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Wyoming Cowgirls open WNIT with bang, crush Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

The Wyoming Cowgirls were firing on all cylinders Friday night, cruising to a 34-point win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in their WNIT opener.

Wyoming Cowgirl Tess Barnes puts up a shot in her team's dominating victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the first round of the Women's NIT. (via Wyoming Cowgirl Basketball Twitter)

LARAMIE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Cowgirls put together a dominant performance in the first round of the Women’s NIT on Friday night, defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 75-41. The Cowgirls led by as many as 37 points in the game.

The 34-point margin of victory by the Cowgirls is the second-highest in a WNIT game in program history.

“I was most happy with our play on the defensive end tonight,” head coach Heather Ezell said. “The way that we played on that end from the start, I knew it would take us a bit to get going, since we hadn’t played in over a week. But I thought our defense is what carried us at the beginning and then things started to roll. I was happy with the way we played offensively as well, sharing the ball.”

Things were fast-paced to open the game from both teams, as the Cowgirls built up an 11-7 lead in the game’s opening minutes. Following the first media timeout, the two teams exchanged a couple more hoops before a Malene Pedersen 3-pointer from the corner pushed the Cowgirls’ advantage to 18-11.

The second quarter began with a pair of Marta Savic layups that forced an Islander timeout with just under eight minutes left in the half and Wyoming up 22-11. Out of the timeout, Corpus Christi got a layup, though that was quickly followed by five consecutive Cowgirl points.

From there, the Wyoming onslaught only continued, as the lead was pushed up to 31-15 with a little over five minutes to play in the half. The lead first eclipsed 20 points when the Cowgirls went up 39-18 with just over a minute to play in the frame.

Wyoming ultimately took a 42-18 lead into the break, as a Grace Ellis corner 3-pointer closed what had been a dominating opening half for the Cowgirls.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi scored the first two buckets of the second half before Wyoming responded with the next six points, pushing the lead to 48-22. The rest of the third saw Wyoming extend its lead up to 61-28 going into the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to multiple trips to the free throw line and a pair of Tess Barnes 3-pointers.

In the fourth, the Cowgirls built their lead up to 68-31 at one point,

Allyson Fertig was just a rebound shy of her 10th double-double of the season, as she also scored a game-high 17 points. Fertig made an impact on the defensive end as well, and led the Cowgirls with four blocks. Barnes and Pedersen each had 11 points in the win.

Emily Mellema and Savic contributed eight and six points, respectively, off the bench. Quinn Weidemann added eight. Tommi Olson led the way with five assists, her seventh game this season with at least five dimes. Ola Ustowska made an impact for Wyoming to, scoring five points, grabbing a career-high six rebounds and dishing out four assists.

Wyoming shot 42.6% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. The Cowgirls also made 19 of 25 at the free throw line.

The Islanders, meanwhile, were held to 27.6% shooting and went just 3 of 16 from 3-point land. The Cowgirls also forced Corpus Christi into committing 15 turnovers, scoring 11 points off Islander turnovers.

Next up, Wyoming will face Kansas State at 5 p.m. on March 21 in New York in the tournament’s second round.


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