Weber State women's basketball Southern Utah 01

Southern Utah guard Rebecca Cardenas, middle, tries to split the defense of Weber State players Jadyn Matthews (25) and Kori Pentzer (4) in a Big Sky Conference tournament first-round game Monday, March 9, 2020, at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.

Weber State women’s basketball led for much of the first 25 minutes of its Big Sky Conference tournament first-round game, but a rash of turnovers and a fourth-quarter cold streak spelled the end for the Wildcats’ 2019-20 season.

The No. 6 seed Southern Utah Thunderbirds eliminated the No. 11 seed Wildcats 62-58 on Monday at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.

WSU led by as much as nine in the first half and led until midway through the third quarter. The Wildcats finished with 30 turnovers and shot 3 of 12 in the fourth quarter, allowing the T-Birds to build a cushion as large as seven points — a 58-51 lead with 1:11 left, representing SUU’s largest lead of the contest.

WSU junior Kayla Watkins banked in a tough 3-pointer with 21 seconds left to cut the deficit to 60-58 and WSU had its chances from there.

Ashley Thoms stole an SUU inbound pass and Liz Graves raced to the other end, but was eventually called for traveling a few feet from the rim.

On SUU’s next inbound pass, SUU guard Rebecca Cardenas took the inbound pass in her team’s frontcourt and, after a few steps, took the ball into the backcourt. Officials missed the violation and, after Cardenas was fouled with 11 seconds left, she made her free throws to put the game away.

Cardenas led SUU (18-12) with 28 points.

Watkins led WSU with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Graves and Daryn Hickok each added 11 points and Jadyn Matthews pulled down 12 rebounds.

Weber State ends the 2019-20 season with a 4-26 record. The Wildcats played five freshmen, two sophomores and two juniors in its rotation this season; all ostensibly return for the 2020-21 season, as do senior forward Dominique Williams and junior guard Shianne Johnson, who both sat this season with injuries.

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @bhein3/@WeberHQ and at facebook.com/WeberStateSports.

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