Cowgirl Basketball Falls In Tournament Opener, 60-46, To UNI

Nov. 25, 2011

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -

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It was a tough start on Friday for the Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team as they fell to Northern Iowa, 60-46, to begin the LMU-Doubletree Thanksgiving Classic. They are now 1-3 overall on the season, while UNI moves their record to 3-1.

"Northern Iowa got off to a great start and it took us a little bit to figure out their system of drives and dishes," UW coach Joe Legerski said. "But once we figured it out, I thought we played well for the final 30 minutes. It was just a case of them (Northern Iowa) having two seniors and two juniors who understood their system and played very well in it."

Ashley Sickles led the way for the Cowgirls with a team high 13 points and six rebounds. She shot 6-12 from the field in 29 minutes of play. Junior Chaundra Sewell finished her night with 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Brenna Freeze added six points and five boards. Wyoming shot 19-48 (.396) from the field, but just 2-10 (.200) from beyond the arc.

"We're still struggling some to shoot the ball from outside, but I thought our inside game with Ashley, Chaundra and Brenna played pretty well," Legerski said.

Northern Iowa was led by Rachel Madrigal who recorded a game high 18 points shooting 4-7 from the three point line. Forward Amber Kirschbaum added 12 points and a game high 15 boards. The Panthers shot 24-56 (.429) from the field and out rebounded the Cowgirls 33-30.

The Cowgirls struck first to begin the game with a jumper from Chaundra Sewell, but two straight three-point field goals by Rachel Madrigal gave the Panthers a 6-2 advantage. They would extend that lead to double-figures, 16-6, with a 10-0 run. Wyoming went five minutes without a basket until a field goal by Chaundra Sewell. Northern Iowa continued to dominate on the offensive end as they pulled ahead by 17, which was their largest lead of the half. Wyoming tried to close the gap and scored 10 of 17 in the final four minutes to go into the lockerroom down, 40-26.

Wyoming played tough defense as they held UNI scoreless for the first three minutes of the second. They would also cut into the lead with an Ashley Sickles three-point field goal. Unfortunately, the Panthers scored eight of the next nine points over the next six minutes to increase the lead back to 18, 48-30. A field goal by Kayla Woodward would start a 4-0 run to make it a 14-point contest, 48-34. Northern Iowa responded with six of the next eight points to give them an 18 point advantage, 54-36. The Cowgirls chipped away at the lead running off eight straight points closing to within ten, 54-44. Unfortunately, two three-point field goals by the Panthers put them ahead by 16, 60-44. Free throws by Chaundra Sewell were the last points of the game as the Cowgirls fell by 14 points, 60-46.

Wyoming will close out the tournament tomorrow against the host school Loyola Marymount Lions. The game is set for 2:00 p.m. MT in Los Angeles.