March 6, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowgirl Basketball team (18-10 overall, 9-7 Mountain West Conference) closed out the regular season with a 78-73 victory over the UNLV Lady Rebels (13-17 overall, 6-10 MWC) on Saturday afternoon in Laramie.
"I thought today's basketball game had several stars," said UW head coach Joe Legerski. "Jade Kennedy was unbelievable in the first half shooting 5-7 from beyond the arc and 17 total points. She ended up getting us going. Rebecca Campigli and Chaundra Sewell were two players that gave us a lift off the bench and playing extended minutes. Then you take a look at Aubrey Vandiver. We're up three points with 29 seconds and Jade misses her second free throw, Aubrey gets the rebound for a tie up and we get another opportunity. It really changed the way we played defense, but that rebound by her is a player with a big heart and making a play. Her numbers were tremendous with 22 points and ten rebounds, and it's to the point you expect that from her. I was happy with the fan turnout today especially with everything going on today in Laramie. It was nice to see people come out."
Two Cowgirls finished the afternoon strong led by junior Jade Kennedy. She recorded a career high 23 points, while shooting 7-10 from the field and 6-9 from beyond the arc. She was followed by Aubrey Vandiver with her 15th double-double of the season as she recorded 22 points and ten rebounds. Wyoming shot 27-63 (.429) from the field and 13-26 (.500) from beyond the arc.
UNLV was led by Erica Helms who recorded 23 points in 40 minutes of play. Kelli Thompson followed with 22 while Sandrine Nzeukou added 13 points. The Lady Rebels shot 29-64 (.453) from the field, while out rebounding the Cowgirls 45-32.
The Cowgirls took a small 5-2 lead to begin the game, but a 4-0 run put the Lady Rebels up 6-5. The teams would trade scores over the next couple of possessions as UNLV took a 13-10 lead into the fist media timeout. Randi Richardson would hit a basket out of the break to make it 13-12 and then both teams went cold. Each team went about four minutes without scoring. The Lady Rebels would take a three-point lead, 17-14, but three straight three point field goals by the Cowgirls gave them a four point advantage, 23-19. They would extend that margin to eight with an 11-7 run. UNLV would answer with a couple of baskets to pull within four, 34-30, with five minutes left in the half. The Cowgirls would score the final 10 of 17 to take a 44-37 lead into the locker room.
UNLV came out and chipped away at the lead with a 6-2 run to make it 46-43. The Cowgirls responded by scoring 9 of 11 to pull ahead, 54-45. After a basket and free throw by the Lady Rebels, Wyoming ran off seven straight to extend the lead to 13, 61-48. Unfortunately, UNLV battled back with ten unanswered to pull within three, 61-58, and eventually tied it up at 63 all. They would then go on to score the next two baskets to go up four, 67-63, as the Cowgirls struggled shooting. Two Jade Kennedy free throws would end a three minute drought for Wyoming. With just under three minutes left on the clock Kristen Scheffler came in off the bench and hit a three-point field goal to put UW up 68-67. The teams traded the next two baskets until a jumper from Scheffler again made it 72-69. The Lady Rebels were able to pull within two, 74-72, but free throws down the stretch sealed the 78-73 win for the Cowgirls.
The Cowgirls, who tied for fifth in league play, will head into the 2010 Conoco MWC Championships as the sixth seed. They will take on the UNLV Lady Rebels on Tuesday, March 9, at 8 p.m. MT in Las Vegas.