March 22, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
In front of a record setting crowd of gold-clad fans, the Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team (24-9, 11-5 in the MWC) held on for a thrilling 64-62 win over the Oregon Ducks (17-14 overall) on Thursday night in Laramie. The crowd of 7,362 fans broke the all time mark of 5,025 set earlier this season against Colorado State.
"Right now you have to find ways to win and we did that tonight," said UW head coach Joe Legerski. "At halftime, I ended up challenging Justyna (Podziemska) to step up and lead us in the second half. She did that by hitting three straight three-point field goals in the second half after going 0-6 to begin the game. It was a great job by her to give us a lift.
"Everyone at this level wins and players are used to it. These games will continue to get tougher. We had to make a couple of stops at the end and to Oregon's credit they stepped up and knocked some big shots down."
UW will continue play on Sunday, March 25, as they host the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the Elite Eight of the WNIT. The game is set to tip off at 2:00 p.m. in the Arena Auditorium.
Three Cowgirls finished their night against the Ducks in double-figures led by junior Hanna Zavecz. She recorded a team high 18 points along with six assists and five rebounds. Justyna Podziemska followed with 14 points and a team high eight rebounds, while Dominique Sisk added 12 points. Wyoming shot 24-62 (.387) from the field, 10-28 (.357) from beyond the arc, while out rebounding the taller Ducks 38-35.
Oregon was led by Kaela Chapdelaine who recorded 12 points. Taylor Lilley followed with 11, while two other players added ten points each. Eleanor Haring added a team high seven rebounds. The Ducks shot 24-57 (.421) from the field and 10-17 (.588) from beyond the arc.
The two teams traded baskets in the early going but with the score tied at 4-4 Wyoming went on an 8-2 run to go up 12-6. Oregon would hit a three-point field goal and the Cowgirls answered with six straight to take a nine-point lead, 18-9. The Ducks would respond by scoring 10 of 12 to pull within one, 20-19. UW came back with two three-point field goals by Aubrey Vandiver to go back up 26-21. Unfortunately, they would go cold over the final three minutes of the half as Oregon closed it out on a 9-3 run to take a 30-29 lead in to the locker room.
Zavecz led all scorers at halftime for the Cowgirls with 11 followed by Vandiver and Jodi Bolerjack with six. Wyoming shot 12-33 (.364) from the field and just 4-17 (.235) from beyond the arc. Oregon was led by Chapdelaine with nine points followed by Haring with eight. The Ducks shot 13-31 (.419) from the field and 4-7 (.571) from beyond the arc.
Oregon hit a three-point field goal out of the break to take a four point lead, 33-29. Wyoming answered with a 10-2 run to go up by four, 39-35, with just under 16 minutes to go in the game. The Ducks scored five straight to go back up one, 40-39, but a three-point shot by Zavecz put Wyoming up two, 42-40. After Oregon regained a 46-42 advantage, the Cowgirls scored 12 straight points on four shots beyond the arc to go up eight, 54-46. The Ducks, who had gone six minutes without a basket, went on a 6-0 run to close the gap to two, 54-52. Wyoming answered by scoring seven of the next nine to go up 61-54 with 31 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, the Ducks battled back with eight unanswered to even it up at 62 all with 16 seconds left. A long pass down the court by Sisk to Bolerjack and then to Zavecz, who laid it in with six seconds on the clock, would be enough for the Cowgirls to hold on to the 64-62 victory.