Jan. 16, 2003
Salt Lake City, Utah - In their opening game of the Mountain West Conference season, the Wyoming Cowgirl Basketball Team (10-4 overall, 0-1 MWC) fell short in the opener to Utah Utes (11-3 overall, 1-0 MWC) by a final of 63-47, on Thursday night, in Salt Lake City.
After the Utes opened up the game with a three-point basket by Kim Smith, the Cowgirls scored the next eight points to take an early lead 8-3, but Utah answered back with six straight points of their own to regain the lead 9-8. A basket by Ann McColl at the 12 minute mark gave the Cowgirls a one point advantage, but that was the last time they would lead in the half as Utah went on a 15-0 run and Wyoming went almost seven minutes without a basket. But the Cowgirls continued to battle in the final minutes of the half, as they outscored the Utes 13-9 to go into halftime only down 33-25.
Senior Ann McColl led the Cowgirls with eight points and three rebounds, while as a team Wyoming shot 10-23 (.435) from the field. The top scorer for Utah was Shona Thornburn with nine and Mandie Little was the top rebounder with eight. The Utes were 15-34 (.441) from the field.
Wyoming opened up the second half strong as they scored the first six of eight points to close within four, 35-31, but a 12-2 answer from the Utes had them taking another double-digit lead 47-33. It would be a defensive battle over the next several minutes with not a lot of points scored between the two teams and the Cowgirls couldn't seem to make up any ground in the scoring column. It wasn't until a three-point shot by senior Carrie Bacon really seem to turn momentum in the Cowgirls favor as they ran off six straight to pull within six. Unfortunately for Wyoming that would be as close as they would get as free throws in the final minutes of the game sealed the 63-47 victory for Utah.
"I just thought they did a great job on us defensively," said head coach Cindy Fisher. "It really forced some of the kids into bad shots. We really rushed our shots and didn't execute in the halfcourt, but we just need to come up with some things in order to get people open. I thought the positive was how we came out in the second half, fought back and pulled within six. We just have to realize that we need to take care of the ball and have second effort. This game was really won on the offensive end of the glass, they had ten points on put backs and that could have been the turnaround point in the game."
Ann McColl was both the leading scorer and rebounder with ten points and six rebounds, while Brenda Pickup and Darci Arsene both finished with eight points. As a team, the Cowgirls shot 18-49 (.367) from the field, but were just 2-10 (.200) from the three-point line and 9-14 (.643) from the charity stripe.
For the Utes, freshman Shona Thornburn led all scorers with 19 points, four assists and two blocks. Mandie Little was the games leading rebounder with 14. Utah was 22-54 (.407) from the field, 15-18 (.833) from the charity stripe and outrebounded the Cowgirls 38-30. Also for Utah it was head coach Elaine Elliott's 400th career coaching victory.
The Cowgirls will continue conference play on the road against the Brigham Young Cougars, on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., in Provo.