Cowgirls hang 69 on Utah State in opener, advance to Round 2
LAS VEGAS – The Wyoming Cowgirls met a familiar foe Sunday night to begin the Mountain West Tournament, as the seventh-seeded Cowgirls defeated No. 10 Utah State 69-41 to advance to Monday’s quarterfinal round.
Sunday was Wyoming’s first game since Feb. 13, which was also against Utah State. Sunday also marked the third consecutive season that UW and the Aggies have met at the conference tournament.
Alba Sanchez Ramos got the first five points of the game to help Wyoming knock off the rust early as the Cowgirls jumped out to an early 10-2 lead, forcing an Aggie timeout with 5:05 left in the opening quarter. The Cowgirls opened up their lead to a 19-6 margin at the end of the first, thanks to a late defensive surge in the quarter that led to six points off opponent turnovers.
The second quarter brought much of the same for Wyoming on both ends of the court, as the Cowgirls held Utah State to just 25 percent shooting in the quarter, while shooting 60 percent themselves from the field in the quarter and led 32-17 at the break. The only signs of a 22-day layoff for the Cowgirls in the opening 20 minutes was the 10 turnovers they committed.
The Cowgirls scored 28 points in the third quarter to break the game open in the second. Wyoming scored its first 10 points in the paint to begin the second half, capped off by a Dagny Davidsdottir old-fashioned three-point play to push the Wyoming lead up to 43-21.
McKinley Bradshaw splashed a transition 3-pointer on the next possession, forcing a USU timeout with 6:14 to play in the third.
Out of the timeout, both teams traded 3-pointers and a Tommi Olson steal on the preceding inbounds pass, leading to a Bradshaw layup, pushed the UW advantage to 51-24 at the third quarter media timeout. From there on, UW led by as many as 29 points, multiple times in the quarter and took a 60-33 lead into the fourth.
A Marta Savic layup with five minutes remaining in the game, gave Wyoming its largest lead of the game up to that point, 67-37 and from there, the Cowgirls just salted away the clock on their way to an opening round victory.
Wyoming got contributions all over the place in Sunday’s win. Davidsdottir led all scorers with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting while also adding six boards. Bradshaw had 16 on 6-of-11 shooting while Sanchez Ramos and Quinn Weidemann added 13 and 12, respectively. Weidemann also added six assists in the win, tying a season best.
Olson led the way with seven assists as the Cowgirls tallied 23 helpers on the night, a season-high. Jaye Johnson meanwhile was all over the place, grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds while also tallying a pair of steals as well as two blocked shots.
The Cowgirls shot a season-best 51.8 percent from the floor (29-of-56) while holding the Aggies to just 21.7 percent (13-of-60) shooting, a season-low for a Cowgirl opponent.
“I want to say how proud I am of our team,” said UW head coach Gerald Mattinson postgame. “Credit to those young ladies, I’m proud of the effort we put out tonight. They responded from the tip and I’m so proud of the way we defended. I was happy with us on the offensive end as well tonight. We had a game plan and a place we wanted to attack tonight and they executed it. We’ve played hard all year, the girls have competed all the way to the end in every game this season.”
Next up for the Cowgirls is a quarterfinal round matchup with No. 2 seed UNLV at 6:30 p.m., Mountain Time Monday.
* University of Wyoming press release