* University of Wyoming Athletics media relations release

LARAMIE -- An explosive fourth quarter and a solid all-around defensive effort from the Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team Saturday afternoon propelled them to a 70-46 victory over San Diego State in the AA. The Cowgirls outscored the Aztecs 26-9 in the fourth to pull away late.

“The defense was big for us today,” UW head coach Gerald Mattinson said postgame. “That’s been who we are for a number of years now. It’s always given us chances in games because we play so hard, and I think we played pretty solid defense today. My staff spends a lot of time on putting scouts together for us and our veterans executed well. For us to hold San Diego State to only 46 points, I’m really pleased with our effort defensively.”

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Wyoming (14-11, 10-6 MW) struggled from the floor to open, hitting just 1-of-7 to start the game, but from there, the Cowgirls went on a quick 7-0 run mid-way through the first quarter and had an 11-6 lead with 3:11 to go in the first. Out of the media timeout, the two teams traded 3-pointers before Cowgirl turnovers hampered them down the stretch of the frame and it was 14-12 in favor of UW after one.

In the second, the Cowgirls continued to struggle to shoot the ball as both teams were ice cold to begin the quarter. The lid came off the hoop for both teams after back-to-back layups for Wyoming was followed by an SDSU (14-14, 8-9 MW) 3-pointer. UW struggled to get much separation in the quarter, despite playing solid defense as the Aztecs continued to hit contested 3-pointers and the Cowgirl lead was 25-21 with 3:06 remaining in the first half.

Following the second quarter media, UW got a layup from McKinley Bradshaw and a Quinn Weidemann 3-pointer to take a 30-21 lead into halftime.

The second half began with more offensive struggles from the Cowgirls as San Diego State opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run before a pair of Grace Ellis free throws got UW on the board in the frame.

After Ellis lifted the lid, the next time down the court, Bradshaw hit her third 3-pointer of the game and UW was back up 35-28 with 4:04 remaining as the game went to the media timeout. Out of the timeout, the Cowgirls maintained their lead after a slow start to the half as Wyoming led 44-37 heading into the fourth. Ellis helped UW maintain its advantage in the quarter as she had six points, two rebounds, a block and an assist in the third.

The fourth began with back-to-back hoops from Bradshaw and Weidemann and the Cowgirls had their biggest lead of the game until then, 49-37 with a little over eight minutes to play.

After the quick start to the quarter for the Cowgirls, both teams went scoreless for the next three minutes before another Bradshaw 3-pointer gave UW an 8-0 run to open the fourth. The UW run to open the frame was ended with just under five minutes to go in the contest as the Aztecs got back-to-back hoops to get the score to 54-41 heading to the media timeout.

Unlike in the two teams’ first meeting this season, the Cowgirls didn’t let SDSU get back into the game late as back-to-back three-point plays from Bradshaw and Allyson Fertig pushed the lead up to 62-42 with 3:11 left. After an Aztec hoop, Weidemann hit another three and the game was effectively in hand late.

Bradshaw blistered the nets Saturday, recording her second 30-point scoring outburst of the season in the win as she finished with a game-high 30 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the floor overall and hitting 5-of-11 from 3-point range. Weidemann added 17 points of her own and hit 5-of-8 from 3-point range.

“The last six or seven games probably for McKinley offensively, outside of the CSU game, she’s been an offensive machine," Mattinson said. "You look at her numbers, it’s not like she’s only 6-of-28 or something like that, she was 11-of-22 today and was phenomenal shooting the three and on top of that gets us five rebounds. I also thought she played very well defensively today on a kid that’s been scoring well for SDSU. She had a good overall game today.”

Ellis ended the day with eight points, four rebounds and a block off the bench while Fertig and Alba Sanchez Ramos each added five. Fertig pulled down 11 boards and had a career-best four blocks on the day while Sanchez Ramos added eight rebounds and four assists. Tommi Olson added five boards and five assists as the Cowgirls out-rebounded the Aztecs 46-32. Wyoming also assisted on 17 of its 25 made field goals.

Overall, the Cowgirls shot 25-for-56 (44.6-percent) and hit 11-of-25 (44-percent) from 3-point range. The Aztecs meanwhile, did hit 7-of-14 from beyond-the-arc but went just 18-for-64 (28.1-percent) overall from the field. SDSU’s 11-for-50 shooting on two-point attempts registered just a 22-percent shooting output.

Wyoming outscored the Aztecs 18-9 on points off turnovers, despite committing three more (14-11) miscues. UW also had a 24-16 edge in points in the paint, a 10-4 advantage in second-chance points and had five fast-break points to SDSU’s 0.

The Cowgirls now shift their focus to the regular season finale Wednesday, March 2 as Border Rival Colorado State comes to town for a 6:30 p.m. contest.

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