Feb. 1, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team (15-5 overall, 6-2 in the MWC) snapped a 30-game losing streak with a 56-55 victory over the Utah Utes (14-7 overall, 7-1 in the MWC) on Thursday night in Laramie. It was the first victory over Utah for the Cowgirls since Feb. 23, 1990 when they earned a 69-66 win in Laramie. With the victory, the Cowgirls are also off to their best start in conference play in MWC history with a mark of 6-2 through the first eight games.
"I talked with the kids earlier today and the streak is not attached to a group of players, but to the University," said UW head coach Joe Legerski. "Most of these players were two to four years old the last time Wyoming beat Utah. That isn't their responsibility and we just needed to find a way to beat them and tonight we did that. I knew that it was going to be difficult. We got off to a great start, shot the ball well and played nice defense. I knew that Utah would come out in the second half and make a run at us. In the final ten minutes, we got tired as a team and that's when they made it. In the last time out, we talked to the team about stepping up and making a play. I thought Dominique (Sisk) had a big steal, Jodi (Bolerjack) to hit those free throws which gave us a four point lead and was enough for us to win."
Justyna Podziemska and Dominique Sisk both finished their night with a team leading 13 points followed by Jodi Bolerjack with 11. Podziemska topped off her night with seven rebounds while Megan McGuffey added five. The Cowgirls were 17-40 (.425) from the field, 17-24 (.708) from the free throw line, while out rebounding Utah 31-28.
Megan Warburton led all scorers in the game with 26. She was 9-16 from the field and 6-8 from beyond the arc. Utah was 20-54 (.370) from the field and 9-18 (.500) from beyond the arc.
The Cowgirls struck early as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead. It took the Utes over three minutes before a Warburton three-point field goal got them on the board. After a Hanna Zavecz free throw, Utah hit a basket to pull them to within three, 8-5. Wyoming answered with a 5-2 scoring run to make it a six point game 13-7 game. Both teams went cold as they went over four minutes before two Bolerjack free throws broke that for the Cowgirls, which led to seven straight points and a double-figure lead for Wyoming, 20-7. Utah struggled as they went six minutes before a Jessica Perry field goal ended the drought followed by a Warburton three-point shot to make it a 20-12 game. The Cowgirls responded by scoring seven of the final ten points in the half to take a 27-15 lead in to the locker room.
Three Cowgirls, Bolerjack, Podziemska and Sisk, all finished the half with seven points. Podziemska also led the way with six rebounds. Wyoming shot 10-22 (.455) from the field, while out rebounding Utah, 21-13. Warburton was the leading scorer for Utah with nine, while Kalee Whipple finished the half with four points and a team leading three rebounds. The Utes were 6-26 (.231) from the field and 3-11 (.273) from the three-point line.
Both teams played pretty evenly through the first part of the second half as the Cowgirls continued to lead 35-22 in to the first media timeout. Wyoming would then score five of the next seven to make it a 16 point lead, 40-24, their largest of the game. Over the next several minutes, the Utes chipped away at the lead with a 10-0 scoring run to make it a six point game 40-34. Two Elisabeth Dissen free throws finally broke a four minute drought by the Cowgirls, but Utah drew even closer by scoring five of the next eight to pull within four, 43-39. A couple of free throws and a basket by Wyoming put them back up by eight, 47-39, with 5:41 remaining in the game. Unfortunately, the Utes answered right back with a three-point field goal by Whipple to make it 47-42. Zavecz responded with a lay-up of her own to give the Cowgirls a seven point advantage and then the battle was on as Utah was not about to go away. The Utes went on a 7-3 scoring run to bring it to within three 52-49 with 2:01 remaining on the clock. Zavecz would get fouled on the next play down the court and hit one of two and after a couple of possessions for each team Warburton answered with another three-point shot to pull Utah within one, 53-52, with 21.6 seconds on the clock. After getting fouled, Sisk missed the first shot but hit the second to put the Cowgirls up two, 54-52. With time winding down, Utah would get a chance to tie it up, but a good defensive play by Bolerjack stopped Warburton, then rebounded the ball which sent her to the line. She would hit both free throws giving Wyoming a 56-52 lead with six seconds on the clock. Brette Ulsaker hit a three-point at the buzzer but it wasn't enough as the Cowgirls came out on the top with the 56-55 victory.
Wyoming will now be traveling to Albuquerque to take on the New Mexico Lobos, on Sunday, Feb. 4, with the tip set for 1:00 p.m.