Cowgirl Basketball looks to beat Gonzaga for the first time in program history

Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 12:00 AM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Wyoming women’s basketball team enters this weekend with a 2-1 record, and will be tested once again as they travel to face Gonzaga on Saturday.

The Bulldogs have one of the most high powered offenses in the country, and it will take a collective effort from Wyoming to slow them down enough in order to grab a big road win.

”Really it’s gonna start on the defensive end. You know for us it’s still gonna be-- we gotta make sure we can defend for 40 minutes and not give them easy opportunities. On us, it’s gonna be mainly taking care of the ball on the offensive end, and not giving them turnovers that they can go score easy baskets on,” head coach Heather Ezell said. “But then when we’re setting our defense it’s their scouting report that we’re talking about that we’re working on for the next couple days here. To make sure that we’re really tuned in and trying to just focus on where we can bring some help in different areas. You know obviously [senior Yvonne] Ejim, we gotta make sure we’re trying to get her slowed down and doing some stuff like that.”

As Ezell said, Ejim has been lights out so far this season for Gonzaga. The forward is posting 19.3 points per game on 66 percent shooting and 7.5 rebounds per game, and she’s one of four bulldogs averaging double figures so far (Kayleigh Truong, Kaylynne Truong, Brynna Maxwell). This is a program that has historically given the Cowgirls problems; they’ve met six times, and Wyoming is winless in the series. Last season in Laramie, Ejim poured in 26 to help the Zags edge it out 66-64.

This year the Cowgirls are allowing just 57.3 points per game thus far, and their opponents are converting just 19.1 percent of their tries from beyond the arc-- so they’ve proven that they can lock down defensively. Wyoming will need that effort not just on Saturday against Gonzaga’s potent attack, but for the rest of their nonconference games as well. It’s a gauntlet, but Ezell believes they can hang with anyone on their schedule.

”Just something that we’ve gotta test ourselves. We’ve gotta get ourselves ready for Mountain West play. But I think that we’ve got a team that can compete with those kind of teams. We saw it for 30 minutes of the 40 minutes against Nebraska. You know we were right there with them. Just now we’ve gotta clean up some areas where we can be consistent and stay with it for 40 minutes. And that’s gonna be the opportunity we’re gonna have on Saturday up at Gonzaga,” Ezell said.

The game is slated to tip off at 3 p.m. MT.