Jan. 11, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Behind a career high effort of Kayla Woodward, the Cowgirl basketball team (5-10, 0-1 MW) fell short in their conference opener by three points, 54-51, against the UNLV Lady Rebels (13-4, 1-0 MW) on Wednesday night.
"We're growing as a group, we just have to learn how to finish," said head coach Joe Legerski. "We talked about defending home court, which is important in conference play. We had some chances tonight, but maybe turned the ball over with being a little nervous. Down the stretch, we had four freshmen and a junior on the court at the end of the game. I liked their effort and we're trying to get them to grow up quicker. We have to live and learn through these games and hopefully we can build upon it."
Woodward led the way with a career high 21 points while adding four rebounds and two assists in 38 minutes. Chaundra Sewell finished her night with ten points and four rebounds while Ashley Sickles recorded a career high nine rebounds. Wyoming shot 19-54 (.352) from the field and 9-13 (.692) from the free throw line.
"Kayla Woodward came out and played as aggressive as she's shown all season long. She shot the ball well and went to the boards. Jordan Sibrel gave us a big lift off the bench when Chaundra got in foul trouble, which was a big part of us having opportunities."
UNLV had three players in double figures led by junior Mia Bell. She had a team high 12 points, plus three assists on the night. Lenita Sanford and Markiell Styles each recorded ten points, while Sanford led the team in rebounding with eight. The Lady Rebels shot 22-56 (.393) from the field and out rebounded the Cowgirls by one, 39-38.
A Kayla Woodward three-point field got the Cowgirls on the board first which was answered with three straight by the Lady Rebels to tie it up. The two teams traded a couple of scores until a 5-2 run by Wyoming gave them a 12-9 lead. UNLV responded with ten unanswered to help them take their first lead of the game 19-12. Two baskets by Kayla Woodward ended a five minute scoring drought for UW to pull them to within three with 5:17 left in the half. UNLV scored seven of the next nine points to increase the lead back to eight, 26-18. The Cowgirls ran off five points of their own to make it a five point game, 28-23, but a shot at the buzzer gave the Lady Rebels a 30-23 advantage going into the lockerroom.
UNLV continued to maintain a seven to nine point lead through the first several minutes of the second half until they made a small 7-5 run to extend their advantage to ten, 41-31. Two baskets and a couple of free throws helped the Cowgirls chip away at the lead bringing them to within five, 42-37. The Lady Rebels ended the run with two Jamie Smith free throws plus a three-point shot by Mia Bell to go up eight, 47-39 with 9:17 remaining on the clock. There was no quit in the Cowgirls as they scored seven straight points to make it a one point game, 47-46. UNLV seemed to have a response again with free throws and a basket to regain a 51-46 lead. Wyoming gave it one final push as a layup from Ashley Sickles and two free shots by Kayla Woodward made it a one-point game, 51-50, with 1:42 left on the clock. After a made jumper by UNLV and a missed one by Wyoming, Bell hit one of two at the line give the Lady Rebels the lead 54-50. Ashley Sickles had a chance to pull the Cowgirls to within two, but missed on the second free throw. A turnover and a couple of missed shots made the Wyoming comeback fall short as UNLV went on to the 54-51 victory.
The Cowgirls go out on the road for the first time in conference play. They will take on the New Mexico Lobos, on Saturday, Jan. 14. The game is set to tip off at 2:00 p.m. in Albuquerque.