Still Going: Wyoming Beats Missouri To Advance in the WNIT

March 18, 2007


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The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team (23-9, 11-5 in the MWC) will play another day in the WNIT, as they earned a 73-67 win over the Missouri Tigers (17-14 overall, 5-11 in the Big 12 Conference) in the event's second round on Sunday afternoon in Laramie.

"I give the WNIT a lot of credit for allowing teams that are on the edge of getting an NCAA Tournament bid to continue to play in the post season," said UW head coach Joe Legerski. "I think with us playing in this tournament a year ago really helped us gain some experience.

"It was important for us to maintain the lead. One so that we could keep our energy and dictate the play of the game, but also that they couldn't gain a big lift. When you know the game is 40 minutes, how quickly you get out of the gate is going to be a challenge. Missouri is very talented and we knew that they would make several runs at us."

Three Cowgirls finished their night in double-figures led by junior Hanna Zavecz. She recorded a team high 21 points while adding five assists and four rebounds. Justyna Podziemska followed with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Jodi Bolerjack chipped in 15 points. Wyoming shot 20-49 (.408) from the field and 25-34 (.735) from the free throw line.

Missouri was led by EeTisha Riddle who finished with a game high 31 points and 12 rebounds. Blair Hardiek added 11 points while Alyssa Hollins finished with ten. The Tigers shot 24-58 (.414) from the field and 13-14 (.929) from the free throw line.

Wyoming struck first as they went up 7-0. Out of the first media timeout, Podziemska hit a three-point field goal to make it a 10-0 game. It would take the Tigers until the 15:32 mark to hit their first basket, which would start an 11-2 scoring run to pull them to within three, 14-11. They would eventually tie it up at 17, but the Cowgirls would respond with a 9-0 run to go back up 26-17. They extended that to double-figures 31-19 with just over four minutes left in the half. Missouri battled back and scored two straight baskets to make it, 31-24. Despite getting the lead back up to ten, the Cowgirls could only manage to take a 38-34 lead in to the locker room.

At the half, Zavecz and Podziemska led the way for the Cowgirls with 12 points apiece, while Podziemska finished the half with a team leading six rebounds. UW was 13-28 (.464) from the field. Riddle led all scorers in the half with 13 for Missouri. The Tigers were 14-26 (.538) from the field and 3-8 (.375) from the three-point line.

It took over three minutes before anyone scored to begin the second half, until a three-point field goal by Zavecz. Missouri hit two free throws and hit a basket to pull within three, 41-38. Wyoming answered with a 10-4 run to get their lead back to nine, 51-42, with just under ten minutes in the game. That would grow to 11 points, 57-46, until a three-point play by Riddle brought the Tigers to within eight, 57-49. The Cowgirls would respond with six of the next eight points to take their largest lead of the game 12, 63-51, with 3:52 left on the clock. Missouri wouldn't go away quietly as they made a 13-4 run to close the gap to three, 67-64, with 1:21 left on the clock. Wyoming dug in defensively as they hit six free throws down the stretch and held the Tigers to one basket in the final minute to come away with the 73-67 victory.

The Cowgirls will continue play on Thursday, March 22, with a third round contest as they host the Oregon Ducks. The game is set to tip off at 7:00 p.m. in the Arena Auditorium.