* University of Wyoming Athletics media relations release

LARAMIE -- Allyson Fertig assisted Grace Ellis on a game-winning layup with 2.7 seconds left Saturday afternoon as the Wyoming Cowgirls escaped with a thrilling, 57-54 victory over Air Force inside the Arena-Auditorium.

Wyoming (6-7, 2-2 MW) went up 54-49 with 25 seconds left on a pair of McKinley Bradshaw free throws and looked to be in control. But, like it did the whole game, the Falcons (8-8, 2-3 MW) would respond, first with a Cierra Winters jumper and then a game-tying 3-pointer off a Cowgirl turnover with under 10 seconds to play from Lauren McDonald.

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After UW called a timeout to advance the ball into the frontcourt, the ball was knocked out-of-bounds off Air Force underneath the hoop. Ellis would inbound the ball to Fertig, who got doubled by the Falcons who then found Ellis underneath the hoop for the lay-in.

“To Allyson’s credit, there was a lot of contact, but she was able to go up and get (the ball), keep her balance and then Grace was able to get in and get the shot up,” UW head coach Gerald Mattinson said postgame.

AFA would throw the ball away on its succeeding inbounds pass and then fouled Ellis with 0.3 second to play. Ellis would go on to hit the second free throw and the Falcons would not get a shot off before time expired.

Fertig collected her third double-double of the season as she scored 13 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Fertig shot 4-of-5 from the floor and 5-of-6 at the free-throw line. Ellis finished the game with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting as well.

Bradshaw led the way with 20 points and hit a pair of 3-pointers to go along with five boards and two assists. It’s the second consecutive game Bradshaw has eclipsed 20 points and the sixth time in her career, including the third time this season.

Quinn Weidemann chipped in with seven, despite fouling out for just the second time in 100 career games in the Brown & Gold. Weidemann also had four assists, a pair of blocks and a steal in the win. Alba Sanchez Ramos added six points and grabbed nine boards while Tommi Olson had nine boards of her own, three assists and three steals.

“I thought there was a stretch in the fourth quarter where we played well offensively. We got them off-balance and moved the ball around and got the ball inside a couple of times. But like I said, Air Force is not going to go away. I give them credit, they made tough shots. If you would have asked me, ‘you’re going to turn the ball over 26 times and give up 21 points at the free-throw line, do you think you could win?’ No. But we did and that’s why I say today, a win is a win,” continued Mattinson.

The Cowgirls only trailed once in the game, despite Air Force fighting back and keeping it close. The Falcons got the game’s opening hoop before a 10-0 run from Wyoming forced an Air Force timeout in the first quarter with 5:09. The Falcons would get to within five in the frame as the Cowgirls carried a 15-9 lead after one.

In the second, Wyoming went up eight to begin the frame on a Fertig layup, but Air Force would battle back to within a three-point deficit later in the quarter and would get a hoop to cut the UW lead down to 24-20 with 1:55 remaining in the half as neither team would score the rest of the quarter as the Cowgirls carried that four-point advantage into halftime.

To begin the third, Wyoming would go on a 10-2 run to push the margin to its largest of the game, 34-22 with 6:55 to play on a Bradshaw 3-pointer. From there however, the Falcons would find some offense and closed the gap to just two, 41-39 heading to the fourth.

In the fourth, the Falcons would tie the game three separate times, but the Cowgirls would never relinquish the lead and led by as many as six with 1:24 remaining on a Sanchez Ramos free throw.

The Cowgirls shot nearly 43-percent from the floor in the win (18-for-42) and made four 3-pointers while the Falcons were held to just 26.8-percent (15-for-56) overall and 3-for-11 (27.3-percent) from beyond-the-arc. AFA hit 21-of-28 at the free-throw line and scored 24 points off Cowgirl turnovers. UW hit 17-of-26 (65.4-percent) at the line and scored just three points on only eight Air Force turnovers.

Despite a 47-26 rebounding margin, the Cowgirls were out-scored on second-chance points 12-8 but had a 28-16 advantage in points in the paint.

The Cowgirls will now hit the road for a pair of games next week as they travel to face Boise State January 19 at 6:30 p.m. UW will close-out the week Jan. 22 at Utah State.

“I’m looking forward for the girls tomorrow to get iced, rehab and then we have two days now where we can work on some things finally,” continued Mattinson.

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