Courtesy: UW Athletics
Malibu, Calif. (Nov. 23, 2012) — Despite 16 first half turnovers, the Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team (3-0 overall) overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to earn a 55-45 victory over the Seton Hall Pirates (2-3 overall) in the opening round of the Pepperdine Thanksgiving Classic.
Three Cowgirls finished the night in double-figures led by sophomore guard Chelan Landry. She finished with a career high 13 points and five rebounds in her 21 minutes off the bench, while shooting 3-5 from the field and 7-8 from the free throw line. Kayla Woodward recorded her first double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds followed by Chaundra Sewell with 11 points and eight boards. Wyoming shot 15-45 (.333) from the field, 23-33 (.697) from the charity stripe and out rebounded the Pirates, 48-44.
Seton Hall was led by Brittany Morris with a team high 13 points and three steals in 33 minutes of action. Ka-Deidre Simmons added 12 points and five assists in her effort. The leading rebounder for the Pirates was Tabatha Richardson-Smith with seven. They were 19-75 (.253) from the field while being held to 7-38 (.184) in the second half along with shooting 3-26 (.115) from beyond the arc and 1-16 (.063) in the second half as well.
"It really made a difference in the second half when we went to the zone," said head coach Joe Legerski. "We talked about it all week that their quickness was going to be a problem for us and it was. We knew that we had the zone to fall back on and we started to slow it down at the end of the first half and then we had to stay committed to it. I thought we did a good job rebounding in the second half and a lot of one and outs. We also seemed to settle down offensively, especially when Chelan Landry came in at the point and really did a nice job running the offense. Fallon Lewis also had a solid game off the bench playing at both the three and four spots. It's nice to have a bench that you can have players come in that you can count on.
"Seton Hall can put a great deal of pressure on you. We made some lazy passes, they took advantage of it and that's what good teams do. As the game went on we got a little more aggressive and people stepped up, started making some free throws. A big factor was also not putting them on the free throw line. We only had six fouls in the second half."
The Cowgirls struggled in the early going of the game as they turned the ball over their first six possessions. Seton Hall took advantage by going ahead 6-0 before Wyoming got on the board at the 17:12 mark with a three point play by Chaundra Sewell. The Pirates answered with a Brittany Morris three-point field goal to take a six point lead, 9-3, through the first media timeout. The Cowgirls chipped away at the lead going on a 4-0 run started by a Kaitlyn Mileto basket to pull to within two, 9-7. Seton Hall went over four minutes without scoring until a basket by Terry Green ended the drought. Out of the media timeout and Seton Hall up by a score of 12-7, a three-point field goal by Kayla Woodward made it a 12-10, which was answered with two straight baskets to increase their lead back to six, 16-10. Sewell hit a basket to make it a four point game, 16-12 unfortunately the Pirates scored seven of the next nine to pull ahead by nine, 23-14. Finally a basket by Ashley Sickles would stop the Seton Hall run and close the gap to six, 23-17. Despite some late free throws, Wyoming would go into the lockerroom down 27-20.
Ashley Sickles would score the first points out of the halftime break to make the score 27-22. Seton Hall responded quickly with six straight points to give them a double-digit lead, 33-22, with 18:14 to go in the game. The Cowgirls responded with four straight free throws by Chelan Landry and Alison Gorrel to inch closer 33-26. A layup by Tabatha Richardson-Smith seemed to stop the momentum by Wyoming, but they stormed back with eight unanswered to close the gap to one, 35-34. A layup by Ka-Deidre Simmons would end a five minute drought by the Pirates to give them the 37-34 advantage with 9:34 on the clock. The Cowgirls continued to battle their way back into it, which was started by a jumper by Chaundra Sewell on the next possession. She would then hit a free throw to tie it up for the first time in the game, 37-37. After consecutive turnovers and two missed shots by each team, Fallon Lewis hit a jumper at the 7:48 mark to give Wyoming their first lead of the game, 39-37. Both teams traded possessions over the next minute and a half until a basket by Chaundra Sewell, a free throw by Ashley Sickles and three point play by Chelan Landry increased the Cowgirl lead to eight, 45-37. Free throws by Simmons finally stopped the drought for Seton Hall and made it a six point game, 45-39. Landry would get fouled the next time down the court and hit her free shots to make it an eight point game, 47-39. Wyoming would increase that lead to ten, 53-43, with six of seven points by Kayla Woodward. A basket by each team in the final two minutes of the game would help lead the Cowgirls to a 55-45 victory.
Wyoming will conclude tournament play tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 24 and will face South Dakota or Pepperdine. The game will be played at either 2:00 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. MT depending on the outcome of the game Friday night.