The Wyoming women’s basketball team didn’t shoot the ball well, but it made the shots it needed to and did a lot of other things well in a 61-56 victory over Boise State in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas Tuesday.
The Cowgirls (20-10) and the tournament’s fifth seed, shot just 31.3 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range. Only one player shot better than 50 percent from the field.
But sophomore guard Marquelle Dent recorded game highs with 23 points and six assists. Her two free throws with 27.3 seconds left in the game secured the victory as the Cowgirls advanced to the semifinals for the third consecutive year. That’s never happened in school history, nor in the 16-year history of this event.
Here are some second half highlights, including some key plays down the stretch.
But even though Dent was the hero, there were other key contributions.
Even though she shot 3 of 17 from the field, junior guard Kayla Woodward had 10 points, nine rebounds and a game-high five steals. UW forced 19 turnovers as a team.
Senior forward Fallon Lewis had nine points — all in the second half — and six of her 10 rebounds also came in the final 20 minutes. Junior guard Kaitlyn Mileto played only seven first-half minutes due to two fouls, but her eight second-half points were big for the Cowgirls.
But that’s not all.
Junior post Jordan Sibrel had six points and six offensive rebounds. With Mileto on the bench, senior guard Chelan Landry’s five first-half points — all from the free-throw line — were big.
UW outrebounded Boise State 45-35, and 16-5 on the offensive glass. It also held Boise State to 3 of 15 from 3-point range. Boise State made 11 3s in a home win over UW on March 1.
A few other notes from the game:
–UW has played three straight MW Tournament games that have been decided by five points or less. It is 2-1 in those games.
–The Cowgirls were 5 of 15 from 3-point range, has made a 3 in every game this season and in 158 consecutive games dating back to March 10, 2009.
–Dent is ninth in school history for most assists in a season (142).
–The Cowgirls are 9-3 in day games.
–Sibrel’s 35 minutes were a career-high.
Next up is Border War III between UW and Colorado State. The Rams are the top seed and beat Utah State Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
Both teams split the two regular-season games, and both won on their home floor.
If Tuesday’s game is any indication, there will be a definite UW home-court advantage. Most of the 2,462 fans were Cowgirls fans.
One thing that needs to change is Woodward’s shooting. She was 0 of 7 against Colorado State in a 58-46 loss on March 7, and is 5 of 38 in her last three games. She doesn’t need to do everything on her own in Friday’s semifinals, but she needs to make more shots.
But if Dent can keep up the way she’s playing and the Cowgirls get key contributions from everyone, the game figures to be a good one.
For more on the game, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.