* University of Wyoming Athletics media relations release

LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirls played their first game in nearly two weeks Thursday night in Laramie as they hosted New Mexico at the Arena-Auditorium. The New Mexico offense proved to be too much on the night as the Lobos shot 57.6-percent from the floor and hit 13-of-25 3-pointers on their way to a 85-76 victory.

New Mexico came out firing, hitting its first five shots of the game and eight of its first nine overall to open and led 19-12 at the game’s first media timeout. After the media timeout, the Lobos picked up where they left off and led 26-17 after one. UNM shot 11-of-15 in the opening quarter, including hitting four from 3-point range.

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In the second quarter, the Cowgirl defense began to knock the rust off a bit but couldn’t get shots to start falling as an 8-2 run to begin the quarter from UNM forced a Cowgirl timeout with 6:24 remaining in the half, trailing 34-19. The Lobos continued to shoot the lights out in the second, but UW was able to whittle the deficit down to 46-32 at halftime.

The second half began with five consecutive points from McKinley Bradshaw after UNM opened the half with a hoop. The Cowgirls got a bunch of good looks from 3-point land in the frame but couldn’t get them to fall until Ola Ustowska’s 3-pointer with five minutes left in the quarter, cut the Cowgirl deficit down to 50-42. Out of the third quarter media, the Lobos got five straight to push the lead back up to 13.

The Cowgirls would battle their way back a couple of times in the frame, going on mini runs, but each time the Lobos would respond with a big hoop and carried a 65-54 lead into the fourth.

The Lobos opened the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers, pretty much dashing any hope of a Cowgirl comeback from there. Wyoming got to within 12 with just over five minutes to play thanks to Grace Ellis’ put back, three-point play, but the UNM offense was too much as they once again had an answer the next time down the floor.

The Cowgirls forced a timeout with 3:49 to play as they whittled the deficit down to 10 thanks to an Ostowska top-of-the-key 3-pointer and a Bradshaw reverse layup, but that was as close as they would get down the stretch until Ellis’ 3-pointer with 11 seconds to play. UW missed five consecutive shots down the stretch at one point while trying to cut into the late deficit.

“New Mexico came in, playing as good as anyone right now in the league and they haven’t had a break and you could tell,” UW head coach Gerald Mattinson said postgame. “To their credit, they made shots. Every time we made a run, they had an answer for us. Give them credit for that.”

Bradshaw led the Cowgirls by tying a career-high with 27 points, her fifth career 20-point effort. Ellis and Ustowska were also in double figures, scoring 14 points each in the loss. The 14 points for Ellis set a new career-high scoring mark for her. Tommi Olson added five points, pulled down six boards, tallied five steals and had three assists with no turnovers. It was Olson’s seventh game this season without committing a turnover.

UW got the job done on the offensive end, shooting nearly 42 percent (28-for-67) in the game while also tying a season-best with 11 made 3-pointers (36.7 percent). The Cowgirl bench outscored UNM’s 34-12 on the evening while the Cowgirls also had a 15-7 advantage in second-chance points, thanks to 16 offensive rebounds. The Lobos had a slight edge in points in the paint (38-34) and points off turnovers (14-13).

“We scored 76 points, made 11 3-pointers, I’m not happy with the loss, but I’m happy with us hanging in and I’m happy that we’re scoring points still,” Mattinson added.

The Cowgirls now look to rebound as they close out their week at home in a Saturday contest at 2 p.m., as Air Force comes to Laramie.

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