by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics
Weber State Montana State Preview
The Weber State Wildcats are back on the road, heading to Montana State to take on the Bobcats Thursday night. The battle is between the conference’s top and bottom seeds, which does not bode well for the ‘Cats away from home.
The Wildcats enter play at 5-18 and a 1-10 record in the Big Sky, while the Bobcats are 16-8 overall, sporting a 9-3 conference record.
The Wildcats were outplayed in their last game against the Bobcats. The January 14 matchup saw Montana State run away with an 80-65 victory in the Dee Events Center, taking advantage of a slumping Weber State team. While the ‘Cats were able to stay competitive throughout much of the contest, the offensive explosion from the Bobcats was too much for them to handle.
The Montana State effort was backed by an efficient 40.9% shooting from three, 25 made free throws on their 34 tries, and their rebounding dominance over Weber State, snagging 47 boards to their opponent’s 38. This upcoming game is slated to have a similar result, especially with the ‘Cats playing in the Worthington Arena instead of their home venue.
Who to Watch
For Weber State, watch for repeat performances from Daryn Hickok and Jadyn Matthews. This roster has struggled from top to bottom in their last couple of contests, but the two star forwards had productive nights in their last battle against the conference’s top seed. Hickok led the team with 24 points; Matthews was close behind with 16. The two ended the night with double-doubles, Matthews leading with 12 rebounds and Hickok grabbing 10.
The Bobcats hope to get a couple of repeat performances of their own Thursday night. Darian White led the starting rotation with 17 points – largely due to her nine free throws converted – grabbing eight rebounds and two assists in the road win, but the team leader was the junior guard who came off the bench: Leia Beattie. Beattie had 26 points, hitting six of ten from deep and a perfect six for six from the free-throw line. Montana State’s roster has great depth, so they have many hands to get the ball to, but another Beattie masterclass would likely put down a whimpering Wildcat effort.
Room for Improvement
As mentioned previously, this game was competitive and- likely – more competitive than the score indicates. Despite shooting struggles, the ‘Cats kept the contest within striking distance throughout. They limited turnovers and were productive from the free-throw line, but improvements to their rebounding and shooting can turn the tide for the struggling roster. The Bobcats dominated the pain, winning the rebounding battle 47-38 over Weber State. The ‘Cats handled Northern Colorado in this category in their Monday game, so continuing this aggressive play will serve them well.
The Wildcats also shot more efficiently in Monday’s contest, which they hope to carry over against Montana State. They shot more efficiently than their season average, sinking 37.7% from the field and 35.7% from three. Their road struggles may prevent such repeat performance – losing all five conference away games – but that won’t stop Weber State from trying to play competitive basketball.
The Wildcats head to Montana State at 7 pm MST to battle the Bobcats at Worthington Arena.
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