Cowgirls Host Top-Ranked UNLV Tonight in Laramie
* University of Wyoming press release
LARAMIE -- The two hottest teams in the Mountain West face-off Thursday night inside the Arena-Auditorium as the Wyoming Cowgirls welcome conference-leading UNLV for a 6:30 p.m., tip. UW is riding a current five-game winning streak while UNLV has won eight consecutive.
Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on the Mountain West Network and can be heard across the Cowgirl Radio Network with David Settle on the call.
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Wyoming (12-5, 5-1 MW) is coming off a very successful three-game road trip, winning three games over six days away from home. The Cowgirls closed the trip with a 57-53 win Monday night over Nevada. Allyson Fertig and Emily Mellema led the way with 16 points each in the win. The 16 points from Mellema, who came off the bench, are a career-high for her and was her second consecutive game scoring in double figures. Malene Pedersen also finished in double figures with 15 points on the night.
The Cowgirls hit just one 3-pointer against the Wolfpack, but it was a big one as Quinn Weidemann hit her only shot of the night with 1:37 left to put the Cowgirls up 52-43. Weidemann, who is fourth in program history now with 232 career 3-pointers, became the program’s all-time leader in career games Monday night, appearing in her 134th in the Brown & Gold.
Despite going 1-for-11 from beyond-the-arc in the win, Wyoming still shot 46.5-percent from the floor against Nevada and hit 16-of-19 at the free-throw line.
UW was stellar at the charity stripe on the road trip, going 43-of-47 (91.5-percent) at the line. As a team, the Cowgirls are shooting 78.5-percent at the free-throw line in 2022-23, a mark that leads the Mountain West and is ninth-best in the nation.
Through six conference games this season, the Cowgirls are averaging 67.3 points per game and are shooting 47.3-percent from the field. Cowgirl opponents are shooting 41.1-percent and are averaging 62.5 per contest. Pedersen leads the Cowgirls in MW play in scoring at 12.3 points per game and is shooting 56-percent.
Fertig, meanwhile, is at 12.2 points, 7.7 boards and two blocks per in league contests. Wyoming’s five-game winning streak is its longest since a six-game streak to close the 2020-21 regular season and the Mountain West Tournament.
Conference-leading and defending Mountain West champion, UNLV, enters Thursday’s contest on an eight-game winning streak.
The Lady Rebels are led by reigning Mountain West Player of the Year, Desi-Rae Young’s 18 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Young also leads UNLV with 32 steals and nine blocks in 2022-23 and is shooting 63-percent from the floor. Essence Booker is second on the team in scoring at 12.7 points per game and leads the Lady Rebels with 68 assists.
Justice Ethridge, who, along with Young, are the only two Lady Rebels to have started in all 19 game this season, is averaging 8.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and is third on the team with 43 assists.
UNLV has a potent offensive attack, averaging 77.7 points per game and is shooting over 45-percent from the floor and 32-percent from 3-point range. Lady Rebel opponents average 65.1 points per contest and are shooting 41-percent overall and 32-percent from beyond-the-arc.
UNLV is averaging over 39 rebounds per game and has out-rebounded opponents by nearly eight boards per contest. UNLV’s only two losses this season have come on the road.
Wyoming holds the slimmest of leads in the all-time series, 28-27, against UNLV. The Cowgirls are 18-7 all-time against the Lady Rebels in Laramie, including winning each of the last eight at home.
Last season, the Cowgirls defeated UNLV, 77-73 inside the Arena-Auditorium. The Lady Rebels defeated the Cowgirls 73-67 December 29 in Las Vegas to open Mountain West play, which was UW’s last loss.
In nine career games against UNLV, Weidemann is averaging 13.3 points per game, is shooting nearly 55-percent from the field and 51.2-percent from 3-point range. Weidemann had 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting in that December loss.