March 6, 2004
Colorado Springs, Colo. - The Cowgirl basketball (10-17 overall, 6-8 in the MWC) closed out MWC regular season play with a 65-44 victory against the Air Force Academy Falcons (3-24 overall, 0-14 in the MWC) on Saturday afternoon in Colorado Springs.
It was a low scoring affair through the first six minutes of the game as the two teams combined for nine points with the Cowgirls taking the early 5-4 lead. The Falcons would take the first significant lead as a 7-2 run gave them an 11-7 advantage with just under 12 minutes to go in the half. Wyoming came back and responded with a 21-2 run of their own, while holding the Falcons scoreless for six minutes, to regain a double-digit lead 28-13. Air Force answered with five unanswered to pull within nine, 28-19, but Wyoming closed out the half by scoring the final seven of ten points to take 35-22 lead into the locker room.
Junior guard Ashley Elliott led all scorers in the half with 13 points followed by Brenda Pickup with seven and Tarah Lapar with six. Both Michelle Lieber and Sara Hippen finished the half with five rebounds each. The Cowgirls were 11-27 (.407) from the field and 7-12 (.583) from beyond the arc.
Air Force was led by Ashley Cwiakala who recorded ten points off the bench. Two Falcons finished the half with three rebounds each. As a team, they were 7-27 (.259) from the field and 2-12 (.167) from beyond the arc.
The Falcons came out of the halftime break as the aggressor by going on a 9-4 run to bring them to within nine points, 40-31, but Wyoming scored the next six of ten to maintain that double-digit lead, 46-35 at the 13 minute mark. After an Ashley Elliott three-point field goal at the 10:50 mark which put the Cowgirls up 49-35, both teams really struggled from the offensive end. Finally, Wyoming would close things out by holding the Falcons to nine points in the last ten minutes of the game to come away with the victory 65-44.
"With wrapping up the conference season today, we finish in fifth place which is a great accomplishment for this group of players," said head coach Joe Legerski. "This is the highest finish in several years and I couldn't be more pleased with effort they put forth today. Ashley Elliott came back strong with 23 points, but more importantly we got nine points from Brenda Pickup, eight from Michelle Lieber and 12 from Tarah Lapar so we really stepped up and got some things done."
Two Cowgirls finished in double-figures including guard Ashley Elliott. She finished with a game high 23 points and five rebounds, while shooting 8-17 (.471) from the field and 5-10 (.500) from beyond the arc. Freshman Tarah Lapar recorded 12 points behind a 4-6 (.667) from the field. Michelle Lieber and Sara Hippen both led the way with seven rebounds. Wyoming was 21-49 (.429) from the field and 11-23 (.478) from beyond the arc.
Air Force was led by Letricia Castillo and Ashley Cwiakala who finished with ten points each. The Falcons were 17-53 (.321) from the field and a dismal 2-17 (.118) from beyond the arc.
The Mountain West Conference Tournament will begin on Wednesday, March 10 in Denver, Colorado. The Cowgirls, who earned the fifth see, will open up against the Colorado State Rams, the fourth seed, at 2:30 p.m.