Wyoming’s Girls Cowgirls’ season comes to a close in WNIT second round

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Wyo4News Staff, [email protected] [gowyo.com]

MANHATTAN, KANSAS —  The Wyoming Cowgirls’ season came to an end Tuesday night on the road at Kansas State in the second round of the Women’s NIT. The Wildcats used a couple of big scoring runs in the first half to jump out on the Cowgirls on their way to a 71-55 victory.

The Cowgirls opened with the first five points of the game before K-State countered with a big answer, scoring the next 13 points, and led 13-7 at the first quarter media timeout. Following the timeout, the two teams exchanged free throws before an Emily Mellema 3-pointer got the Cowgirls to within three, 15-12. The Wildcats would lengthen their lead before the end of the frame however and held a 22-12 lead after one.

KSU continued to control the game on both ends of the court in the second quarter, opening the frame with another scoring run, this time 9-0 before an Allyson Fertig 3-pointer ended the UW scoring drought. Another Mellema three got Wyoming to within 13 but the Cowgirl offense continued to sputter later in the quarter, despite some good looks, as Kansas State brought the lead up to 36-20 at halftime. The Cowgirls shot just 27-percent from the floor in the game’s first 20 minutes while holding K-State to just under a 39-percent clip.

In the third quarter, Wyoming still struggled to get the offense going in the beginning of the frame, before back-to-back layups got it on track a bit. The Wildcats carried a 39-26 lead into the media timeout. Out of the timeout, Kansas State kept the Cowgirls at arms-length the final six-plus minutes of the quarter as Mellema tried to keep UW in it, hitting her fourth 3-pointer to get the score to 49-36. K-State led 51-37 after three.

In the fourth, the Wildcats extended the lead up to as many as 17 as they maintained a comfortable margin the rest of the way. Wyoming got to within 11 three times in the fourth, first, on a Tommi Olson three, then later on a layup by Malene Pedersen. The final time came on a transition layup from Mellema with two minutes left, but that was as close as things would get the remainder of the contest.

Mellema poured in a career-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting while also making a career-best four 3-pointers. Pedersen added 15 while Fertig had nine, a team-best seven rebounds and three blocks. Ola Ustowska, along with Quinn Weidemann, had a team-leading three assists each.

The Cowgirls shot 21-of-59 from the floor and 8-for-24 from 3-point range. KSU, meanwhile, was at 37.7-percent (20-53) from the field and made 6-of-17 from 3-point range. The biggest difference came at the free-throw line, where the Wildcats were 25-of-30 while UW went 5-for-11.

It was the final game in the illustrious careers for Cowgirl seniors, Olson and Weidemann. Weidemann, who’s played the most games of any Cowgirl in program history, closes her career with 1461 points, 12th-most all-time and third with 251 made 3-pointers. Olson, meanwhile, is third all-time in games played in the Brown and Gold and finishes her career seventh in both career assists (375) and steals (172) in UW history.