Cowgirls claim Border War victory in overtime
* University of Wyoming Athletics media relations release
LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirl seniors led the way on Senior Night Wednesday evening in the AA, as Wyoming rallied for a heart-stopping 69-63 overtime victory over Border Rival Colorado State.
The senior trio of Tommi Olson, Alba Sanchez Ramos and Quinn Weidemann combined for 42 points, 22 rebounds and 12 assists in the win.
“Like I just said on the radio, I’d have to go back and look to be sure, but I think the seniors accounted for 12 of our 14 points in overtime,” said UW head coach Gerald Mattinson. “What a huge effort from them and then you go down the line, Quinn has 17, Alba has 10 and 11 rebounds, seven assists. Then how about Tommi going 5-of-10 (from three).”
After a fast start from the Cowgirls (15-11, 11-6 MW), in which they hit their first three shots of the game, CSU responded with a 9-0 run and took a 13-8 lead heading into the first quarter media timeout with 3:14 remaining in the quarter. UW went on a five-plus minute scoring drought after taking the early lead in the frame but then responded with a big scoring run of its own.
The Cowgirls came out of the timeout going on a 10-0 run before a Rams 3-pointer ended the scoring in the quarter as the Cowgirls led 18-16 after one.
CSU opened the second with the first 11 points and took a 27-18 lead as Wyoming went scoreless the first seven-plus minutes of the frame. A Grace Ellis layup finally got the Cowgirls on the board in the frame, but UW only mustered four points in the second and trailed 29-22 at halftime.
The second half began the way the first ended, as the Cowgirl offense failed to get its rhythm. CSU opened its lead up to double digits, leading 35-25 with just over six minutes to play in the third. However, the Cowgirls would find their spark later in the frame, going on another big run to answer CSU’s run from the second quarter, scoring 11-straight to take a 36-35 with 3:18 to go, forcing a timeout by the Rams.
Following the timeout, the two teams traded a couple of buckets and the Cowgirls clung to a 41-40 lead after three complete.
The fourth quarter began with the two teams exchanging the lead back-and-forth before back-to-back 3-pointers from McKinley Bradshaw and Olson forced a CSU timeout with 4:47 remaining and the Cowgirls out front, 53-48.
After the timeout, the Rams went on a little run of their own and cut the Cowgirl lead down to just 55-54 with under 2:30 to go. Following a timeout from Colorado State, the Rams were able to tie the game up after a free throw with 1:30 to play. After a couple empty offensive possessions from both teams down the stretch, the game was sent to overtime.
Wyoming went cold down the stretch from the field in regulation, missing its final six shots and going the final 5:01 of the contest without making a field as its only two points came at the free-throw line.
In OT, the Cowgirls opened the scoring on Olson’s fourth 3-pointer of the night before CSU quickly answered with a three of its own. After another Olson three on UW’s next offensive possession, the Rams answered with a hoop, which was then answered by Sanchez Ramos’ putback as the action was back-and-forth in the extra frame. UW called a timeout with 1:26 to play and the Cowgirls out front 63-60.
Out of the timeout, both teams traded defensive stops before a pair of Bradshaw free throws forced the Rams to call timeout with 26 seconds left as the UW lead was pushed to 65-60.
After Colorado State hit 1-of-2 at the free-throw line, it was forced to foul Weidemann, and she calmly knocked down both. The Cowgirls got a stop on the other end and followed that up with another two freebies from Weidemann to salt the game away.
Olson led the way for UW with a career-high 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting and 5-of-10 from 3-point range on the night. She also added five rebounds, a trio of assists and a steal. It was also Olson’s ninth game this season that she hasn’t committed a turnover, as she continues to rank among the nation’s best in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Bradshaw and Weidemann both scored 15 in the win, while playing a team-high 43 minutes each. Weidemann finished the game with three 3-pointers and six boards while Bradshaw added a season-best four assists and had a block.
Sanchez Ramos, meanwhile, recorded her fourth career double-double Wednesday as she scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, set a new career-high with seven assists and also added a block and a steal defensively. Ellis and Emily Mellema each had six apiece off the bench in the win, with Ellis pulling down a career-best 11 rebounds of her own.
For the game, UW shot 37.1-percent from the floor and hit 12-of-31 from 3-point range. In the second half and overtime, the Cowgirls shot 40-percent from the field and hit 50-percent (8-16) from beyond-the-arc.
CSU (18-10, 9-9 MW) shot 44.6-percent for the game but made just five 3-pointers on the night. CSU also went 8-for-11 at the free-throw line but started the game 5-for-5. Wyoming, meanwhile, missed its first three at the charity stripe, but ended the game hitting 11-of-13 at the line.
The Cowgirls had a 9-0 advantage in second-chance points Wednesday and also scored nine points off turnovers to the Rams’ six. The Cowgirls also enjoyed a plus-10 rebounding margin and a 12-3 edge in bench points.
With the win, Wyoming secured the No. 3 seed at next week’s Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas. The Cowgirls will play the winner of the 6th and 11th seed game, featuring these same Rams and San Jose State. Tip-off of the tournament quarterfinals is set for 9:30 p.m., Mountain Time March 7.
“I think we’re playing well. We’re scoring some points. Right now, you just never know and that’s tournament time. I think there’s a lot of teams that can beat each other going into this tournament,” continued Mattinson.
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