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Cowgirls Surge Past DU Late to Nab Season-Opening Win

 Basketball (Source: Gray News)
Basketball (Source: Gray News) (GIM)
Published: Dec. 5, 2020 at 11:44 PM CST
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LARAMIE, Wyo. (RELEASE) - The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team ended Saturday’s season opener on a 13-3 run over the final 4:09 of the game and hit nine of its final 10 shots as UW rallied for a 79-67 victory over Denver in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowgirls held Denver scoreless the final 3:53 of the contest to rally for the win.

McKinley Bradshaw led the Cowgirls (1-0) with 18 points on the win on 7-of-15 shooting and 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Bradshaw also grabbed five rebounds and had a steal in the victory. Dagny Davidsdottir recorded a double-double in her first career game in the Brown & Gold. The Niagara transfer scored 14 points on 5-of-7 from the field and pulled down a game-high 11 boards. Alba Sanchez Ramos and Quinn Weidemann were also in double-figures for the Cowgirls, scoring 12 and 11, respectively on the afternoon.

“I wanted to see us play with a high-intensity level, grittiness and toughness and it took us a little bit,” said Head Coach Gerald Mattinson.

“We’ve got a lot of kids out there trying to figure out how to guard and what to do, but I thought we made a couple of adjustments and I thought we responded, especially down the stretch when it mattered. I’m definitely pleased with our defensive effort in the second half.”

UW trailed 18-12 after the first quarter of play and went into halftime down 35-33 but in the second half, outscored the Pioneers (1-2) 46-32 including 25-13 in the final quarter. DU shot just 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) in the fourth quarter while the Cowgirls blistered the nets in the final 10 minutes, shooting 10-of-14 from the floor (71.4 percent) and hit a pair of 3-pointers, one each from Bradshaw and Sanchez Ramos.

For the game, the Cowgirls shot 49 percent from the floor and hit 10-of-23 from 3-point range while the Pioneers shot 39 percent for the game and made 12-of-30 from beyond-the-arc. Both teams went 5-of-7 from the free-throw line.

UW had a big edge in points in the paint, out-scoring Denver 42-20 inside while also having an edge in points off turnovers in the win at 12-8. Wyoming held a slight edge on the boards as well, grabbing 38 total rebounds to Denver’s 35.

Off the bench, the Cowgirls were led by freshman Ola Ustowska, who hit a trio of 3-pointers to lead the reserves with nine points. Ustowska also grabbed three rebounds and had two assists. Starting point guard Tommi Olson was again a spark for UW, Olson scored eight points on a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, grabbed nine rebounds, had four assists, a block and a steal for an all-around effort in the win.

“I’m pleased with our effort. I think it took us awhile for them to get their legs under them and get a feel for the game. I also think that once we started playing the way we wanted to and the way we worked on things, it allowed the game to slow down a bit too and play at a pace we like to play at,” said Mattinson postgame.

Uju Ezeudu led the Pioneers with a game-high 26 points in the contest, shooting 10-of-15 overall and 5-for-8 from 3-point range. Leading scorer Meghan Boyd, who came into the contest averaging 24.5 points per game on the season, was held to just 11 points.

Next up, the Cowgirls host Gonzaga in a 6:30 p.m., contest Tuesday in UW’s final home non-conference game of the season. The Bulldogs entered 2020-21 ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press top-25.

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