Feb. 13, 2003
Laramie, Wyo. - In a defensive battle, the Wyoming Cowgirl Basketball Team improved their record to 15-6 overall and 5-3 in the Mountain West Conference after an exciting 66-59 victory over the BYU Cougars (14-7 overall, 4-4 MWC), on Thursday night in Laramie. It's the first time in head coach Cindy Fisher's career that she has defeated the Cougars, and since the 1997-98 season that a Cowgirl team has defeated a BYU team.
After the Cowgirls scored the first points of the game, BYU would score the next six to open up a 6-1 advantage. A couple of three-point plays and a Cougar basket pulled the Cowgirls within one, but a 6-1 BYU run put the score at 14-8. Four straight points from Wyoming brought them to within two, but a three-point play gave the Cougars another five point lead. UW continued to battle and chip away at the Cougar lead scoring the next six of eight to close within one, 19-18, and over the next several minutes the two teams would trade baskets with BYU maintaining a lead no larger than two points. With several missed opportunities to take the lead, the Cowgirls would finally take it at the four minute mark off of two Chassie Wiersma free throws, 26-25. It would remain close in the final minutes of the half as each team would go into halftime tied up at 32 all.
Eight Cowgirls finished the half with a field goal including Ashley Elliott, who led the team with six points. Senior Lisa McCann had a team high four rebounds. Wyoming struggled from the field shooting only 8-25 (.320), but were kept in it by 15-17 (.882) shooting from the free throw line. The Cougars were led by Erin Thorn who led all scorers with ten. BYU was 14-30 (467) from the field.
There wasn't a lot of scoring in the first four minutes of the second half as each team combined for nine points, which allowed the Cougars to regain a one point lead, 37-36. Both teams continued to trade baskets and the lead over the next several minutes, but BYU eventually took a 42-40 advantage. A very determined Cowgirl team battled back with an 11-2 scoring run to open up one of their largest leads of the game 51-44. It was a lead they would hold on to for the rest of the game despite several runs by the Cougars. Down 62-54, the Cougars made it interesting as they scored five straight points to pull within three, 62-59, but an extremely composed Wyoming team knocked down four free throws to close out the 66-59 victory.
"This is a huge victory for us tonight," said head coach Cindy Fisher. "I'm so happy for these seniors and for the whole team. It's just been a team effort from the get go and I thought in the second half we defended really well. When Ashley (Elliott) hit that three-pointer, we went on a run and everyone that stepped on the floor did a great job defensively. For Ann McColl to have to sit that long because of foul trouble, I felt Sara Hippen did a nice job coming in off the bench and on their post players and Cherrith Wiersma did a nice job on Erin Thorn. Overall, I just the defensive end of it won the game again."
Cowgirl senior Ann McColl led all scorers with 18 points. She was 7-9 from the field and 4-6 from the free throw line in 20 minutes of play. Ashley Elliott and Brenda Pickup also finished in double-figures with 13 and ten respectively. Elliott also finished the night with a team leading six rebounds. Wyoming shot 42% (20-48) from the field and 24-32 (.750) from the free throw line.
The Cougars were led by Erin Thorn, who finished the night with 17 points and six rebounds. BYU shot 24-59 (.407) from the field.
The Cowgirls will now play host to the Utah Utes, on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., in the Arena Auditorium. The Utes, now 17-4 overall and 7-1 in the conference, fell to Colorado State, on Thursday night, by the final of 56-44 in Ft. Collins.