Offensive Clinic Leads Cowgirls Past Nevada, 81-66
* University of Wyoming press release
LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirls shot a season-high 59-percent from the field and scored a season-best 81 points in route to an 81-66 victory Thursday night over Nevada in Laramie. Allyson Fertig, Malene Pedersen and Quinn Weidemann combined for 58 points on 24-for-35 shooting on the night.
The Cowgirls (19-9, 12-5 MW) got off to a slow start offensively as the game’s first five minutes was very physical. UW’s first five points came from its centers before a Weidemann 3-pointer tied things at 8-8. Nevada led 10-8 at the first quarter media timeout. Following the timeout, the Wolf Pack hit a jumper to go up four, which was subsequently followed by a 6-0 run from the Cowgirls, giving them their first lead of the game, 14-12. The run continued up to nine-straight on a Tess Barnes 3-pointer before Nevada answered with a mini 5-2 stretch to end the first and the Cowgirls led 19-17 after one.
Nevada opened the second with a free throw before a 6-0 run from Wyoming forced a timeout with 6:56 to go in the half and UW leading 25-18. Out of the timeout, the run continued for the Cowgirls as they built the lead up to double-digits, 29-18. After the Wolf Pack got consecutive hoops, UW pushed the lead back out to 37-22 with 2:13 left in the quarter, forcing another Nevada timeout. A pair of Fertig layups continued the run before Nevada finally stopped the bleeding with a jumper. Fertig would beat the buzzer with a mid-range jumper of her own and the Cowgirls led 43-24 at the half.
Both teams came out strong to open the second half, trading baskets back-and-forth as UW was out in front, 56-34 at the third quarter media timeout. Out of the timeout, the Cowgirls continued their strong play as they led 62-38 before the Wolf Pack hit a three and called their third timeout of the game with 1:37 to go in the quarter. The timeout didn’t help matters much as Wyoming led 68-44 after three.
Things didn’t change much to begin the fourth quarter as Wyoming maintained a 72-49 lead at the media timeout. The Cowgirls kept the pressure up after the timeout as the Wolf Pack struggled to get the deficit to under 20 points. The final three minutes UW brought the reserves in as Nevada got to within 15 points, but things were well in hand at that point.
“I have the give all the credit to my staff,” UW head coach Heather Ezell said postgame. “They had this team so ready, and I didn’t have to worry about things while I was away, because I knew they had this thing under control. Our kids started a little slow but that second quarter was what we like to see and we really got it going. It was nice to stretch that lead.”
Fertig closed the night with a game-high 23 points, her third consecutive and fourth time in the last five contests where she’s scored 20-or-more points. Fertig shot 11-of-14 from the floor, grabbed nine rebounds, handed out a pair of assists and had a block in the victory. Pedersen, meanwhile, finished with 19 on 7-of-13 shooting and tied a career-best with nine rebounds while also recording three assists. Tommi Olson led UW with five assists on the night and didn’t commit a turnover. It was the sixth time this season Olson has handed-out five-or-more assists. As a team, the Cowgirls tied a season-high by recording 23 assists on 33 made field goals.
Weidemann had 16 points on an extremely efficient 6-of-8 shooting while hitting all three of her 3-point attempts on the night. Off the bench, Marta Savic scored eight on 4-of-5 from the floor and had three assists and a pair of rejections. Emily Mellema added seven as well off the bench as Cowgirl reserves scored 18 in the win.
Wyoming outscored the Wolf Pack 50-26 in points in the paint and had an 11-5 advantage on second-chance points. The Cowgirls had a plus-14 advantage on the glass and hit two more 3-pointers. Nevada shot 42.6-percent (26-61) from the field.
The Cowgirls now shift their attention to Saturday’s regular season finale as Border Rival Colorado State comes to town for a 7:30 p.m., tip. Saturday’s contest will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 in what will be Wyoming’s first nationally televised regular season game since 2012. Saturday will also be Senior Night at the Arena-Auditorium as a pair of all-time Cowgirls will be playing their final home games for the Brown & Gold in Tommi Olson and Quinn Weidemann.