UCLA too much for Cowgirls in opening round of NCAA Tournament
AUSTIN, Texas -- The No. 14 Wyoming Cowgirls fell to third-seeded UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday, 69-48, inside the Erwin Center on the campus of the University of Texas. The Bruins snapped the Cowgirls six-game winning streak despite Wyoming holding the Bruins to only 31 percent from the field in the second half.
“I wish UCLA the best of luck and I’m very proud of our team and what we have accomplished over the last month,” UW head coach Gerald Mattinson said. “I’m excited for our program moving forward.”
Wyoming appeared in its second NCAA Tournament game on Monday. Wyoming also played in the tournament in 2008, falling to Pittsburgh 63-58 in the first round. The Cowgirls finished the season with a 14-10 overall record.
“We responded well after a rough start,” Mattinson said. “We didn’t give in, give up and battled till the end and that is what you want from a basketball program. I hope we learned this season to battle through adversity and end out on top.”
The Cowgirls were led by junior Alba Sanchez Ramos with 15 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. She has now scored in double-figures in 20 games in her career. She has been averaging nine rebounds over the prior seven games. Sophomore McKinley Bradshaw added 13 points off the bench, as she has scored in double-figures in nine of the last 10 games to close the season.
Junior Quinn Weidemann added 11 points for her 16th game in double-figures this season. Junior Tommi Olson added five rebounds on the night to rank second on the team.
The Bruins shot 43 percent from the field for the night for the highest against the Cowgirls since Colorado State shot 44 percent on Feb. 4. Wyoming was held to 33 percent from the field and made just two threes in the second half.
UCLA held a 43-27 advantage on the glass for the night and added 17 offensive rebounds.
UCLA opened the scoring with a three pointer, but Sanchez Ramos responded with a triple seconds later. The Bruins would then go on a 10-0 run to build a 13-6 advantage until Bradshaw knocked down a triple for a 13-6 contest with 4:33 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bruins closed the first frame on a 6-0 run to take a 23-11 lead, but Weidemann added a layup to end the frame for a 23-11 contest after 10 minutes. Wyoming was held to 29 percent from the field in the first stanza, as UCLA shot 56 percent from the field.
The Cowgirls, who trailed by as much as 19 points in the second frame closed out the first half with a 7-2 run for a 40-26 game at the half. Sanchez Ramos added three free throws during the run with Olson and senior Dagny Davidsdottir adding nifty layups. The Bruins shot 53 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes with Wyoming being held to 35 percent.
Sanchez Ramos opened the second frame with a bucket, but the Bruins responded with a 6-0 run to build a 46-28 game. Both teams would then exchange threes with Sanchez Ramos hitting for the Cowgirls for a 49-31 game with six minutes left in the third quarter.
UCLA would use the offensive glass to help build their lead to 20-points in the closing minutes of the third quarter. To that point of the contest, the Bruins were outscoring the Cowgirls 30-18 in the paint and took a 61-41 lead into the final frame.
Senior Jaye Johnson opened the scoring in the fourth quarter, as Wyoming held UCLA scoreless for four-plus minutes, but hit a triple to take a 63-43 lead with 5:45 left in the game. Weidemann went on a 4-0 run with a pair of freebies and a jumper to make it a 63-47 game with just over four minutes remaining.
Wyoming would once again hold the Bruins scoreless for over three minutes until a UCLA bucket with 2:23 left, but the Cowgirls offense could not capitalize falling to the Bruins, 69-48
UCLA was led by Michaela Onyenwere with 25 points. Charisma Osborne added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cowgirls closed out the season winning six of their last seven games and won their first ever Mountain West Tournament title.
* University of Wyoming press release