Big third quarter propels Cowgirls past CSU Pueblo
* University of Wyoming athletics media relations release
LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirls officially opened the 2021-22 season with a hard-fought 67-53 victory Tuesday morning over CSU Pueblo. The Cowgirls outscored Pueblo 39-22 in the second half to overcome a halftime deficit.
CSU Pueblo jumped out to an early 10-4 lead at the game’s first media timeout, as the Cowgirls struggled to find their offensive rhythm. Out of the timeout however, UW went on a bit of a run, thanks to back-to-back layups from Quinn Weidemann and Allyson Fertig.
Towards the end of the quarter, the Cowgirls took their first lead of the game, thanks to a Paula Salazar put back that made it 12-10. The two teams exchanged buckets to end the quarter and the score was tied 15-15 after one.
The second quarter began with a 6-0 run from the Cowgirls as they took a 21-15 lead with just over seven minutes to play in the half. Later in the quarter, a Weidemann 3-pointer pushed Wyoming to its biggest lead of the half, 26-19, at the second quarter media timeout.
Out of the media break though, the ThunderWolves went on a 10-0 run over a 1:42 span to take a 29-26 lead with 2:55 to play in the half. After the two teams traded hoops, UW failed to get the final shot of the half to go down and trailed 31-28 at halftime.
The Cowgirls opened the second half hitting three of their first four shots and grabbed a 36-33 lead with 7:38 to go in the third. After 3-pointer from Grace Ellis and four free throws by the ThunderWolves, a McKinley Bradshaw put back lay-in led to a 41-37 Cowgirl lead at the third quarter media break.
Out of the timeout, Wyoming went to work on both ends of the court, as they kept drawing CSU Pueblo fouls, leading to 12 free throws for the Cowgirls in the third quarter alone. UW also held the ThunderWolves scoreless over a span of more than five minutes to end the quarter and carried a 52-37 lead into the fourth. The Cowgirls ended the third on a 13-0 run. Wyoming outscored the ThunderWolves 24-6 in the third.
“We just talked about being more aggressive,” head coach Gerald Mattinson said postgame. “I think we were flat to begin. We started attacking the basket and being more aggressive.”
Wyoming opened the fourth much like it ended the third, scoring the first four points of the frame and took its biggest lead of the game, 56-37 with 8:41 to play. A three-point play with 5:45 to go by Alba Sanchez Ramos, put UW back up by 19, as the Cowgirls continued to play suffocating defense and get to the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. CSU Pueblo ended the game on a 10-3 run to bring the score closer at the end of the contest.
Weidemann led three Cowgirls in double figures with 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond-the-arc. Weidemann also added five rebounds and three assists in the win. Ellis and Sanchez Ramos each added 11 points, while Sanchez Ramos grabbed a team-best eight boards and Ellis pulled down six.
Tommi Olson had a solid all-around game as she hit her lone shot, a 3-pointer, and also dished-out five assists, grabbed three boards and had a pair of steals. Salazar and Emily Mellema led the UW reserves with eight and seven points, respectively.
The Cowgirls ended up out-scoring the ThunderWolves 32-12 in points in the paint and also had a 12-7 advantage in second-chance points. For the game, UW shot 37.3 percent from the field and went 5-of-17 from 3-point range. CSU Pueblo hit 29.5 percent of its shots, including going just 1-of-12 in the third quarter. The ThunderWolves hit 8-of-33 3-point attempts Tuesday.
Wyoming hit 18-of-25 (72 percent) free throws in the game, including making 16-of-21 in the second half alone.
“We were to get to the free-throw line in the third and hit some big free throws. That was one of the things that we talked about after both exhibition games. We have to be able to step up and hit free throws,” Mattinson said.
The Cowgirls next shift their focus to another day game, this time Saturday, November 13 at 2 p.m., as Wichita State comes to town.
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