Weber State at Northern Colorado Women’s Basketball Tournament Preview

Weber State at Northern Colorado Women’s Basketball Tournament Preview

by Zachary Knecht

Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics

Weber State Northern Colorado Tournament Preview

The Weber State Wildcats kick things off in the Big Sky Tournament with their battle against the Northern Colorado Bears Saturday. The winner of the duel will go on to face #1 Northern Arizona, who swept both teams in the regular season.

The Wildcats found very little success against the conference this year but get a fresh start in the tournament. Despite the ups and downs throughout the campaign, Weber State still has the opportunity to be declared Big Sky Champions.


Although Northern Colorado finished ninth in the conference, they dominated WSU in the regular season. The Bears won both matchups against Weber State, and it wasn’t close. Their first win came against the Wildcats at the end of December, winning handily 67-39. The Bears held them to 12 points in the first half, and by the time Weber State could put anything together, it was too late. Northern Colorado played a physical game, making WSU feel uncomfortable all day.

The second contest came in February. While it was much closer, it was another commanding victory for the Bears. Northern Colorado didn’t assert themselves to the same level as they did at home, but they shot lights out to put away Weber State. The Wildcats hope that being on neutral territory will help because they can’t afford to be dominated for a third-straight time.

Who to Watch

For WSU, keep all eyes on their dynamic duo of Daryn Hickok and Jadyn Matthews. Hickok missed a decent amount of time but returned in the concluding contest of the season, where the Wildcats gave the conference’s top seed a run for their money. She is a vital part of their operation and looks to make her impact felt in the do-or-die battle. Hickok ranks sixth in the Big Sky with 15.4 PPG and has been in the upper echelon of scorers in the conference all season.

Matthews took over for the Wildcats in Hickok’s absence. She has been lethal throughout their campaign as well, scoring 12.6 PPG, good for 13th in the Big Sky. Her impact is really felt in the paint, though, averaging 7.3 rebounds per game. Matthews ranks seventh in the conference in rebounding, and her abilities need to be put to use against a poor rebounding team like Northern Colorado.

For the Bears, watch for Delaynie Byrne. The star forward dominated the last time out against the Wildcats, scoring 23 points and securing eight rebounds at the Dee Events Center. She has been the leader for this roster in points (13.9) and rebounds (7.4) in the 2022-2023 campaign. Her performance can make or break Northern Colorado, so the Wildcats aim to snuff her production.

Shooting Woes

This game comes down to the shooting efficiency of Weber State in Boise. Their lack of decent shot production has dismantled their efforts to this point in the season, but a solid outing from the field may grant WSU a win in the tournament. This challenge is tough for the Wildcats, though, given Northern Colorado’s third-ranked defense. This battle is between the Big Sky’s worst offensive rosters, so Weber State can’t let the Bears extinguish their offensive production.WSU ranks dead last in field goal (34.4%) and three-point percentage (25.6%), so they need to leave their past woes behind to find success Saturday.

In win-or-go-home games like this, it is imperative to get the ball in the hands of your playmakers. Give Hickok and Matthews as many looks as you can. They are the key to taking this ship to Northern Arizona.

Game Time

The Wildcats face off against the Bears at noon MST to kick off the Big Sky Tournament in Boise.


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