LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team officially opened practice Tuesday afternoon inside the Arena-Auditorium, kicking-off preseason for the 2021-22 season.

“The kids are excited for the first day of practice,” said UW head coach Gerald Mattinson, who enters his third season at the helm of the Cowgirls. “We’re excited to be back and to be playing hard and working hard. We were missing a couple of kids today, but overall I thought the first day went well and we hope that it’s the first of many good ones this year.”

The defending Mountain West Tournament Champions return 10 letterwinners from a season ago, including a trio of starters in Tommi Olson, Alba Sanchez Ramos and Quinn Weidemann.

Weidemann, who was named to the Mountain West’s All-Defensive Team in 2020-21, was also the MW Tournament MVP. Joining Weidemann on the all-tourney team last year was Olson.

Weidemann was second on the Cowgirls in scoring last season at 11 points per game, while her 2.04 3-pointers made per game ranked sixth-best in the league and her 39.8 percent shooting from beyond-the-arc ranked second in the Mountain West. Olson meanwhile, ranked second in the conference in steals (55), steals per game (2.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.06) in 2020-21 and was third in assists per game (4.2).

Sanchez Ramos was third on the team in scoring at 10.3 points per game and led the Cowgirls in rebounding with 6.3 per contest last season. Sanchez Ramos averaged 9.1 rebounds per game over UW’s final seven games to end last season, during that stretch, she reached double figures in rebounds four times and pulled down a career-high 13 in the February 13 win over Utah State.

The Cowgirls also return leading-scorer McKinley Bradshaw from last season, who averaged 11.7 points per game while mainly coming off the bench. Bradshaw was second on the team with 35 made 3-pointers and shot 42.7 percent from 3-point range.

Other returners to the 2021-22 squad who saw action a season ago, include Lexi Bull, Grace Ellis, Landri Hudson, Paula Salazar, Marta Savic and Ola Ustowska. Wyoming also welcomes a trio of freshman to this year’s edition. Tess Barnes (Gisborne, Australia), Allyson Fertig (Glendo, Wyo.) and Emily Mellema (Lynden, Wash.) are all entering their first season with the Brown & Gold.

The Cowgirls open their season with a pair of exhibition contests to start, as UW will host Colorado Christian (Oct. 29) and Colorado-Colorado Springs (Nov. 5) before officially kicking this off Nov. 9 at 11 a.m., against CSU Pueblo.

Wyoming will play nine non-conference contests this season, including making a trip down to Denver for the Pioneer Thanksgiving Classic.

The non-conference slate features home contests against Wichita State (Nov. 13) and North Dakota State (December 12) and also includes a trip to Nebraska Dec. 22 to close non-conference action. The Cowgirls’ league opener is Dec. 28 at San Diego State, while the home Mountain West opener is January 3 as they host Boise State.

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