Balanced offense leads to 75-54 Cowgirl victory
* University of Wyoming Athletics media relations release
LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirls held San Jose State to just 29 points the final three quarters of the game Wednesday night in Laramie and had six players score eight points or more on the way to a 75-54 victory inside the Arena-Auditorium.
Quinn Weidemann led all scorers with 18 points, despite playing just seven minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Weidemann shot 6-of-9 overall from the field and made 5-of-7 3-pointers in the contest. McKinley Bradshaw and Alba Sanchez Ramos finished the game in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Tess Barnes, Allyson Fertig and Tommi Olson all finished the night with eight points each.
Olson finished the game with a great all-around effort as she pulled down seven rebounds, dished out a season-high seven assists and recorded two steals. Sanchez Ramos also had a pair of steals in the win while Bradshaw ended with eight boards and tied a season-high with three assists.
The eight points off the bench for Barnes ties her season- and career-high as she drilled a pair of 3-pointers. Also, off the bench, Marta Savic ended the game with four points, five rebounds, a block and a steal in 10 minutes of action.
Both teams started the game strong on offense as SJSU hit its first four shots and Wyoming made three of its first four from the field. Later in the frame, the two squads continued to play well on the offensive end as the Cowgirls carried a 16-14 lead into the first quarter media timeout with 4:27 to go.
Out of the timeout, not much changed as the two continued to trade baskets with San Jose hitting its first three shots out of the break and taking a 22-21 lead. The Spartans banked in a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to take a 25-23 heading into the second. SJSU shot 9-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-6 from 3-point range the game’s first 10 minutes.
The final three quarters of the game, SJSU shot 12-for-38 (32-percent) from the field and went just 2-of-12 from beyond-the-arc.
“I don’t understand what happened defensively in the first quarter,” said UW head coach Gerald Mattinson postgame. “I guess we weren’t ready, and they hit some shots we weren’t expecting, but from the end of the first quarter and beyond the message was ‘we’re not giving up threes, we’re going to get out there and contest and give up contested two-pointers’. We held them to six points in the second quarter which I think was a big turnaround.”
After the Spartans opened the second with hoop, back-to-back 3-pointers from Sanchez Ramos and Bradshaw reclaimed the lead for the Cowgirls 29-27 with under seven to play in the half. After an Olson three and a Spartan bucket, UW held a 32-29 lead at the second quarter media with 3:53 to go.
Wyoming had its biggest lead of the first half, 35-29 after Olson’s second 3-pointer with 2:55 to go in the second. SJSU would get the only remaining hoop the rest of the frame as UW took a 35-31 lead into the locker room.
The second half began just like the first, with both teams staying hot on the offensive end. However, the Cowgirls started to gain control in the third, thanks in large part to Weidemann.
Weidemann hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring in the half for the Cowgirls and then her three-point play with just over seven minutes to go in the third, extended the Cowgirls’ lead to 43-36. Following another Weidemann 3-pointer and back-to-back turnovers from San Jose, the Spartans called for timeout with 6:24 in the third and UW with a 46-36 lead.
Out of the timeout the Spartans would whittle down the lead a bit with back-to-back hoops, but the Cowgirls would maintain a double-digit advantage thanks to hitting the offensive glass hard. For the game, the Cowgirls had 23 offensive boards, leading to 21 second-chance points. Wyoming continued to lengthen the lead the rest of the third and led 57-44 after three.
In the fourth, Wyoming extended its lead in the opening minutes of the quarter to 63-47, thanks to four free throws from Bradshaw and a Fertig layup with 6:56 remaining. After a timeout from the Spartans, UW continued to lengthen its lead as the quarter went along, leading by as many as 20 points in the frame. San Jose would get the deficit into the teens, but the Cowgirls would control the rest of the contest.
The Cowgirls (10-10, 6-5 MW) made a season-high 12 3-pointers on the night and went 13-of-15 (86.7-percent) from the free-throw line. San Jose (4-18, 1-10 MW) shot better from the field then the Cowgirls, hitting 41.2-percent of its shots, but went just 5-of-10 at the line and made just seven 3-pointers.
“We talked about playing with greater pace on offense, they started switching us and I thought we played well against that. In the fourth, we were able to get to the free-throw line quite a bit and once again, really happy with our performance at the line. If there was any message at all either after the first quarter or at halftime it was just ‘Go be you. Go defend the 3-point line and let’s push the ball on offense and see what happens,’” continued Mattinson.
Wednesday was the only game at home for the Cowgirls during a six-game stretch. Wyoming now returns to the road this weekend as it travels to face Fresno State at 3 p.m., Mountain Time Saturday, Feb. 12.
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