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University of Wyoming Cowgirls surge past San Jose State

The Cowgirls started off the second half strong offensively, taking their biggest lead of the game to that point, 49-35 early in the third. (University of Wyoming Cowgirls Basketball Twitter)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Wyoming Cowgirls pulled out a tough, defensive battle Saturday afternoon on the road, defeating San Jose State 64-48. Emily Mellema was the only Cowgirl in double figures with 12, but five others scored eight or more in the victory.

The first quarter was disjointed offensively, as both teams played strong defense. Wyoming held a 10-7 lead after the first 10 minutes of play. Wyoming turned the ball over six times in the first quarter, but made up for the errors by holding the Spartans to just 3-of-13 shooting.

In the second quarter, the Cowgirls continued to turn the ball over, with another six miscues in the frame. However, the inside-outside game was working for Wyoming in the quarter as the inside game got going with Allyson Fertig, as Tommi Olson and Ola Ustowska both hit 3-pointers. UW led by as many as nine late in the half, 27-18 and took a 27-20 lead into halftime.

Wyoming shot 43.5% from the floor and hit four of its nine shots from 3-point range. The Cowgirl defense held San Jose to just 29.6% shooting and 2-of-7 from beyond-the-arc.

The second half began with the Spartans cutting the Wyoming lead to 29-24 before back-to-back fastbreak layups off steals by Malene Pedersen and Quinn Weidemann forced a San Jose timeout with roughly six minutes left in the third and UW up 33-24.

After the timeout, the Spartans went on a bit of a run, cutting the Cowgirl lead down to just 35-32 with about two and a half minutes left in the third. Ustowska hit a pair of 3-pointers to push the Wyoming lead back up to 41-34 heading into the fourth.

In the final quarter, the two teams opened by trading hoops as Olson’s third 3-pointer of the game put the Cowgirls in front 44-36 with under nine minutes to play. After that, SJSU answered, however, with six consecutive points to cut the UW lead down to just 44-42 with under seven minutes to play. After a pair of Weidemann free throws, the Cowgirls called timeout with about six minutes left.

Following the timeout, the Spartans would get a hoop before consecutive shots fell for the Cowgirls to make it 50-44. Wyoming got the lead back up to double digits thanks to a Weidemann layup off a steal and a pair of free throws from Mellema with under two and a half minutes to play. Mellema hit a pull-up jumper after a San Jose timeout, closing a 10-0 run for the Cowgirls over a roughly four-minute span late in the game.

The final minute and a half of the contest was salted away by UW at the free throw line, with eight made buckets at the charity stripe.

“Contributions from pretty much everybody that saw minutes, which was awesome,” associate head Coach Ryan Larsen said. “I’m very happy for Ola, those were timely 3-pointers. Emily, she did a great job knocking down those free throws late. It’s hard to win and it’s really hard to win on the road.”

Mellema finished the game with the 12 points. Fertig, Olson, Ustowska and Weidemann all added nine points apiece in the victory, while Pedersen chipped in with eight.