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Cowgirls stumble again, lose to New Mexico

UW Cowgirl McKinley Dickerson puts up a shot. (via Wyoming Cowgirl Basketball X)

LARAMIE, Wyo. — New Mexico’s 3-point shooting was the difference Saturday afternoon in Laramie as the Cowgirls were snake-bitten once again, dropping another hard-fought contest 59–58. UW had a last-second 3-pointer miss, allowing the Lobos to escape.

Wyoming got the first three buckets of the game. The Cowgirls led 6–5 at the first media timeout. Out of the timeout, the two defenses continued to play tough the rest of the frame. However, a 3-pointer from Kati Ollilainen and a three-point play from Allyson Fertig helped give Wyoming a 12–8 lead after one.

The second quarter began with a big 10–0 run from New Mexico (19–9, 10–5 MW) as it took its first lead of the game. The strong Lobo shooting from beyond-the-arc continued in the quarter, and they led 22–16 at the media timeout. Following the timeout, UNM continued to build its lead up, leading by as many as 10 in the frame. The Cowgirls trailed 26–18 at the half.

The Cowgirls came out in the second half and scored the first five points to cut the deficit to 26–23. UW’s offense started to come alive, but it failed to get stops on the defensive end as the Lobos stayed in front.

Wyoming trailed 38–33 at the media timeout. Out of the timeout, the Cowgirls tied it up at 38–38 as Emily Mellema knocked down a 3-pointer. After that, a Marta Savic hook shot gave UW it’s first lead of the second half. UNM reclaimed the lead before a McKinley Dickerson driving layup and a 3-pointer. Wyoming led 45–41 going to the fourth.

The two teams traded 3-pointers to open the fourth before a timeout from the Lobos with 7:40 left and the Cowgirls clinging to a 48–47 lead. Out of the timeout, the two teams again traded 3-pointers, but those were the only points scored before the media timeout other than a Wyoming free throw as the Cowgirls led 52–50. Another Savic layup came after the timeout and before a UW timeout with 3:54 remaining. The Lobos took the lead after the timeout as again the UW offense became stagnant.

A Malene Pedersen layup cut the deficit to one with a minute left, but the Cowgirls couldn’t get over the hump the final two minutes as the outside shooting went cold again down the stretch. New Mexico was able to hit a pair at the free-throw line with under 17 seconds left before a Mellema layup cut it to 59–58 with 15 seconds left. After Wyoming forced a turnover via a jump ball, the Cowgirls’ last-second corner 3-pointer missed as UNM held on.

“We had an opportunity there at the end, we got the shot we wanted, either a layup or a wide-open three in the corner,” said Heather Ezell postgame.

“We talk about taking the right shots, for the most part, we have been taking the right shots, now we just have to start knocking them down. We executed like we wanted to do on the defensive end of the floor today, mostly.”

Wyoming shot just 5-of-19 from 3-point range in the loss while the Lobos were 11-of-25. Overall, the Cowgirls shot 43.6% (24–55) with UNM shooting 41.2% (21–51). UW forced 17 New Mexico turnovers while tallying a season-best 11 steals on the day.

The Cowgirls had a 38–20 advantage in points in the paint and scored 14 turnovers off New Mexico miscues. The Lobos scored 12 points off turnovers. UNM had a 5–0 edge in second-chance points, also out-rebounding Wyoming by nine. The Cowgirl bench provided 14 points while New Mexico’s scored 16.

Pedersen led all scorers with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Mellema added 11 points and a pair of steals while Fertig closed the game with 10 points but shot the ball just five times in the contest. Ola Ustowska led the Cowgirls with five rebounds, five assists and three steals in the game.

Wyoming now hits the road, looking to break its slide. The Cowgirls travel to face San Jose State at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

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