April 12, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Wyoming's Cowgirl basketball team spent much of March reaching one of the pinnacles of women's basketball, the WNIT Championship.
They will spend much of May, Down Under.
The Cowgirls assured themselves of a special place in UW's history and tradition by earning the national title, and capturing the hearts of all Wyoming fans in the process. They are following that marvelous run to the title with an 11-day exhibition tour of Australia.
During that time, Wyoming will play four exhibition games in three Australian cities from May 11 through May 22. The tour will begin with two games in Melbourne, followed by a game in Sydney and one in Cairns.
"We believe this is a wonderful opportunity for our program, and the University of Wyoming," said head coach Joe Legerski. "We are excited about the trip, and looking forward to a terrific experience. Not only will it give us more time to practice and play, but it will provide our three Australian players a chance to play in their home country."
According to UW Athletics Director Tom Burman, the trip will be financed through three sources: discretionary funds made available by the UW Foundation Board and managed by UW President Tom Buchanan, the university's Cowboy Joe Club, and the UW Intercollegiate Athletics Department.
"There is a significant expense involved in a trip of this kind," Burman said. "But we believe this experience is vital to building a Top 25 program. Not only does it enhance our international and domestic recruiting, but it allows the Cowgirls additional practice time, and game experience against quality opponents.
"This is the type of funding opportunity that I believe Cowboy Joe Club members around the country want to support."
Burman indicated that the trip will cost approximately $90,000. Of that total, $30,000 will come from the Foundation funds, and the remainder will be financed by Cowboy Joe and the athletics department.
"The club and its board of directors are happy to support the Cowgirls' trip to Australia," said Josh Rebholtz, associate athletics director for external affairs, and the club's executive director. "This is one example of the many ways club members provide help to UW's student athletes. All club members are proud of what the Cowgirls have accomplished, and are pleased to help in any way they can."
Wyoming finished its magical season with a 27-9 record, the best in school history. It also marked the first time in Wyoming history that a Cowgirl team produced back-to-back 20-win seasons (21-9 in 2005-06). The Cowgirls finished 11-5 in the Mountain West Conference, tying them for second place. It was the best conference finish since the 1989-90 season.
Junior Hanna Zavecz was a first-team All- MWC selection, while junior Justyna Podziemska was named the league's Newcomer of the Year. The Cowgirls easily broke the women's single-game attendance record with 15,462 in the WNIT championship game against Wisconsin. The Cowgirls drew 44 percent of the WNIT's entire tournament total, with 52,079 fans for six games in the Double A. Wisconsin was a distant second in tournament attendance, drawing 12,210 for four games.