Cowgirls can’t recover from bad first quarter in Wednesday loss

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University of Wyoming photo

February 3, 2022 — A slow start to begin the game proved costly in a defensive struggle Wednesday night at the Air Force Academy as the Wyoming Cowgirls fell 47-45. Air Force scored the first 10 points of Wednesday’s contest in building a 19-9 end of first-quarter lead. While the Cowgirls would outscore the Falcons in each of the next three quarters, the Cowgirls couldn’t make the complete comeback. UW did have a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but McKinley Bradshaw’s 3-pointer shot went halfway down and then came out of the hoop.

The loss dropped UW to 4-5 in the Mountain West and 8-10 overall. Air Force improved to 6-5 in conference and 12-10 on the season.

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“They came out, and they punched us, and they punched us hard,” said Wyoming Head Coach Gerald Mattinson. “We asked the kids this week ‘how are you going to respond’ and to be honest; we didn’t respond very well. We finally got ourselves back into it, but we lose by two, and we went 7-of-12 at the free-throw line, which is unacceptable, and we turn it over 21 times.”

Air Force built a 12-point lead midway through the second quarter. However, the Cowgirls would cut the lead to 29-22 by the end of the first half.

The Cowgirls would open the second half on a 9-4 run to cut the deficit down to just 33-31 with 3:50 to go in the half, but the Falcons would extend the lead back up to 37-31 heading to the fourth quarter.

With the score 47-45 in favor of Air Force with 17.2 seconds left, Wyoming would have a final chance to tie or win the contest. Out of a timeout, Bradshaw’s last-second 3-pointer went halfway down and out as Air Force survived with the win. “We gave ourselves a chance there at the end, but that was like the fifth or sixth time tonight that we didn’t execute a set, so it sent us into a scramble mode there at the end,” said Mattinson. Bradshaw paced the Cowgirls with 14 points in the loss.

The Cowgirls will travel to conference-leading New Mexico (10-1 in the MW, 19-5 overall) for a Saturday afternoon game. The game will be broadcast on WyoRadio’s 1360/103.5 KRKK and 1360KRKK.com beginning at 1:30 p.m. with the tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.