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Cowgirls impress offensively and on the glass in 78–69 win

The Cowgirls started off the second half strong offensively, taking their biggest lead of the game to that point, 49-35 early in the third. (University of Wyoming Cowgirls Basketball Twitter)

Wyoming shoots 51%, is plus-20 rebounding. Ellis and Pedersen score 19 each.

LARAMIE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Cowgirls used a 15–0 run in the first quarter and were able to hang onto the lead the rest of the way in a complete offensive effort Thursday night, developing into a 78–69 victory over New Mexico. UW shot nearly 51% from the floor and out-rebounded the Lobos by 20 in the win.

Wyoming (9–5, 2–1 MW) started off the game going just 1-for-6 and missing a pair of free throws as New Mexico held an early 7–5 lead before back-to-back hoops from the Cowgirls pushed them in front, 10–7, beginning the big scoring run. After a second 3-pointer from Quinn Weidemann and then a Grace Ellis fastbreak layup, UW built the lead up to 15–7. Wyoming continued its 15–0 run, leading to a UNM (9–6, 1–1 MW) timeout with 3:04 left as the Cowgirls were up 19–7. After the timeout, New Mexico would respond with a 7–2 run of its own before UW got the points right back with two consecutive layups. The Cowgirls led 25–14 after the first.

In the second, both teams opened by trading baskets before the Lobos started to find their rhythm offensively and the Cowgirls went cold and had untimely turnovers. Wyoming would regain its footing a bit, however, and led 36–29 at the media timeout with just 2:50 left in the first half. Wyoming ended the half with a 6–0 run after a Lobo 3-pointer and carried a 42–32 lead into the locker room.

The Cowgirls started off the second half strong offensively, taking their biggest lead of the game to that point, 49–35 early in the third. After that, back-to-back hoops from UW made the lead 56–39, prompting a New Mexico timeout with 4:37 left in the quarter. Out of the timeout, the Lobos got it going on the offensive end and cut the Cowgirl lead down to 60–49 before UW again responded, scoring five of the quarter’s final seven points and taking a 65–51 lead into the fourth quarter.

UNM started finding a rhythm on both ends of the court and cut the Cowgirl lead down to just 67–59 with under seven minutes to play. But, as they did all night, Wyoming responded with the next five points to build the lead back up to 72–59 with 5:07 left to play. Following a Wyoming timeout, the Lobos would go on another run, this time 7–0 to make the deficit just 72–66 before the Cowgirls got the lead back up to double digits with consecutive layups and forced a New Mexico timeout with 2:18 left and a score of 76–66.

After the timeout, the two teams would exchange hoops before a couple of big defensive stops from the Cowgirls all but sealed it. UW took care of the basketball the final minute and ran out the clock to hang on for the victory.

“The easy baskets that we got when we broke their press late helped a bunch,” said associate head coach Ryan Larsen postgame.

“The first quarter without a turnover was awesome. I thought that we were feeling pretty good about ourselves there offensively. We wanted to play fast in the full court but I thought that we got caught playing to their tempo in the half-court later in the game, which led to some of those turnovers a little bit.”

Ellis and Pedersen led the Cowgirls offensively with 19 points each. The 19 points from Ellis are a career-high for her and came on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor. Ellis also tallied nine rebounds for the second consecutive game and had a block defensively. Pedersen, meanwhile, shot 7-of-9 from the field overall and hit two of her three 3-point attempts. Weidemann also finished in double figures for the Cowgirls as she had 10 points to go along with five assists, a block and a steal.

Allyson Fertig finished the game just a hoop shy of her fifth double-double on the season as she closed the night with eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Marta Savic also got it done inside off the bench in the win, finishing a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and recording eight points, four rebounds and a pair of assists. Tommi Olson had a stellar all-around game from her point guard position. Olson finished with five points, six rebounds, seven assists, three steals and no turnovers. For the game, the Cowgirls committed just nine turnovers as a team.

UW finished the game going 32-for-63 and hit 7-of-20 from 3-point range. The Lobos shot 28-for-57 and made 10-of-29 3-pointers. Wyoming finished with 41 rebounds, 15 of which came on the offensive glass, leading to a 13–3 advantage in second-chance points on the night. The Cowgirls also had 50 points in the paint to UNM’s 34. Wyoming also had an edge (9–4) in points off turnovers.

“I thought we were really poised offensively tonight. I’m glad we got that lead early and maintained it mostly, so that we could remain calm toward the end once they started to cut into it a little bit,” Larsen said.

Next up, the Cowgirls begin a three-game road trip as they travel to Air Force for a 6:30 p.m. contest Jan. 11. Wyoming will play three games in six days on the road swing and five games in 11 days over the next stretch.