Watch The Wyoming Cowgirls Slip Past Pepperdine in WNIT, 61-60
Karla Erjavec made a free throw with 9.7 seconds left that lifted the Wyoming Cowgirls past the Pepperdine Waves, 61-60, in the third round of the WNIT Thursday night in Laramie.
Wyoming (25-8) utilized fouls to give after the Waves called a timeout with 9.4 seconds left. Erjavec missed the second free throw. Four timeouts and two Cowgirl fouls later, Pepperdine had the ball in the frontcourt with 3.2 seconds left. Rose Pflug got the inbound pass, drove to her right and missed a jumper from just inside the right elbow of the free throw line as time expired.
Here’s the last play of the game.
The Cowgirls advance to the quarterfinals of the WNIT for the first time since their 2007 magical run to win the tournament.
The players knew it was a team win.
UW was led by Bailee Cotton with 15 points and five rebounds. Taylor Rusk and freshman Tereza Vitulova, off the bench, added nine points apiece. Erjavec chipped in eight, while Sladjana Rakovic had six points and eight boards off the bench.
The Cowgirls shot 46 percent from the field. They were held to 3-7 (43%) from beyond the arc and went just 8-15 (53%) at the foul line. Wyoming came through with 40 points in the paint.
Even head coach Joe Legerski said it took a team effort.
Pepperdine (22-12) was led by Yasmine Robinson-Bacote with a game-high 26 points. She also had seven rebounds. The Waves shot 39 percent for the game. They were just 2-7 (29%) from deep and finished 10-16 (63%) at the charity stripe. Pepperdine did enjoy a 38-33 edge in rebounding, which led to nine second-chance points.
After a slow start by Wyoming, the Cowgirls went on a 16-0 run at the end of the first and start of the second quarter. Vitulova and Weidemann had key three-pointers in that stretch, which featured points from five different UW players. The Cowgirls had a 20-8 lead with 7:29 left in the first half.
Pepperdine steadily chipped away and cut it to two points, at 24-22, with 1:14 left in the half. Lay-ups by Weidemann and Rakovic in the final minute gave Wyoming a 30-24 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, the game stayed between two and six points with the Cowgirls in front. A 9-2 run by Pepperdine gave the Waves a 42-41 lead with 26 seconds left in the period. UW came right back, as Erjavec found Rakovic for a lay-in with six seconds remaining in the quarter. It was 43-42 Cowgirls entering the fourth.
Six points from Vitulova on baskets inside and a three from Erjavec gave Wyoming a 52-47 lead with 7:15 left. The Waves rallied with back-to-back baskets by Robinson-Bacote, which made it 52-51 UW with 6:23 left.
The Cowgirls pushed out to a 60-54 lead on baskets by Erjavec and Cotton, plus two free throws from Rakovic. Skye Lindsay hit a jumper in the paint, and Deezha Battle followed with a jumper that trimmed it to 60-58. Cotton missed two free throws with 38 seconds left. Then, Robinson-Bacote scored on a putback that tied the game at 60-60 with 26 seconds left.
After a Wyoming timeout, Erjavec drove the left side of the lane and got fouled. She made the first but missed the second with 9.7 left that set-up the dramatic finish.
The 5,134 fans that attended in the Arena-Auditorium Thursday made it the 10th-largest crowd for a Cowgirls’ game in program history.
Wyoming will play their quarterfinal game on the road at Arizona Sunday at 3 p.m., Mountain Time. This will be UW’s first road game in the WNIT since a second-round game at Colorado State in 2003.