Cowgirls Defeat Wildcats

If there was any doubt whether the preseason hype was a bit premature, the Cowgirls proved on Thursday night that they are every bit as good as advertised. Podziemska had another brilliant offensive performance, and Wyoming closed out the undefeated Kansas State Wildcats by double-digits.

Laramie, WyomingThe Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team handed the Kansas State Wildcats their first loss of the season, earning a 56-44 victory on Thursday night in Laramie.

Senior Justyna Podziemska led the way with a game-high 20 points along with six rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Jodi Bolerjack followed with 14 points, and Hanna Zavecz added 10. Aubrey Vandiver pulled down seven rebounds for Wyoming (2-0 overall), which shot 16-of-47 (.340) from the field, 18-of-26 (.692) from the free throw line and outrebounded KSU 38-30.

"I was really pleased with the play of all of the players," said head coach Joe Legerski. "Jodi Bolerjack stepped up and had a tremendous game, especially on the defensive end. Also, I can't talk enough about Justyna Podziemska. She has been steady. She is a tremendous three point shooter and improved her game to put it on the floor and attack the basket.

"I thought this felt more like a conference game. Both teams know each other, they are highly skilled and talented, and both teams will compete for 40 minutes. We have a tough schedule and that was by design so by the time we get to conference we would be ready to go. It was an unbelievable basketball game."

Kansas State (2-1 overall) was led by Shalee Lehning with 14 points and five steals, while Marlies Gipson added 13 and Ashley Sweat had 10. Gipson also added a team-high six rebounds. The Wildcats were 18-of-52 (.346) from the field and 1-of-8 (.125) from the three point line.

It was a low-scoring affair throughout much of the first half. The two teams combined for just 12 points and a 6-6 tie by the first media timeout. Wyoming responded with a 7-0 scoring run while the Wildcats went over four minutes without a basket. After a bucket from Sweat, both teams went on a three-minute scoring drought until a Vandiver layup extended the Cowgirls' lead to 15-8.

Kansas State answered with seven of the next nine points to pull within two, at 15-13, but there was limited scoring in the final minutes of the first half as the Cowgirls would take a 20-15 lead into the locker room.

Podziemska led all scorers in the first half with nine points followed by Vandiver with six points and seven rebounds. As a team, the Cowgirls shot 8-of-31 (.258) from the field and 3-10 (.300) from beyond the arc.

KSU was led by Gipson and Lehning with four points each. The Wildcats shot 7-of-27 (.259) from the field and 1-of-6 (.167) from the three-point line.

Out of the halftime break, the Cowgirls hit two three-point field goals to extend the lead to double-figures at 26-15 while Kansas State went over four minutes before two Lehning free throws broke the drought. That would start a small scoring run to bring KSU to within nine at 30-21.

After a pair of free throws from Zavecz, the Wildcats scored nine straight points to make it a two-point contest at 32-30. The two teams played even over the next several minutes as the Cowgirls continued to maintain a slight lead.

Kansas State would pull within two once again at 40-38 after a three point play by Sweat. But Wyoming responded with seven of the next eight points to extend the lead to 47-39 with 4:08 remaining. Kansas State could never recover as Wyoming went on to the 56-44 victory.

Wyoming will head out on the road for the first time with two straight away games. The Cowgirls will play the Saint Louis Billikens on Sunday, Nov. 18, and the Wisconsin Badgers on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

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