Feb. 6, 2003
Las Vegas, Nev. - The Wyoming Cowgirl Basketball team (13-6 overall, 3-3 MWC) opened up their two game road swing with a heartbreaking 68-65 loss to the UNLV Lady Rebels (12-8 overall, 3-4 MWC), on Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Both teams opened up the game a little tentative as each team scored one bucket each and committed a total of eight turnovers through the first four minutes of the half. UNLV would be the first team to open up a significant lead, after a couple of baskets from Talisha Mitchell, 8-4. The Cowgirls answered with four straight to tie up the score, but with a couple of quick baskets the Lady Rebels regained the lead. Kept in it by eight early points from Darci Arsene, Wyoming went on a 5-1 run to gain a 15-13 advantage. With it all tied up at 18, the Cowgirls scored four unanswered, but then each team went almost two minutes without a basket. A couple of free throw shots by Ashley Elliott gave UW a 24-20 lead, but a big three point shot by Sheena Moore pulled the Rebels within one. After that it was a battle in the final minutes, as a 6-4 run allowed the Rebels to regain a 29-28 advantage, but the Cowgirls scored two quick baskets in the final minute to take a 32-29 halftime lead.
Sophomore Ashley Elliott led all scorers with 12, while she and Carrie Bacon both finished the half with five rebounds. The Cowgirls were 14-32 (.438) from the field and pulled down 22 rebounds. For the Rebels, Talisha Mitchell finished with a team high seven points and five rebounds, while as a team they shot 39.4% (13-33) from the field.
Wyoming opened up the second half by going on a 6-4 run to gain a five point advantage, 38-33, but the Rebels responded with a 5-2 run to close within two points. It was fast and furious scoring for the next couple of minutes as each team continued to trade baskets until the Cowgirls took the 48-42 advantage. The Lady Rebels pulled within two, but UW maintained their lead. After a couple of runs by the Cowgirls, they would take one of their largest leads of the half 61-53, but the Lady Rebels not to be outdone a 10-6 scoring run brought them back into the game, 65-63. With a 1:16 left in the game a three-point shot by Sheena Moore gave UNLV the lead, so it was up to the Cowgirls for a final opportunity to score. A crucial turnover and two Lady Rebel free throws finally sealed the 68-65 victory for UNLV.
"I thought we did a great job on the boards, shot the ball well and to shoot 51% on the road you can't ask for more," said head coach Cindy Fisher. "We shot well from the free throw line, unfortunately you can't turn the ball over 24 times on the road and expect to win the game. We have to take care of the ball and limit the possessions the other team has that create easy transition baskets. Other than that, I thought Ann McColl really stepped up, had a great game and did a good job on their post players. We just have to figure out a way to be more composed, take care of the ball and take advantage of the opportunities when they are given to us."
Four of five starters finished in double-figures for the Cowgirls, including guard Ashley Elliott. She finished with a team high 16 points, along with seven boards. Senior Ann McColl led the team in rebounds with eight while chipping in 11 points. Darci Arsene and Brenda Pickup also contributed 14 and 12 points respectively. As a team, Wyoming was 26-51 (.510) from the field, while outrebounding the Lady Rebels 39-32.
UNLV was led by Constance Jinks and Sheena Moore, who both finished with 15 points. Jinks and Talisha Mitchell also led the Lady Rebels with six boards.
The Cowgirls will continue play on the road traveling to San Diego to face the Aztecs, on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. MT, in San Diego.