Cowgirls battle back but fall to undefeated Nebraska

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University of Wyoming photo

December 22, 2021 — The undefeated Nebraska Cornhuskers proved to be a bit too much for the Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team Wednesday afternoon in Lincoln, Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers defeated UW 72-61 in the Cowgirls’ final non-conference action of 2021-22.

The Cowgirls, now 4-5 pon the year, were up to the task on the offensive end in the game’s opening frame, as the two teams traded buckets in the game’s first 10 minutes. UW shot 7-of-15 from the floor in the first quarter and hit 3-of-6 from 3-point range. Nebraska’s offense was equally potent in the first, as it shot 9-of-17 and 5-for-8 from beyond-the-arc, including a last-second three to take a 23-20 lead after the first quarter.

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In the second, the Nebraska offense continued its torrid pace as the Cornhuskers, now 12-0, outscored Wyoming 19-11 in the frame, as UW shot just 26 percent in the second quarter and made only one 3-pointer as NU lengthened the lead to 42-31 going into halftime. Nebraska ended the half on a 7-2 run over the final 2:13 of the frame.

It was all Cornhuskers in the third quarter, as they continued to play well on both ends of the court, especially on the defensive end in the quarter. Nebraska would outscore the Cowgirls 15-8 in the third and took a 57-39 lead heading to the fourth.

After Nebraska built the lead up to 20 points, 60-40, with 9:17 left to play, the Cowgirls got back-to-back hoops to cut the deficit to 60-45 with 7:46 to play, leading to a Cornhusker timeout. With 2:20 left to play, the Cowgirls would get within nine, 68-59, thanks to an 8-0 run. The eight-point margin would be as close as UW could get, however as NU would get a second-chance three-point play with just under two minutes to go and eventually pushed the advantage back up to 13 late.

“Nebraska has a lot of weapons that we had to try and take away,” said Head Coach Gerald Mattinson. “They’re as good of a team that we have faced and will face this season. Overall I’m pleased with the effort today.”

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Wyoming shot 36.1 percent in the loss (22-for-61) and after hitting a trio of 3-pointers in the first quarter, hit just three more in the final three-quarters of play, shooting just 6-of-24 (25 percent) from beyond the arc. Nebraska shot just under 46 percent from the floor and hit 9-of-25 (36 percent) from 3-point range. The Cowgirls shot 11-of-14 at the free-throw line, while NU shot just 7-for-12.

Allyson Fertig led three Cowgirls in double figures with 16 points, which tied a career-best for the freshman in just her second career start. Fertig also led the way with nine rebounds and added a block and a steal in the loss. Alba Sanchez Ramos added 12 points, five boards and three assists on the day, while Ola Ustowska continued her solid bench play with 10 points on 4-of-7 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3-point land. McKinley Bradshaw chipped in with nine points and five rebounds.

“I thought overall, outside of parts of the second and third quarters, we played really well on both ends. We started taking away their 3-pointers and made some nice adjustments. I’m pleased, I’m not pleased that we lost, but I’m pleased overall – that we came into another tough environment and responded. We won’t quit.”

The Cowgirls now shift their focus post-Christmas to Mountain West Conference play. UW will begin with three of their next four-game on the road starting with traveling to San Diego State on Tuesday, December 28.