Weber State women’s basketball focused on Big Sky Championship

Sunday , October 08, 2017 - 5:00 AM

BRANDON GARSIDE, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — In each of the last two years, the Weber State women’s basketball team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Championships in Reno.

While the tournament is still five months away, the team is putting high expectations for themselves.

“Since I’ve been here we’ve been hungry. Every year we get better. I feel like they see it,” head coach Bethann Ord said. “They put in the work this summer, they’re motivated, and it’s time. It’s Weber State’s time to win that Big Sky Championship.”

The upcoming season will be the last for four-year seniors Kailie Quinn and Jocelyn Adams, but they won’t be alone in providing veteran leadership.

Two graduate transfers joined the team over the summer, bringing along with them talent and experience expected to give the Wildcats an extra boost.

Senior guard Larryn Brooks transferred from Texas Tech, where she scored over nine points per game and was 13th in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (39.9 percent) and fourth in free-throw percentage (89.2 percent). The native of Richmond, Kentucky, spent her freshmen and sophomore seasons at Indiana where she led the Hoosiers in scoring and assists.

From Bradley, senior forward Briana Gray averaged only 1.3 points per game but shot the ball at an efficient 46 percent.

“The new people that came in are definitely a complement to this program and the team,” Quinn said. “They bring a whole new aspect of what this team can do, so I’m actually really excited about the new faces that have come in.”

Returning junior guards Emily Drake and Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman will also be factors for their scoring abilities, and are now adjusting to new leadership roles.

“I hope I can be a leader for everybody and be someone that leads by example throughout the year,” Drake said. “It’s going to be a long season. It always is. You’ve got to have those people.”

Three freshmen join the Wildcats this season. Guard Shianne Johnson of Harker Heights, Texas, guard Sierra Smith of Vallejo, California, and forward Kayla Watkins of Snohomish, Washington.

Both Smith and Watkins were rated three-star recruits by ESPN, and were ranked 22nd and 47th in the country, respectively, at their positions.

Johnson earned All-Region honors and was named to the First Team All-District in high school.

“I think the biggest strength is that we’ve all come together pretty well,” Adams said. “We have a lot of new freshmen and some transfers, so in these past few months we’ve all gotten to know each other pretty well, so we’ve collaborated and become really close.”

Practice began Oct. 1 and the season is set to tip off Nov. 10 against Utah Valley at home.

Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.

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