Cowgirls Shine on Offense and Defense in Blowout of Mississippi Valley State

Tracy Ringolsby

From the desk of Sean O'Sullivan/Wyoming Athletic Department

LARAMIE – The Cowgirls combined their best offensive performance of the season with a stellar defensive effort to earn a decisive 95-22 win over Mississippi Valley State (1-7) on Thursday night at the AA. Wyoming (6-3) saw career nights from freshmen McKinley Bradshaw and Jaeden Vaifanua, as UW’s winning streak improved to four games.

“What I really saw that I was most pleased with was, I thought everybody that played, went in and played hard,” said head coach Gerald Mattinson. “They played to the scout, they did what they were asked to do. They didn’t play the score, and they defended until the end. That’s something we’re going to hang our hat on as long as I’m here.”

Bradshaw outscored Mississippi Valley State by herself, 26-22. The Lyman native hit a career-high 10 field goals, a career-high five three pointers and pulled down a career-high seven rebounds. She added an assist and a steal for good measure.

“I thought McKinley played outstanding,” Mattinson said. “She shot 10-of-13, 5-of-7 (from three), seven rebounds and she didn’t force a shot. She made good, solid decisions, and that basket must have looked like the ocean for her.”

Vaifanua had her first career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs. She also tied her career highs on the defensive end of the floor with a block and a steal. She drained a career-best two shots from long range and made a career-best eight field goals total.

The freshmen were joined in double-figure scoring by sophomores Quinn Weidemann and Tereza Vitulova, who each scored 10 points. Vitulova pulled down seven rebounds. It’s the seventh time this season and the 12 time in her career she has reached double-figure scoring. 

Weidemann had two rebounds and a pair of steals. It’s the fourth time this season Weidemann has had multiple steals, and the fourth time this season and 11 in her career that she’s reached double-figure scoring.

Senior Taylor Rusk scored eight points and had five assists, the 17 time in her career with at least five assists. Sophomore Karla Erjavec had three points and tied for the team lead with Rusk with five assists, reaching the five-assist mark for the third time this year and the 11 time in her career.

Sophomore Alba Sanchez Ramos added seven points, three rebounds, two assists and a career-high-tying two steals. Junior Jaye Johnson scored five points and pulled own four rebounds, while redshirt junior Selale Kepenc scored four points and had tied her career-high with six rebounds.

The 73-point margin of victory is the fourth-best in in school history, and the best since The Cowgirls defeated Western State by a score of 104-29 on Nov. 17, 2014. Wyoming also had a season-high 15 steals, a season-high 26 assists, made a season-high 13 three pointers, a season-best 40 field goals and a season-high 54 rebounds.

The Cowgirls outrebound the Devilettes by a margin of 26, 54-28, and had 23 second-chance points to MVSU’s seven. The 23 second-chance points are a season-best, as are the 46 points in the paint, the 57 bench points and the 33 points off turnovers.

Weidemann started the game’s scoring with a steal and a fast break layup to kick start a 9-0 Cowgirl run that was capped by a Weidemann corner three, forcing an MVSU timeout with UW up 9-0 at the 7:14 to go in the first quarter. Out of the break, Weidemann added another three before the Devilettes got on the board with a long jumper.

Wyoming used a 7-0 run to go up 19-2 before MVSU scored a pair of free throws to end a 2:04 scoring drought. The Devilettes ended another 7-0 UW run with a layup, but Vitulova answered on the offensive end, and Bradshaw added a three to give UW a 31-6 lead after one quarter.

Kepenc scored a turnaround jumper to start the second quarter, and Erjavec added a three to make it 36-6 with 7:46 to play in the first half. Rusk added another trey with 5:07 to play, and Vaifanua made a fadeaway jumper in the paint and a three on back-to-back possessions, making it 44-6 with 3:41 to go in the half.

The Devilettes scored their first points of the quarter with an and-one play at the 3:03 mark. Weidemann, Olson and Vaifanua added layups on three straight possessions, and Wyoming took a 52-9 lead into the locker room at the half.

The Devilettes started the third quarter with three points before Vitulova scored a layup. The Cowgirls used an 8-0 run capped fueled by Sanchez Ramos and Johnson to take a 62-14 lead with 3:53 to play in the quarter, forcing a MVSU timeout. Out of the break, the Devilettes scored a jumper, but Rusk earned a steal and found Bradshaw for a fast break layup.

The Cowgirls went on another 6-0 run that was ended by a pair of Devilette free throws with 48 seconds to play in the quarter. Kepenc scored a layup on UW’s final possession, and the Cowgirls took a 70-20 lead into the fourth quarter.

Bradshaw grabbed an offensive rebound and scored a layup to start the final frame. Vaifanua scored on the block to make it 74-20. After a Devilette bucket, Bradshaw scored five straight points to put UW up 79-22 with 5:06 to play in the game. Bradshaw converted a rare four-point play to give UW an 83-22 lead. Pilli added a layup in her season debut before Vaifanua and Bradshaw combined for the final 10 points of the game, giving UW the 95-22 victory.

The Cowgirls are back in action on Sunday, Dec. 15, when they host Northern Colorado at 1 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.

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