(Courtesy Wyoming Media Relations)
The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team (24-7 overall, 12-4 MW) had their Reese's Mountain West Tournament run ended with a 63-62 loss to the Fresno State Bulldogs (23-8 overall, 13-3 MW) on Friday afternoon in Las Vegas.
"There were times tonight where this group showed their resiliency to keep fighting back, being down eight, ten points, even with four minutes to go," said head coach Joe Legerski. "We talked about being down six and you need to believe. They came out and played at a very high level, gave themselves a chance. That's all you can ask as a coach.
Last night in the game against Colorado State, we made one play and had the ball bounce our way. Tonight you give credit to Fresno State. They made one more play and we just came up so very short.
Very close, but it comes down to a number of execution plays and that you have to make sure that each and every one makes a difference, whether it's in the first minute of the game or the last minute of the game.
But I'm very proud of this team, what they've been able to accomplish, and how they continue to battle throughout a 40 minute basketball game."
Sophomore Kayla Woodward scored a game high 22 points and nine rebounds, while Chaundra Sewell finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. Two other players finished with eight points. Wyoming shot 24-51 (.471) from the field and 10-12 (.833) from the free throw line. They also out rebounded the Bulldogs, 38-30.
Three players finished in double-figures for Fresno State led by Ki-Ki Moore. She had 22 points and five rebounds. Taylor Thompson had 17 points and Bree Farley added 11. The Bulldogs were 24-64 (.375) from the field and 11-14 (.786) from the free throw line.
Kayla Woodward hit a three in the first two minutes to get the Cowgirls on the board first. Fresno State answered back with six straight points to go ahead by three, 6-3. A layup by Chaundra Sewell ended the Wyoming scoreless stretch to pull them to within one, 6-5, but a Taylor Thompson basket made it 8-5 through the first media timeout. A basket by Sewell would start a small run to pull them to within one, 11-10, with 13:45 on the clock. Over the next two minute stretch, the Bulldogs scored nine straight points to increase the lead to double-figures, 20-10. A layup by Fallon Lewis would end a three minute field goal drought and then the teams traded the next couple of baskets. With the score 24-15 in favor of Fresno State, a scoop shot by Chelan Landry would start a 9-0 scoring run capped off by a Woodward three to tie the score at 24 all. Ki-Ki Moore hit a shot to stop the Cowgirl run to put FSU back up two, 26-24, while two free throws by Sewell evened it back up at 26 with 5:43 left in the half. After two free throws by Bree Farley, UW scored the next five points to put them up by three, 31-28. Fresno State closed out the half on a 6-0 run to take a 34-31 lead into the locker room.
Woodward led all scorers with 12 points while adding five rebounds. Sewell followed with seven points and a team high six rebounds. The Cowgirls shot 12-28 (.429) from the field and 4-9 (.444) from beyond the arc. They also out rebounded FSU, 19-17. The Bulldogs were led by Moore with 11 points while Farley added nine. They were 14-33 (.424) from the field and 2-8 (.250) from beyond the arc.
Wyoming started off the second half with a three-point play by Woodward to tie the score at 34 all. Over the next stretch, the two teams traded scores until a three-point field goal by Farley gave Fresno State a 41-38 lead with 15:41 remaining in the game. The Cowgirls ran off the next four of five to even things up at 42 all, which was answered with five unanswered by the Bulldogs putting them ahead 47-42 with 12:27 left in the game. A Woodward layup and two free throws by Landry ended a three minute scoreless stretch for UW making it a one-point contest, 47-46. Started by a Moore basket, Fresno State went on another 9-0 run to give them a 55-46 advantage with 8:15 remaining. The Cowgirls continued to battle and a 7-2 run cut into the lead 57-53. A basket by Moore and free throws from Thompson got the lead back to eight, 61-53. Wyoming mounted one final comeback as they scored the next seven straight, including five from Sewell, to close it to one, 61-60, with 57 seconds to go. After a missed layup by the Bulldogs, Kayla Woodward hit a jumper to put the Cowgirls ahead by one, 62-61, with 13 seconds on the clock. Out of a timeout, junior Ki-Ki Moore scored in the final seconds to lift Fresno State to the 63-62 win.
The Cowgirls will wait until next week about their possibilities for postseason play. The selection show for the women is Monday.