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Cowgirls to ring in new year with conference opener against Fresno State

Malene Pedersen puts up a shot in her team's win over Kansas City. (via Wyoming Cowgirls Basketball Twitter)

LARAMIE, Wyo. — The University of Wyoming Cowgirls will close 2022 out by seeking their first victory in Mountain West conference play, as the Cowgirls host Fresno State Dec. 31 for a 6 p.m. contest.

Wyoming (7-5, 0-1 MW) is coming off a 73-67 loss Thursday at UNLV in the conference opener. The loss was a battle with the defending Mountain West Champions that saw a 12-2 run by the Lady Rebels erase a seven-point Cowgirl lead early in the fourth quarter. The game featured four ties and five lead changes.

Quinn Weidemann led the Cowgirls with the eighth 20-point game of her career. Weidemann shot an incredible 8-for-9 from the floor and hit 3-of-4 from 3-point range. Tess Barnes and Emily Mellema each scored in double figures off the bench and both netted career-highs. Mellema had 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting and went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. Mellema, who had the second double-digit scoring game of her career, tied for the team lead with four assists in the loss. Barnes, who also had a career-high, scored in double figures for the first time in her career as she had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Barnes also added a game-high two blocks against UNLV.

On the season, Quinn Weidemann is averaging a team-best 13.3 points per game while shooting 48.6% from the floor and 46.7% from 3-point range. Weidemann’s 2.3 3-pointers per game, as well as her shooting from beyond-the-arc, both rank second-best in the conference. Meanwhile, her 28 assists and 10 steals are both second-best on the team.

Tommi Olson leads UW with 30 assists while Allyson Fertig’s 9.3 rebounds per game leads the team and ranks second in the conference. Grace Ellis is second on the Cowgirls in scoring, averaging 9.9 points per game. Ellis is shooting 51.6% from the field and has gone 15-for-30 from behind the arc.

The Cowgirls look to defend their home court, having won at least seven conference games at home in each of the past six seasons. In the past six seasons combined, Wyoming is 43-9 (.827) in conference games while at home in Laramie.

Meanwhile, the Fresno State Bulldogs have a trio of athletes scoring in double figures. Yanina Todorova leads Fresno State with 12 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Todorova also has a team-best 47% field goal percentage and is second on the team with 11 made 3-pointers and 29 free throws. Amaya West is averaging 11.6 points per game and has a team-best 44 made free throws and 22 steals. Amiee Book also averages in double figures, with 10.1 points per contest.

As a team, Fresno State is averaging 56.7 points per game while opponents are averaging at 54.5. Fresno State is shooting 39.3% overall from the floor and 30.3% from 3-point range. The Bulldog’s opponents are shooting at an even 40% clip and are hitting just under 30% from beyond-the-arc. The Bulldogs are out-rebounding opponents by just over one board per contest.