Fertig, Mellema Lead Cowgirls Past Rams in a Thriller
* University of Wyoming press release
LARAMIE -- Emily Mellema racked up a career-high 25 points and Allyson Fertig became the 28th member of the 1,000-Point Club in program history as the duo led the Wyoming Cowgirls to a thrilling, come-from-behind victory over Colorado State Saturday, 67-63.
The Cowgirls trailed by as many as 10, late in the third quarter and were down seven heading into the fourth.
“The biggest thing I kept telling them was that it wasn’t over, there was still a lot of game left,” said Head Coach Heather Ezell postgame.
“We knew that we would get some opportunities offensively, and some good looks that we would need to capitalize on, but we knew it was going to come down to getting stops.”
The two teams opened by trading 3-pointers back-and-forth as the Cowgirls held an early 6-3 lead. After that, the two defenses stepped up as the score was just 6-5 at the first quarter media timeout.
Following the timeout, CSU went on a run and built a 17-10 lead by the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Cowgirls opened with the first eight points before, six of which came via Mellema 3-pointers as UW took an 18-17 lead. The Rams would respond back though and went back up 21-18 at the second media.
Out of the media timeout, Mellema’s fourth 3-pointer of the half, knotted things at 21-21 before Colorado State again went on a run to go up 30-24 before another Mellema three. CSU led 30-27 at halftime.
The second half began with back-to-back hoops from Fertig as Wyoming took a lead that lasted until the Rams’ next possession. Another Fertig layup the next time down the floor tied things at 33-33 as Colorado State called a timeout with 7:57 left in the third.
After the timeout, Fertig again started going to work as her three-point play pushed Wyoming out in front. Again, though, the Rams responded and regained the lead 43-38 later in the quarter, forcing a UW timeout with 4:43 left in the frame. After the timeout, a McKinley Dickerson mid-range jumper got the deficit down to three, but the Ram offense proved too tough the rest of the quarter.
Colorado State led 50-43 after three.
Mellema opened the fourth with her sixth 3-pointer of the game before her spinning layup got the deficit down to just 50-48. After back-to-back layups from Mellema and Fertig, CSU called a timeout with 7:04 left with the score tied 52-52. After two free throws from both teams, the Rams got a basket as Wyoming called a timeout trailing 56-54 with 2:59 remaining.
Following the timeout, a Malene Pedersen layup tied things back up. A Fertig layup gave the Cowgirls a two-point lead from there, before a Tess Barnes 3-pointer rattled home and Wyoming went up 61-56 with 59 seconds left to play as Colorado State called a timeout.
CSU got a layup out of the timeout, but Mellema drained another 3-pointer, and it was 64-58 Cowgirls with 29 seconds left as the Rams called another timeout. Colorado State hit a three of its own after the timeout which was followed by a pair of Cowgirl free throws.
After CSU got a pair of their own at the line, it was UW’s turn for a timeout with 10.6 seconds left. Fertig hit one at the line and then Colorado State missed a corner 3-pointer as the Wyoming comeback was complete.
Mellema hit a career-best nine field goals and seven 3-pointers in the victory while also grabbing three rebounds and setting a career-high with six assists. Fertig, who became the 13th Cowgirl to reach 1,000 points during her junior season, shot 6-of-9 from the floor and finished with 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Fertig became the first Wyoming native since Kayla Woodward (2015) with 1,000 career points.
“The best thing about Emily’s game tonight was she still found a way to dish out six assists. She found openings and ways to get her teammates involved.”
Barnes finished the game with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting from the floor and hit a pair of 3-pointers despite spending much of the game in foul trouble. It marks the seventh time in the last eight games that Barnes has hit multiple 3-pointers.
Ola Ustowska hit a big 3-pointer at the end of the third for the Cowgirls and set a career-high with nine rebounds of her own in the contest. Dickerson and Maren McKenna accounted for all nine of UW’s bench points. McKenna hit four big-time free throws in the win.
Overall, the Cowgirls ended up shooting an even 50-percent from the floor, including 60-percent in the second half. CSU shot 40-percent for the game and went 9-of-28 from beyond-the-arc.
The Cowgirls made a season-best 11 3-pointers on 27 attempts (40.7-percent). Wyoming went 8-for-10 at the free-throw line while the Rams were a perfect 10-of-10.
UW ended up outscoring Colorado State in the paint, 24-22, despite trailing mightily in that category at halftime. The Cowgirls had a 6-2 edge in second-chance points while the Rams had a 16-10 advantage in points off turnovers. Wyoming out-rebounded the Rams 33-25 on the day.
Next up, the Cowgirls will play their second consecutive home game as Air Force comes to town for a Wednesday night game. UW hosts the Falcons at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 24.