UW knocks off 4-time defending MW champs, punches ticket to title
LAS VEGAS -- It's been 1,827 days since the Boise State women's basketball team has lost a game in the Mountain West Tournament.
That was a first-round loss to host-school UNLV back on March 8, 2016.
Since, the Broncos have won 13 consecutive contests inside the Thomas and Mack Center during tourney time, including a 68-51 victory over Wyoming in the 2019 title tilt. Boise State also knocked off the Cowgirls in last year's semifinal round en route to their fourth straight conference crown.
That is all a distant memory now.
The Wyoming Cowgirls punched their ticket to tomorrow night's Mountain West Championship game after knocking off their old nemesis 53-38 Tuesday night in Sin City.
Gerald Mattinson's squad will snag the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament -- the Cowgirls first since 2008 -- if it can get it's fourth win in four nights, this time against Fresno State.
How did Wyoming get here?
Holding No. 6 Boise State to just 28% shooting didn't hurt. The Broncos were 0-10 from beyond the arc, too. Couple that with a suffocating defensive effort from UW, which forced 23 turnovers and a tournament-and-program record nine steals from Worland's Tommi Olson, and you have a 15-point upset.
How dominating was the performance? Boise State hasn't netted less than 40 points since 2002.
“These guys responded tonight," Mattinson said postgame. "The effort they put out for 40 minutes, I can’t speak highly enough about them or highly enough about the staff
“I’m proud of our whole program, that includes our medical staff. I take my hat off to everybody in our program.”
Dagny Davidsdottir nailed 7-of-10 shots from the field and finished with a game-high 15 points. She also hauled in six rebounds in the win. Quinn Weidemann netted 10 points and Alba Sanchez Ramos added nine, all of which came in the second half.
Much like last night, both teams were out-of-sorts on the offensive end to begin the game as the Cowgirls had a narrow 4-0 lead after the first five minutes of play. The second part of the opening quarter didn’t get much better offensively for either team as the Cowgirls led 7-4 after the first.
Back-to-back steals leading to fast-break layups began the second quarter for the Cowgirls as they went up 11-4 early in the frame. A Ola Ustowska three-pointer with just under five minutes to play in the half pushed the UW advantage to 15-4. After a Boise State pull-up jumper, the Broncos took a timeout with 3:55 to play in the first half. BSU went on a little 6-0 run before a Weidemann triple ended the run.
The Broncos got a jumper as time expired in the quarter and the Cowgirls took an 18-12 lead into halftime.
Both teams came out stronger offensively to begin the second half as both hit three of their first four shots in the third. The Broncos got the UW advantage down to four points, but a Weidemann three-pointer with 5:11 left in the quarter capped a 7-0 Cowgirl run and led to a Boise State timeout with UW out in front, 29-18.
The Cowgirls would extend their lead to an even bigger margin late in the quarter, 43-25, thanks to a Jaye Johnson triple with 31 seconds left in the frame. Davidsdottir and Sanchez Ramos were huge in the third as the two scored eight and seven points, respectively in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
In the fourth, Wyoming got its lead up to as many as 20 points early on before the Broncos would try to go on a run. Every time Boise State seemed to gain traction, the Cowgirls would respond with a timely score.
Olson had another stellar all-around game against the Broncos, netting four points, four assists and six boards. Wyoming shot 37% in the win and made 6-of-17 from beyond-the-arc.
Boise State had a slight edge on the evening in points in the paint (24-22), but the Cowgirls had more fast-break points (10-4), more second-chance points (9-4) and more points off turnovers (23-11).
“I don’t know what the result of the game tomorrow will be, but what I know -- because it's happened all year -- I know that these women will give everything that they have to do the best that they can," Mattinson said. "They will play until they are completely and 100% exhausted.
"The win or the loss will take care of itself. I’m just proud of what they’ve done and I know they will show up and represent who we are and who they are tomorrow.”
The Cowgirls now set their sights on Wednesday night’s prize as they will face fourth-seeded Fresno State at 9 p.m., Mountain Time and will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network.
* The University of Wyoming contributed to this report