• Fertig and Weidemann pace the Cowgirls in win
LARAMIE, Wyo. (Dec. 2, 2022) – The Wyoming Cowgirls had a battle on their hands Friday night in Laramie but pulled away late for a 67-59 victory in a hard-fought matchup with Montana State. The win was the Cowgirls’ second consecutive and moved UW to 4-3 overall.
Montana State got off to a good start, opening the game with a 7-2 lead and carried a 13-7 advantage into the first media timeout, with 2:02 remaining in the first quarter. The Cowgirls started the game shooting just 2-for-9. A pair of Ola Ustowska 3-pointers out of the timeout knotted the game up at 13-13, but the Bobcats got the quarter’s last hoop and led 15-13 after one.
In the second quarter, the two teams traded baskets before MSU started to get hot from the floor, lengthening the lead to 27-20 with a little over seven minutes left in the half. A three-point play from Marta Savic helped spark a Cowgirl run, as a pair of Allyson Fertig free throws tied things at 27-27 with 3:26 to go. A Malene Pedersen basket gave UW its first lead of the night with just over a minute to play in the half before the Bobcats answered with a layup immediately on the other end.
After MSU regained the lead, a Fertig putback layup and a pair of Pedersen freebies gave the Cowgirls a 32-29 lead to go into halftime. Both teams ended the half cold before that final minute of action. MSU went over six minutes without scoring and the Cowgirls went over five minutes without a made field goal.
The second half began with both teams trading layups as the Cowgirls had multiple chances to extend their lead but couldn’t. MSU would take advantage of Wyoming’s slow start to the half, taking a 36-34 lead with 6:10 to go in the third. A couple of Quinn Weidemann 3-pointers gave UW the lead both times, the second at 40-38 with just over five minutes left in the frame.
After the third quarter media, the Cowgirls got the lead up to two possessions a couple of times, but the Bobcats refused to go away, tying the game at 44-44 before Ustowska’s third triple of the game gave the lead right back to Wyoming. The next time down the court, it was Tess Barnes’ turn to hit a three and the Cowgirls had their biggest lead of the game, 50-44. That was Wyoming’s same advantage after three quarters of play.
The fourth began with a Wyoming layup but once again, Montana State came right back, scoring the next four to cut the deficit down to four. However, Fertig would go to work after that, getting a pair of lay-ins and forced a Bobcat timeout with 5:33 remaining and the Cowgirls holding a 56-48 lead. Out of the MSU timeout, the Bobcats would answer once again as both teams were disjointed offensively as UW clung to a 56-52 lead with 2:04 left.
Weidemann’s fourth 3-pointer off an Ustowska feed put the Brown & Gold up 59-52 with 1:23 to go. After a Bobcat steal and layup, the Cowgirls called a timeout with 53.9 left before MSU started to foul and send Wyoming to the free-throw line. Weidemann was able to knock down four at the line and then a Fertig layup on the press break gave the Cowgirls a 65-57 edge with 15.4 to go. From there, the Cowgirls would get a defensive stop and salted the game away.
“Our main adjustment tonight was just settling into what we wanted to do,” said Head Coach Heather Ezell.
“We made a couple of matchup adjustments. Once we settled in, I thought we started to get it figured out. That’s a really good team, there’s no doubt about it. That was an NCAA Tournament team last season and they’ve got a good chance to win the Big Sky again this season.”
Fertig finished the night with a game-high 18 points and seven rebounds and shot 8-of-14 from the floor. Weidemann also finished in double figures as she had 16 and went 4-of-9 from beyon-the-arc. Weidemann and Fertig both had a pair of steals in the win. Pedersen and Ustowska chipped in with nine points each.
Ustowska, along with Barnes had a solid all-around night for the Cowgirls. Ustowska finished the night with a career-high six assists while Barnes had eight points, trabbed four rebounds and dished out four assists. As a team, the Cowgirls tallied a season-high 16 assists.
The stats were pretty even on the night for both teams as Wyoming shot 41.1-percent overall and MSU shot 42.9-percent. The Cowgirls though, did hit nine 3-pointers to MSU’s three. Wyoming also made 12-of-13 at the free-throw line while MSU was 8-for-10. Both teams had 33 rebounds in the contest. UW ended up with a 12-0 advantage in fast break points and had a 12-5 edge in second-chance points.
Wyoming now looks to make it a season-best three consecutive wins Monday as it welcomes in New Mexico Highlands for a 6:30 p.m., contest in Laramie.