Cowgirls Basketball Opens First Round Of WNIT Against Portland State

March 15, 2011

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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    The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team will open up the 2011 Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) on Wednesday, March 16, at 7:00 p.m. in the Arena Auditorium. It's the sixth time in school history that the Cowgirls have made it in to the WNIT and seventh overall for postseason play.

    The WNIT game, presented by Laramie GM Auto Center, will match the Cowgirls against the Portland State Vikings who finished the regular season 20-11 overall and 12-4 in the Big Sky Conference.

    Wyoming is currently 22-8 overall and 12-4 in conference play. They lost 67-61 to the New Mexico Lobos in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. The Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and First Team All-MWC selection Aubrey Vandiver is averaging a team leading 18.8 points and 9.1 rebounds, while First Team All-Conference honoree Hillary Carlson is adding 16.7 points and 7.2 boards per contest. The Cowgirls are shooting a league leading .433 (697-1609) from the field and 219-610 (.359) from beyond the arc, plus 370-529 (.699) from the charity stripe.

    Vandiver is among the Top 15 in points, rebounds, assists, steals, minutes played and field goal percentage. Carlson ranks second in blocked shots, fourth in scoring, fifth in field goal percentage and ninth in rebounding in overall games. Senior Jade Kennedy is first in minutes played, second in assist/turnover ratio and seventh in assists.

    Portland State is currently 20-11 overall and finished first in the Big Sky Conference with a 12-4 record. They are led by Eryn Jones who is averaging 14.3 points along with 3.6 rebounds. She is followed by Courtney VanBrocklin who is adding 13.5 points and six rebounds, while Kelli Valentine leads the team in rebounding with 6.2. They welcome back three starters and nine letterwinners to a team that went 18-15 overall and 9-7 in the Big Sky Conference a year ago.

    This is the sixth meeting between the two teams. Wyoming leads the series 3-2. The last time the two teams met was January 20, 1989. Wyoming defeated the Vikings 71-61 in Laramie. Portland State is coached by Sherri Murrell who is in her fourth season with the program.

    Tickets to Wednesday's game are on sale on-line now at WyomingAthletics.com and through the University of Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office. Ticket prices are $13 for adults, $7 for children and $5 for UW students. For this game, the first 500 students can get in free courtesy of University Wyoming Athletics donors. They can come to the Campus Entrance on the night of the game.

    Cowgirl Basketball season-ticket holders who wish to reserve their regular-season seats must either call the UW Athletics Ticket Office or drop by the ticket office prior to noon on the day of the game. Season-ticket holders will not be able to reserve their regular-season seats on-line through WyomingAthletics.com. The UW Athletics Ticket Office phone numbers are: (877) 996-3261 or (307) 766-4850.

    The Cowboy Joe Club & UW Athletic Department invites fans to the official WNIT Pregame Hospitality prior to the Cowgirls' First Round WNIT game on Wednesday from (5:30-7:00 p.m.), in the Paul & Marge Roach Hall at War Memorial Lobby on the south end of War Memorial Fieldhouse. The pregame hospitality is open to the public. Cost for the pregame function will be: FREE for Gold Card Cowboy Joe Club members, $5 for Brown Card Cowboy Joe Club members and $10 for the general public, A light meal will be served and complimentary pop or bottled water will be offered. A cash bar will also be available with costs of $3 for beer.