* University of Wyoming athletics media relations release

LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirls suffered their first setback of the season Saturday, dropping a defensive struggle with Wichita State, 57-48 in Laramie. Wyoming shot just 31.5 percent from the field in the loss, while WSU shot just 36.7 percent itself.

Wyoming got good looks from beyond-the-arc to begin the game, but hit just 1-of-4 from 3-point range in the game’s opening five minutes. However, the Cowgirls found their range later on in the period, thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Grace Ellis and McKinley Bradshaw as the Cowgirls led 13-6 with 3:39 to go in the first, leading to a Wichita State timeout. The rest of the quarter was a defensive struggle as neither team could score the rest of the frame.

Both teams continued to struggle offensively in the second, but the Shockers began to find their rhythm a bit in the quarter and went on a 6-0 run to cut the Wyoming lead to 15-14, before an Alba Sanchez Ramos layup ended the Cowgirl drought. UW led 19-17 at the second quarter media.

An Asia Strong 3-pointer with just over two minutes to play in the half, gave the Shockers their first lead since it was 2-0 to open the game. The Cowgirls were held to just six points in the second and trailed at the break, 20-19 as they went the final four minutes without scoring in the half.

UW shot just 29 percent (7-of-24) in the first 20 minutes and went 3-for-15 from beyond-the-arc. Wichita shot just 9-of-34 (26.5 percent) and went 2-of-10 from three. The Cowgirls also had nine turnovers in the first half.

The Shockers came out of the half strongly, scoring the half’s first five to extend their lead to 25-19, but back-to-back layups from Bradshaw cut the deficit down to 25-23. Bradshaw scored the Cowgirls’ first seven points in the second half as UW trailed 27-26 at the third quarter media timeout with 4:39 to play.

Outside of Bradshaw, who had 10 points in the third, the Cowgirls continued to struggle in finding an offensive rhythm in the quarter and trailed 37-31 heading into the final 10 minutes.

The Cowgirls continued to miss shots in the fourth quarter, while the Shockers hit timely shots as they extended their lead in the final quarter and led by as many as 12 down the stretch to head home with the win.

Bradshaw led all scorers with 22 points on the day, her fourth career 20-plus point performance. Bradshaw went 9-for-15 from the floor and hit a trio of 3-pointers in the loss. Ellis set new career-highs in both points and rebounds for the second consecutive game to open the season. Ellis was the only other Cowgirl in double figures as she scored 13 and, along with Sanchez Ramos, grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Wichita outscored Wyoming 18-7 in points off turnovers on the day, as the Cowgirls committed 14 turnovers while WSU had 10 turnovers. The Shocker bench also outscored the UW reserves, 14-2 in the game. Wyoming did have a 24-16 advantage in points in the paint in the loss.

“We got to be able to step up and make those open looks,” said head coach Gerald Mattinson postgame. “We’re able to score the ball in practice, but practice is practice. You have to be able to carry it over and step up to get it done out here.”

The Cowgirls now hit the road for the first time this season, making a trip east to face Kansas City at 5 p.m., Mountain November 18.

“On the road next week, we’ve got to work offensively,” Mattinson said. “I’ve got to do a better job on that, I’ve got to find something that will allow us to score in games. We score in practice, but not in games and we’ve got to find some things.”

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