Kayla Woodward, cowgirlbasketball.com

Cowgirls Win MWC Opener, Woodward Reaches Milestone (audio)

Junior Kayla Woodward recorded a season high 26 points leading the Cowgirl basketball team to a 72-64 win over the Nevada Wolf Pack, on Saturday afternoon, in Laramie. Wyoming now moves to 10-2 overall on the season and 1-0 in conference action, while the Wolf Pack drop to 6-7 overall and 1-1 in MW play. Woodward also reached 1,000 points for her career and currently sits in 19th place with 1,015.
Besides her 26 points, Woodward finished the night with seven rebounds while shooting 10-17 from the field and 4-9 from beyond the arc. She was followed by Marquelle Dent with a career high 19 points plus six assists and three steals. Fallon Lewis recorded a team high nine rebounds while adding six points. Wyoming was 26-64 (.406) from the field and 15-22 (.682) from the free throw line.
“All week we talked about the start of the conference season that it’s a battle each and every night out,” said head coach Joe Legerski. “It’s a fight for every possession and the competitive level really elevates, which was very evident in tonight’s game. Both teams are going to walk out of the Double A exhausted tonight. We were trying to find some minutes to spell Kayla, Fallon and Kaitlyn, which was difficult and we kept asking players to step up. Kayla did exactly that, not a better way to score 1,000 points for her career, get the victory and you be the reason offensively for us to get this done. I can’t say enough about the composure she plays with because everyone is trying to take her away and she’s still able to find her looks. I thought we put a run together at the eight minute mark of the second half which was put together by her and got the crowd into the game.”
Nevada was led by Emily Burns with 16 points and four rebounds, shooting 6-12 from the field. Terilyn Moe finished with 14 points and a team high seven rebounds followed by Mimi Mungedi with 11 points. The Wolf Pack shot 22-58 (.379) from the field while out rebounding the Cowgirls 41-38.
It was high scoring through the first several minutes of the game as the Cowgirls went ahead by three, 7-4. A three-point field goal by Burns tied it up at seven, but Wyoming scored seven of the next 11 points to go up 14-11 through the first media timeout. Out of the break, UW scored four straight to make it a seven point game, 18-11. A basket by Aja Johnson would end a five minute scoring drought for the Wolf Pack, which was answered with another four points to increase the lead to nine, 22-13. Nevada chipped away at deficit and pulled to within four, 22-18. Baskets by Lewis and Woodward made the lead 26-18 with eight minutes to go in the half. The Wolf Pack answered with a 7-2 run to bring the score to within three, 30-27. A field goal by Woodward at the 3:42 mark gave her 11 points for the game and the 1,000 of her career.  Free throws from Danica Sharp made it 30-27, but the Cowgirls closed out the half on a 7-2 run to take a 37-29 lead going into the locker room.
Woodward led all scorers with 13 followed by Dent with 11 and Mileto with seven. Lewis brought down four rebounds. The Cowgirls shot 15-33 (.455) from the field and 5-7 (.714) from the free throw line. Nevada was led by Burns with nine points followed by Moe with seven. The Wolf Pack shot 10-25 (.400) from the field, while out rebounding Wyoming, 21-14.
Nevada gained some momentum to begin the second half as they went on a 6-0 run to make it a two-point game, 37-35. A three-point field goal by Woodward would end a three minute drought for the Cowgirls. The Wolf Pack would inch closer with an 8-5 run to make it 45-44 with 11:53 left in the game. Jordan Sibrel hit one of two free throws giving UW a 46-44 lead but a basket by Moe evened up the score at 46 all with 10:41 on the clock. Two straight field goals by Wyoming would get them back on top by four, 50-46. The Wolf Pack ran off six straight points to give them their first lead of the second half, 52-50. The Cowgirls responded with a 14-0 run to give them a double-digit lead, 64-52. Nevada wouldn’t go away as they scored the next nine of ten to close the gap to four, 65-61. Wyoming kept their composure and hit five of six free throws plus a field goal down the stretch to take the 72-64 victory.
The Cowgirls heads out on the road for the first time in conference play on Wednesday, Jan. 8. They will face the New Mexico Lobos beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Albuquerque.