LAS VEGAS, Nev. -
Junior guard Marquelle Dent notched 26 points and the University of Wyoming women's basketball team was tied with Fresno State with five minutes remaining, but the Bulldogs closed the game on a 21-13 run to earn a 74-66 win in the Mountain West Championships' quarterfinals on Tuesday in the Thomas & Mack Center. The sixth-seeded Cowgirls (16-14, 10-8 MW) gave the third-seeded Bulldogs (22-8, 13-5 MW) all they could handle in a game that featured 11 ties and 10 lead changes.
"I thought it was a great game," UW head coach Joe Legerski said. "Both teams in the first half were able to get five point leads, and nobody was going to blink. Really played well."
Neither squad led by more than five points for 35 minutes, as the two were deadlocked at 53-53 with 5:21 left. The Bulldogs took charge, though, with an 11-0 run over the next four minutes to build a 64-53 advantage. The Cowgirls would battle back to within five with 21 seconds remaining, but that would be as close as they could get.
"I thought there were a couple plays down the stretch," Legerski said. "They grabbed an offensive rebound and had a second opportunity to put them up four with three minutes to go. You have to give them credit for getting that rebound. Then, like I said, whether it's a charge, block, there's plays like that all the time. But as we look at it, one of the things we always talk about is there are plays in any basketball game where you have to step up and make the play."
Dent notched a third-straight 20-point game for the first time in her career on 8-of-18 from the field and 10-of-12 from the free-throw line, while adding three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Her effort moved her to seventh in Cowgirl single-season history with 531 points and 10th in steals with 66, while her 353 assists now rank sixth in UW's career totals. Fellow junior guard Jordan Kelley contributed a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, her sixth this season, and dished out a team-high four assists. Senior guard Kaitlyn Mileto had 12 points as well and hit two threes to move into second in Cowgirl single-season history with 85, while senior forward Jordan Sibrel finished with 12 points.
Wyoming shot 45 percent (24-of-53) from the field and 80 percent (16-of-20) at the free throw line, but just 17 percent (2-of-12) from beyond the arc. The Cowgirls' two threes were a season low. Fresno State shot 44 percent (25-of-57) from the field, 36 percent (4-of-11) from deep and 71 percent (20-of-28) at the charity stripe, as the Cowgirls lost for the first time this season when outshooting their opponent from the field. The Bulldogs were outrebounded 35-32, but forced Wyoming into six more assists and six more fouls. Wyoming's bench was outscored 26-0, just the second time this season the Cowgirl reserves were held scoreless.