* University of Wyoming press release

LAS VEGAS, Nev., – Tess Barnes scored a career-high 19 points and Allyson Fertig recorded her third double-double of the season as the Wyoming Cowgirls held on for a 71-61 victory Thursday.

The Cowgirls led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, before a big Wright State run eventually gave the Raiders the lead. However, Wyoming was able to respond down the stretch to hang on for the win.

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The Cowgirls got off to a fast start, scoring the first 12 points of the game. Barnes had eight of Wyoming’s first 10 points to begin the contest, forcing a Wright State timeout. UW led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter and carried a 24-15 lead after one.

In the second, the Cowgirls kept the Raiders at arm’s length in the frame, leading 29-17 at the second quarter media timeout. After the timeout, the Wyoming offense sputtered to close the half as it went six-plus minutes without a field goal.

Wright State was able to get the deficit down to as few as 10, but a couple of UW free throws made it 32-20 at halftime. The Cowgirls held the Raiders scoreless the final two minutes of the first half.

Both teams began the second half by trading baskets as the Cowgirls pushed their lead up to as many as 16 in the quarter. WSU called a timeout with 6:24 left in the frame after hitting a 3-pointer as Wyoming led 43-30. Barnes and Fertig did a lot of the damage in the third for the Cowgirls as Barnes soared past her career-high early in the quarter.

Following the timeout however, it was all Raiders as they forced a bunch of UW turnovers and cut the Cowgirl lead down to just 43-38 with 3:33 remaining in the quarter, forcing a Wyoming timeout. Out of the timeout, Marta Savic would get a layup before the 22-6 Raider run would continue. The Cowgirls were suddenly tied, 49-49 going to the fourth.

The fourth began with the two teams trading haymakers back-and-forth. A Maren McKenna mid-range jumper gave Wyoming a 58-55 lead with under seven minutes to play. The margin remained at three at the media timeout as the Cowgirls clung to a 61-58 lead. Three consecutive layups from Wyoming after the timeout brought the lead back out to nine, 67-58 with 2:30 left as the Raiders called a timeout.

Following the timeout, WSU would hit a three before a pair of Cowgirl free throws with 30.2 seconds left made the score 69-61. Wright State would miss a couple of 3-pointers in the final half-minute as UW would hang on late.

Fertig finished the game with 21 points and 10 boards while shooting 9-of-14 from the floor. She and Barnes were the only Cowgirls to reach double figures in the win. McKenna ended with nine points while Savic had seven points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks off the bench. Barnes, who also had two blocks in the contest, shot 7-of-9 from the field and made a career-best five 3-pointers.

Wyoming shot 52.8-percent overall from the floor and made 6-of-18 from beyond-the-arc. The nation’s No. 1 free-throw shooting team struggled at the line on the day, making just 9-of-16 at the stripe and also missed its first two free throws in the last minute of a game.

The Cowgirl defense was strong for much of the contest, holding WSU to 36-percent shooting and 27-percent from deep.

UW enjoyed a huge advantage on the glass, out-rebounding the Raiders 45-23. The Cowgirls also had a 42-30 edge in points in the paint and a 22-6 advantage in second-chance points.

The thing that really kept WSU in the game was the Cowgirls’ 18 turnovers as the Raiders committed just seven. Wyoming enjoyed a season-high 19 assists in the win and was led by Emily Mellema’s five assists.

The Cowgirls now look to make it a 2-0 week in Las Vegas to close non-conference play. Wyoming will face Eastern Washington at 1 p.m., Mountain Time Friday afternoon in the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic.

POKES: The Seven Best Games In The History Of The Wyoming-CSU Border War Rivalry (Naturally, they were all Wyoming wins)

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