than that, this offense has been subpar.
Emma Torbert and Laura Taylor have breakout potential but have not been dependable with inconsistent performances. Other than that, the rest of the squad has been good for a basket or two each.
On the other end of the court, Montana has a locker room full of scorers. Carmen Gfeller has been the head of this offensive attack with her 13.4 PPG. Sammy Fatkin trails close behind her with 12.9 PPG, and Gina Marxen and Libby Stump back the two with 10.9 PPG each.
If this Wildcat offense can’t keep up with the firepower of Montana, they will have to hope to contain them to stay in contention.
The Wildcats have gotten on the right track lately in terms of turnovers, only coughing up the ball 12 times in their loss to Idaho State, but the numbers still cause concern, especially for a team that can make the most of every opportunity. The ‘Cats are turning over the ball a whopping 20.2 times per game to the 14.5 of Montana.
The Lady Grizzlies only force 11.9 turnovers per game, so Weber State needs to play safe and keep things under control because mistakes can make this game get ugly fast.
The Wildcats will host the Lady Grizzlies on Thursday at 6 pm MST, where they hope to limit damages at the beginning games of conference play.