OGDEN — A short scoring drought proved to be all the difference on Saturday afternoon as the Weber State women’s basketball squad dropped a 74-61 battle to in-state rival Southern Utah at the Dee Events Center.
It was the first meeting between the two teams as Big Sky Conference opponents. With a nice crowd behind them, the Wildcats had hopes of squashing a long losing streak.
But Hailey Mandelko turned the tide in the Thunderbirds’ direction just before halftime. And a four-minute scoreless stretch in the early part of the second half gave SUU all the momentum it needed.
Weber State is now 0-5 in Big Sky play, and 0-14 overall.
The Wildcats’ losing streak is now at 33 games.
The Thunderbirds got 14 points each from Mandelko, Kimie Hawkins and Carli Moreland to improve their conference record to 3-2 and 9-6 overall.
The Wildcats were led by freshman guard Des Ramos, who finished with 11 points.
The Wildcat defense kept things close in the start as SUU connected on just six of its first 20 shots from the field and trailed by four early on.
Back-to-back scores from Kia Rhodes and Jalen Carpenter put the home team out in front 17-13 halfway through the opening period.
The next several minutes saw SUU battle back to tie the score at 25-25 on a Hawkins free throw.
Another score from Hawkins and five quick points from Mandelko in the final 60 seconds then gave Southern Utah a 33-29 edge heading into the break.
Weber State’s leading rebounders were Brianna Averette and Regina Okoye who both finished with four boards each.
Southern Utah outscored Weber State in the paint, 42-24.
Weber State gets another chance to stop the losing skid soon.
The Wildcats will host Idaho State on Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.