Feb. 5, 2004
Laramie, Wyoming -- In a game dominated by the three-point shot, the Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team (8-11 overall, 4-2 in the MWC) earned a 69-37 victory against the Air Force Academy Falcons (3-16 overall, 0-6 in the MWC) on Thursday night in Laramie.
It took a few minutes for the two teams to get going until two Ashley Elliott three-point field goals gave the Cowgirls the early 10-4 lead. After a quick basket from the Air Force Academy pulled them to within three, an 18-7 run from Wyoming opened up a 28-14 advantage. Then both teams seemed to struggle on the offensive end, especially the Falcons who went almost six minutes without a basket, but despite all of that the Cowgirls continued to maintain a double-digit lead 35-19. Their was no giving up for Air Force as they hung tough and made a 6-2 run to end the half unfortunately Wyoming would still take a 37-25 lead into the lockerroom.
At the half, guard Ashley Elliott led all scorers with 19, while shooting 6-9 from the field and 5-8 from beyond the arc. Brenda Pickup and Michelle Lieber recorded five rebounds each, along with Lieber chipping in eight points. The Cowgirls were 12-23 (.522) from the field and 7-15 (.467) from the three-point line.
Air Force was led by Letricia Castillo and Shawna Neff who both finished with six. Castillo also led by Falcons with six rebounds.
The Falcons scored a quick basket out of the half to bring them to within ten, but after that the Cowgirls would take over the game. Wyoming answered back with 14 unanswered to increase their margin to 24 points, 51-27. Things didn't fair much better for Air Force as their offensive woes continued as they would go almost eight minutes without scoring and nine without a field goal. In the final ten minutes of the half, the Cowgirls' offensive and defense clicked on all cylinders, while the Falcons couldn't manage to get anything going. Wyoming outscored Air Force 18-7 in that time to dominate their way to a 69-37 victory.
It was quite a night for junior Ashley Elliott as she recorded a game high 30 points along with six assists and three steals. She was 10-17 (.588) from the field and 7-12 (.583) from beyond the arc. Her seven three-point field made fell one short of the Arena record of eight, but her 12 attempts tied the record previously set by Carly Stucky in January of 2002 against UNLV. Also in the scoring mix was senior Brenda Pickup with ten points followed by Kristen Lenhardt with nine and Michelle Lieber with eight. Both Lieber and Pickup led the Cowgirls in rebounding with seven.
As a team, the Cowgirls were on fire shooting a season high 23-41 (.561) from the field and 14-27 (.519) from the three-point line. The 14 three-point field goals made by the UW not only broke an Arena record set by the Cowgirls, but a record also set by the Cowboys. The previous mark was 12 set by the Cowgirls on February 11, 1999 against SMU, while the Cowboy former mark was 13 made by the Air Force Academy, Jan. 28, 2002, and Wyoming vs. Fresno State, Jan. 27, 1996.
The leading scorer and rebounder for the Falcons was Leticia Castillo with eight points and six boards. She was followed by Amoy Jackson with seven and Shawna Neff with six. Air Force struggled shooting 15-49 (.306) from the field, which included a 4-20 (.200) effort in the second half, and 3-16 (.188) from the three-point line.
"I don't know if any games are easy, because I always tell the players to treat each game the same," said head coach Joe Legerski. "I wanted to make sure we executed offensively and defensively, but tonight I was very pleased with our effort in this game. The thing that made it nice was in the final minutes of the game we could sit back and take a sigh of relief, because it's been a long stretch with last couple of games and I couldn't be more pleased with the effort.
"We've been able to defend throughout the year and not been able to shoot the basketball, especially from the three-point line," he added. "Tonight, we were able to do that which made it easier on both sides of the ball. Also, I couldn't say enough about Ashley Elliott. She always takes the toughest defensive assignment, and goes into every ball game knowing that she's the player everyone has to stop. She was able to step up, hit the shots and defend really well."
Wyoming will continue play at home Saturday afternoon as they host the New Mexico Lobos at 2:00 p.m. in the Double A. The Lobos come into the game 12-7 overall and 4-2 in the Mountain West after falling to the CSU Rams on Thursday night by the final of 72-57.