Dec. 7, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -
Free throws in the final minute of the game by Kayla Woodward and Fallon Lewis would help lift the Cowgirl Basketball Team (6-2 overall) to a 72-69 win over the North Dakota State Bison (3-6 overall). Lewis was named the MVP of the tournament, while Woodward was selected to the All-Tournament Team.
Five Cowgirls finished the night in double-figures led by the senior Lewis. She recorded 20 points and a career high 21 rebounds. The 21 boards is the fourth most in a single-game in school history. Kaylie Rader finished with a career high 16 points plus four rebounds. Woodward added 12 points followed by Kaitlyn Mileto and Marquelle Dent with 10 each. Wyoming shot 27-63 (.429) from the field including 16-30 (.533) in the second half and out rebounded the Bison, 48-41.
North Dakota State was led by Holly Johnson who finished with a game high 31 points plus 12 rebounds. Marena Whittle finished with 13 rebounds and six points, while Bree Whatman was the next high scorer with eight points. The Bison shot 27-71 (.380) from the field and 8-10 (.800) from the free throw line.
"This team battled, North Dakota had all the energy in the first half. At halftime, we talked about coming out and winning four minute segments," said head coach Joe Legerski. "We did that, kept cutting into the lead and you could feel the momentum shifting on our side. We had a hard time stopping Holly Johnson so we went to a zone. I think that benefitted a player like Kaylie Rader who finished with 16 points. With her size, she could deflect a lot of balls and when shots were missed that was our opportunity to rebound. Then you can't say enough about Fallon Lewis, a double-double doesn't justify what she did for us. I knew she was tired and sometimes your mind determines if you're tired. I thought we came out and really battled in the second half. To have five players in double-figures really shows we are distributing the ball."
Wyoming scored the first five of seven points to take the early 5-2 lead in the game. The Bison responded with an 11-2 run to give them a nine-point lead, 16-7. Started by a Jordan Sibrel basket the Cowgirls chipped away at the lead and pulled to within two, 18-16. The two teams would combine for eight points over the next couple of minutes as North Dakota State continued to lead, 22-20. The Bison would extend their advantage to seven, 29-22, with a 7-2 lead. Wyoming tried to close the gap with four of the next six points to make it a five-point game, 31-26. Unfortunately, NDSU continued their hot shooting as they closed out the half on a 9-3 run to take a 40-29 lead into the lockerroom.
Out of the break, North Dakota State build the lead to 14, 45-31. An 8-2 run by the Cowgirls cut the lead to single-digits, 47-39. The Bison scored six of the next seven to make it a 13-point advantage, 53-40. Started by a Kaylie Rader layup, UW scored nine straight to make it a four point contest, 53-49. A three-point field goal by Holly Johnson and free throws by Becken made it, 58-49. The Cowgirls continued to battle back and went on an 11-3 run to pull within one, 61-60, with 6:50 remaining. Holly Johnson hit a shot and started a 6-2 run for the Bison to give them a five point advantage. Wyoming wouldn't go away as they closed the gap to one, 67-66. Whittle scored a layup with 1:59 making it 69-66. Woodward would get fouled, hit the first one and missed the second. Off the miss, Lewis grabbed the rebound and got the put back to tie it up at 69. NDSU missed a jumper next time down the court, and Woodward would get to the line once again. She would hit one of two, giving the Cowgirls a 70-69 lead with 27 seconds on the clock. A turnover by Brooke Lemar and a steal by Lewis forced the Bison to foul. Lewis would hit both free throw shots to give UW a 72-69 lead with nine seconds left. Wyoming played solid defense the rest of the way to hold onto the three-point win, 72-69.
The Cowgirls will be off until next Saturday, Dec. 14, as they will host the Ball State Cardinals. The game is set for 2:00 p.m. at the Arena Auditorium.