Fourth Quarter Surge Helps Lead Cowgirls Past North Dakota in Opener
Fertig leads the way with double-double, UW reserves key Cowgirls
LARAMIE, Wyo. (Press Release) - The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team opened the 2023-24 season in convincing fashion Monday night inside the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowgirls outscored North Dakota 20-7 in the fourth in the contest to pull away late for a 77-60 win. Although Wyoming didn’t trail in the contest, the margin was single digits for most of the game.
The Cowgirls got off to a strong start offensively, hitting five of their first eight shots to take an early 11-3 lead, forcing a UND timeout with 6:07 left in the first quarter. Out of the timeout, UW built the lead up to double digits a couple of times before the Fighting Hawks would cut the deficit down to just 19-14 after one quarter of play.
In the second, North Dakota came roaring back and tied things at 21-21 with under seven minutes to play in the half. After that, the Cowgirls responded with three consecutive hoops to reclaim the lead. Wyoming held a 29-23 lead at the second quarter media timeout. After the Fighting Hawks cut the score to 31-30, the Cowgirls ended the half on a 7-2 run to take a 38-32 lead into the break.
The second half began with UND continuing to take and make tough shots as it cut the Wyoming lead down to 46-44 at the third quarter media. After the timeout, North Dakota would tie it up at 48-48 before a nice response came from the Cowgirls, a 9-0 run pushed UW back in front. The Fighting Hawks would respond at the end of the third though and cut the Wyoming advantage down to 57-53 heading into the fourth.
Wyoming came out strong in the fourth, opening the lead up to 67-56 with six minutes to play in the game. From there, the Cowgirls would continue to keep North Dakota at bay, leading by as many as 17 late in the quarter. UW held UND to just 1-of-10 shooting to close the game and 3-of-16 overall in the final 10 minutes.
Allyson Fertig picked up where she left off last season, tallying a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. It is the 20th double-double of Fertig’s career, which is one away from moving her onto the all-time top-10 list in program history for the statistic. Fertig shot 5-of-9 from the field and went a perfect 8-of-8 at the free-throw line. Fertig also tallied a pair of blocks in the win.
Kati Ollilainen had 14 points off the bench in her first career game in the Brown & Gold. Ollilainen shot 5-of-8 from the floor and made two of the Cowgirls’ three 3-pointers in the victory. Emily Mellema also finished the game in double figures with 10 points to go along with a trio of steals. Tess Barnes had nine points in the contest and notched a career-best seven assists.
UW also got strong contributions from reserves in Malene Pedersen and Marta Savic. Pedersen had six points and four assists against UND while Savic was a perfect 4-of-4 shooting in 14 minutes of action. McKinley Dickerson had eight points, two assists and a block in her first game since the 2021-22 season.
The Cowgirls ended the night shooting 30-of-63 (47.6-percent) from the floor but went 27-of-42 (64.2-percent) from inside the 3-point line. UND shot 41-percent (23-56) from the floor and made 4-of-19 from beyond-the-arc. Wyoming finished the game a perfect 14-of-14 at the free-throw line while the Fighting Hawks went 10-for-14.
Wyoming enjoyed a huge advantage inside, outscoring UND 48-18 in points in the paint. The Cowgirls also had a 7-1 edge in second-chance points. Cowgirl reserves ended up with 32 points on the night while North Dakota got just five from its bench.
Next up, the Cowgirls welcome in Big Ten foe, Nebraska, Friday for a 6:30 p.m., tip-off inside the Arena-Auditorium. The Cornhuskers have defeated UW in Lincoln the previous two seasons.
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