Cowgirls can’t hold first lead in losing road contest at UNLV

Wyoming’s Taylor Rusk in brown) drives on a UNLV defender in Wyoming’s road loss at UNLV Saturday. Photo credit: Sean O’Sullivan University of Wyoming

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (Jan. 12, 2020) — For the second-consecutive game, the Wyoming Cowgirls held a halftime lead on the road, but struggled in the third quarter on their way to a 65-53 loss at UNLV Saturday.


“It’s kind of become our story,” said head coach Gerald Mattinson. “The last three or four games, that’s our storyline. We play well enough defensively, play a great first half, but the third quarter is just killing us. We don’t have an idea why. We’ve talked with captains, we’ve talked with the team, the team’s talked. You’re not going to beat teams scoring in single digits coming out of halftime. It’s just not going to happen.”

Wyoming, 3-3 in Mountain West Conference and 7-8 overall, has now lost three in-a-row and five of their last six games. UNLV has won their last five games and improves to 4-1 in conference and 8-8 on the year.


The Cowgirls led 20-16 after the first quarter and 30-26 at the half. But another cold second half doomed Wyoming as UNLV outscored the Cowgirls 18-9 in the third quarter and 21-14 in the fourth to secure the 65-53 win.

The Cowgirls shot 40.4 percent (21-52) from the field, 32.0 percent (8-25) from three and went a perfect 3-of-3 from the free throw line. But, UNLV outscored Wyoming by 12 points in free throws hitting 15 of 16 attempts.

The Cowgirls were led offensively by senior Taylor Rusk and sophomore Tereza Vitulova. Rusk scored a season-high 16 points, including three shots from beyond the arc. Rusk also had a team-best four assists and a team-high three steals. Vitulova matched Rusk’s scoring with 16 points, and grabbed five rebounds on the day.


UNLV’s top scorer was Rodjanae Wade with 22 points. She also had 10 rebounds. Latecia Smith added 19 points.

The Cowgirls continue Mountain West on Wednesday with a home game against Nevada (1-4 in MWC, 8-8 overall). That game can be heard on WyoRadio’s 1360 KRKK and streamed at beginning at 6 p.m. with tipoff at 6:30 p.m.