Clutch Free Throws Propel No. 21 Wyoming Past New Mexico in The Pit

Jan. 9, 2008


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The nationally ranked Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team (13-1, 1-0) opened up the Mountain West Conference season with a six point victory, 58-52, against the New Mexico Lobos (8-6 overall, 0-1 in MWC) on Wednesday night in Albuquerque.

It's the first time since January 14, 1995 that the Cowgirls have defeated New Mexico in Albuquerque. The score of that game was 78-53.

"At halftime we talked about believing," said UW head coach Joe Legerski." You have to believe you can get a victory in a very difficult environment. The team held their composure and made their free throws down the stretch. It was just a tremendous effort by a happy group of Cowgirls."

Wyoming (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) was led in scoring by senior Hanna Zavecz with 14 points. She also had five assists and four steals. Zavecz was followed by Jodi Bolerjack with 11 points and Justyna Podziemska and Megan McGuffey with nine. Podziemska and Dominique Sisk led the team with six boards each. The Cowgirls shot 17-47 (.362) from the field and 17-24 (.708) from the free throw line.

With her 14-point effort Zavecz is now tied for sixth place on Wyoming's all-time scoring list. She passed Lori Kline in seventh place with 1,521 points and tied Marie Kauffman at 1,526. Prior to the game Zavecz was in eighth place with 1,512 points.

UNM was led by Dionne Marsh with a game high 24 points and seven rebounds. Amy Beggin added seven points and Eileen Weissmann had six. The Lobos were 18-48 (.375) from the field and 15-16 (.938) from the free throw line.

To begin the game Marsh would score the first four points for the Lobos as it took the Cowgirls a couple of minutes to score. New Mexico would answer with a 6-2 scoring run to extend the lead to six, 10-4. A three-point field goal by Bolerjack would pull UW to within three, 10-7. Six straight points by the Lobos put the led back to nine points, 16-7, as the Cowgirls went over four minutes without scoring. A Podziemska basket started an 8-4 run to bring Wyoming to within five, 20-15, through the second media time-out. McGuffey would hit a shot out of the break to make it a two point game, 20-18, but two free throws by UNM put them up 22-18. Wyoming continued to struggle from the field as they scored only two points in the final six minutes. The Lobos would score a couple of baskets and take a 26-20 lead in to the locker room.

At the half Wyoming was led by Zavecz with seven points, while Bolerjack followed with six. Podziemska recorded a team high four rebounds. The Cowgirls shot just 8-25 (.320) from the field and 2-10 (.200) from beyond the arc.

For UNM at the break Marsh led all scorers with 16 points, while several players added two points. Five players each brought down three rebounds. The Lobos were 10-26 (.385) from the field and 6-6 (1.00) from the free throw line.

The Cowgirls chipped into the New Mexico lead with an 8-4 scoring run through the first media timeout to pull within two, 30-28. A three-point field goal by Rebecca Vanderjagt gave the Cowgirls their first lead of the game, 31-30, but a free throw by Beggin evened it up at 31 all. This time Wyoming came back with five straight points to extend the lead to five, 36-31, however a couple of baskets by New Mexico made it a one point game 36-35. The Cowgirls responded by scoring the next 11 of 17 points to make the lead 47-41 with over five minutes in the game. A 7-1 run by New Mexico would pull the Lobos even with 2:45 left on the clock. Free throws by both teams and a basket by the Cowgirls made the score 52 all with 1:20 left in the game. With 1:02 left, Zavecz hit two key free throws and then UW went down and got a good defensive stop on the other end. With time winding on the clock, Sisk would get fouled and hit two free throws to make it a 56-62 lead. Another great defensive play on the Lobos gave the Cowgirls the ball and Sisk was fouled and sealed the 58-52 victory for the Cowgirls.

Wyoming will play their first home conference game of the season on Saturday, January 12, as they host the TCU Lady Frogs. Tip time for the game is set for 1:00 p.m. in the Arena Auditorium.