March 3, 2005
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team (16-10 overall 7-6 in the MWC) avenged an earlier season loss against the Air Force Academy Falcons (7-19 overall, 2-11 in the MWC) with a 60-43 win on Thursday night in Laramie.
Three players finished the game in double-digits for the Cowgirls led by senior Ashley Elliott. She recorded 15 points along with four rebounds and four steals. Senior Kristen Lenhardt finished with 12 points and a career high nine rebounds, just one shy of a double-double, while Hanna Zavecz had ten points. Guard Erin Hicks brought down ten rebounds in her 37 minutes of play.
Freshman Alecia Steele recorded 12 points along with five rebounds off the bench. She was followed by Lauren Henderson with seven points and Ellen Jaeschke and Letricia Castillo with six. Forward Dawn Higginbotham was the leading rebounder for the Falcons.
Both teams shot identical field goal percentages for the game. The Cowgirls were 20-56 (.357) from the field while Air Force was 15-42 (.357). Wyoming shot a disappointing 5-24 (.208) from the field but out rebounded the Falcons 40-37.
The Cowgirls opened up the game with a basket while the Falcons answered back with a 9-2 run to gain a five point advantage. Wyoming struggled going almost three minutes with a basket which was broken by a Kristen Lenhardt three-point basket. They would also score the next seven of 12, but Air Force went on a 6-1 run to regain a 20-14 lead. Wyoming battled back again over the next several minutes and went back up 23-21. The teams traded baskets in the last minute but the Cowgirls would still take a 25-24 lead in to the locker room.
Two players finished the half with six points for the Cowgirls while Erin Hicks recorded six rebounds. Wyoming shot 8-25 (.320) for the half. Lauren Henderson led the way for Air Force with seven points as the Falcons shot 8-23 (.348) from the field.
Right out of the halftime break, it took the two teams a couple of minutes to get gong as they combined for just four points. With the score 27-26, the Cowgirls went on a 7-0 run to go back up 34-26. They would extend that lead to double-digits as Air Force struggled from the field. The Falcons made a run at Wyoming and pulled to within seven, but a three-point play by Kristen Lenhardt put the Cowgirls back up 47-37. It was never close as Air Force managed to score only six points in the remaining seven minutes of the game as the Cowgirls went on to the 60-43 win.
"I felt like our players wanted this game too much, and instead of just playing and letting the flow of the game come to them they tried to rush things," said head coach Joe Legerski. "We talked about it at halftime, tried to bring their focus together and get them to play the way we know they can. We didn't shoot the ball particularly well tonight and when that happens many times we can recover and stay in the game. Sara Hippen did a nice job in the first half, along with Kristen Lenhardt and Michelle Taylor made some big plays in the second half. It may look ugly but you still manage to get a victory out of it."
The Cowgirls will close out the regular MWC season on Saturday afternoon against the New Mexico Lobos beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Laramie. It will be the final home game for seniors Ashley Elliott, Sara Hippen and Kristen Lenhardt.