* University of Wyoming press release

LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirls welcomes Air Force to the Arena-Auditorium Saturday at 2 p.m., to close out the week. Saturday will be the fifth annual “Bounce Cancer” Game. The Bounce Cancer Walk begins at noon on the AA Concourse with registration beginning at 11:30 a.m. Proceeds from the walk will go to the Ivinson Memorial Hospital Cancer Center.

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Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on the Mountain West Network and can be heard across the Cowgirl Radio Network with David Settle on the call.

Wyoming (16-8, 9-4 MW) is coming off a solid performance Thursday against Utah State at home, smothering the Aggies, 70-48. UW held USU to just 26-percent shooting from the field in the win and just two points in the first quarter, allowing the only points in the frame at the free-throw line.

The Cowgirls, who notched a season-best 51 rebounds on the night, also tallied 10 blocks in the victory. It marked the first time that Wyoming has recorded 10 blocks in a single game since 2010. Tess Barnes and Allyson Fertig recorded four blocks each. The four blocks are a career-best for Barnes, as were her eight rebounds against the Aggies.

Fertig was nearly perfect from the field on the night, shooting 8-for-8 from the floor and making 6-of-7 at the free-throw line. Fertig recorded her second 20-point game of the season and fourth of her career as she went for 22 points in the contest. In three career games against Utah State, Fertig is now averaging 18 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 21-of-26 (80.8-percent) from the field and is 12-for-15 (80-percent) at the charity stripe.

Defensively, Fertig has averaged 2.3 blocks and a steal per contest against USU.

Malene Pedersen also finished in double figures Thursday, finishing with 12 points while adding six boards and three assists. Pedersen, who went 4-for-4 at the line, is now shooting 96.4-percent at the stripe in conference play.

Tommi Olson did go perfect from the field against the Aggies, having an all-around solid night with nine points, on 3-of-3 shooting, including hitting a 3-pointer and making a pair at the line. Olson also added five rebounds and had three assists in the win.

In Mountain West play in 2022-23, Fertig leads the Cowgirls with 13.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game on 59-percent shooting. Fertig also averages 2.1 blocks per contest, which ranks third-best in the league. Quinn Weidemann and Pedersen also are averaging in double figures in conference action this season with 10.9 and 10.8 points per game, respectively. As a team, UW is averaging over 66 points per game and is shooting over 45-percent from the floor and 80.5-percent as a team at the free-throw line in MW play.

Air Force has a pair of top scorers in Kamri Heath and Madison Smith, who average 13.3 and 13.2 points per game, respectively. Heath leads the Falcons with a 45.6-percent shooting percentage from the field this season while Smith leads the team with 32 made 3-pointers. On the glass, Kayla Pilson leads AFA with 4.6 rebounds per game while defensively, Jo Huntimer has a team-high 10 blocks and 52 steals. Huntimer’s 2.2 steals per game ranks third in the league as do her 4.5 assists per. Huntimer, along with Heath, are the only two Falcons to have started in all 24 games this season.

The Falcons shoot 39.7-percent from the floor and 32.1-percent from 3-point range in 2022-23. Defensively, opponents are shooting 46-percent from the field and just 30.9-percent from beyond-the-arc. Air Force leads the Mountain West in steals at 11.2 per contest. Opponents are committing nearly 20 turnovers a game this season against AFA. The Falcons are being out-rebounded by opponents by nearly seven boards per in 2022-23.

Wyoming leads the all-time series with the Falcons, 57-4 but seven of the last eight meetings have been decided by single digits with the last three decided by just one possession. The Cowgirls are 31-0 all-time in Laramie against Air Force. Earlier this season, the Cowgirls staged a late comeback on the road against the Falcons, winning 61-60 thanks to Olson’s second game-winner of her career.

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