Cornhuskers Pull Away From Cowgirls Late

Tough opening to fourth costs UW
Published: Nov. 10, 2023 at 11:45 PM CST
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LARAMIE, WYO. (PRESS RELEASE)Nebraska used a couple of big scoring stretches, once to open the second quarter and again to begin the fourth as the Cornhuskers were able to pull away from the Wyoming Cowgirls in latter stages Friday night inside the Arena-Auditorium. Nebraska outscored the Cowgirls 17-8 in the fourth to take a 71-52 victory. In the final 11:36 of game time, the Cornhuskers went on a 23-8 extended run.

“We didn’t execute great tonight,” said Head Coach Heather Ezell after the game.

“We knew their size was going to cause some issues for us on the offensive end and force us to shoot some shots a little more contested than we’re used to. But we also knew that if we ran our motion, and did the things that we talked about, that we could get some really good looks and I thought at times we did that and at times we decided to do our own thing.”

Both teams were disjointed offensively to begin the game as the Cowgirls got the first hoop of the game nearly three minutes in. Wyoming missed its first four shots while Nebraska turned the ball over six times in the early stages. The Cowgirls led 6-3 at the first quarter media timeout. After the media, UW continued to struggle offensively as the Cornhuskers took their first lead of the game, 8-7 with a little over three minutes left in the first. The two teams traded hoops back-and-forth the rest of the quarter as things were tied at 15-15 after one.

Nebraska came out and took control in the second quarter, smothering the Cowgirls defensively and getting the offense going. The Cornhuskers scored the first 13 points of the frame and built the lead up to 28-15. A Malene Pedersen 3-pointer finally lifted the lid offensively for Wyoming in the frame. The Cowgirls suddenly started to find their rhythm from there however, hitting two more three balls and cutting the deficit down to 32-28. That would be the margin at the break as well.

Things began in the third much like they did the second with the Huskers pushing the lead back up to 38-28. After Nebraska went back up by 11, Wyoming again was able to claw its way back to make it 42-38 at the third quarter media timeout. It was 42-41, but a Tess Barnes 3-pointer was wiped away after review during the timeout. After both teams exchanged points following the timeout, the Cornhuskers were able to regain momentum heading into the fourth, ending the frame with three hoops in the final 1:36 and took a 54-44 lead into the final 10 minutes.

Nebraska carried the momentum into the fourth and brought the lead back up to more than 20 points multiple times in the frame. Wyoming couldn’t get back on track for the remainder of the contest as the Cornhuskers salted things away down the stretch.

The Cowgirls shot just 29.6-percent from the floor (16-54) while Nebraska was an efficient 26-of-52 for an even 50-percent. UW hit five 3-pointers in the loss while the Huskers had three triples. UW was 15-for-18 (83.3-percent) at the free-throw line with Nebraska shooting 69.6-percent (16-23).

Nebraska had a 40-30 advantage on the glass and doubled-up the Cowgirls, 8-4 in second-chance points and in points in the paint (40-20). The Wyoming bench outscored Nebraska reserves 22-13 in the contest.

Pedersen led Wyoming 13 in the loss. Eight of those points came at the free-throw line. Pedersen also led the way with seven rebounds and along with Ola Ustowska, had a team-best three assists. Allyson Fertig also finished in double figures with 11 points. Maren McKenna had nine points and recorded an assist off the bench.

The Cowgirls will now look to regroup with their first road trip of the season. Wyoming travels to face regional rival Denver, in a 6 p.m., contest Tuesday night.