Cowgirl Basketball Wins In Overtime

The last time Wyoming faced Wisconsin, the Cowgirls cruised to a double-digit victory and a WNIT Championship. On Tuesday night in Madison, it was a different game, and Wyoming's four-game win streak was nearly snapped. See how the Cowgirls overcame a 10-point second-half deficit…

Madison, Wis. — It was far more competitive than last time, but at the end of the day, the result was the same.

In a rematch of last year's WNIT Championship game, the Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team pulled out a 67-66 overtime victory against the Wisconsin Badgers on Tuesday night.

It's been nearly eight months since the Cowgirls beat the Badgers by 16 points in their final game of the 2006-2007 season, and this year, Wisconsin was a bit more formidable.

Wyoming overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the score at 60 at the end of regulation, but the Badgers jumped out to a 66-62 lead in overtime with two three-pointers to open the extra period.

The Cowgirls responded with five straight points to take a 67-66 lead with one minute remaining. A shot by Mariah Dunham was blocked by Rebecca Vanderjagt who also rebounded the ball with just more than 35 seconds left. The shot clock would run out on Wyoming's ensuing possession, giving Wisconsin one final opportunity to win the game. The Badgers (1-2 overall) never get a shot off, however, and Wyoming (4-0 overall) won its fourth straight game, keeping its undefeated record intact.

"This was a tremendous game between two very talented teams," said head coach Joe Legerski. "I thought Hanna Zavecz showed why she is a pre-season All-America candidate. She scored 25 points, had seven rebounds and was 4-5 from the three-point line, plus her effort on the defensive end. She really stepped up when we needed her to. I also thought Aubrey (Vandiver) had a tremendous effort and made a big difference for us tonight. She played 37 minutes and had a great defensive effort as well."

Zavecz led all scorers with her 25 points and also added five assists in 45 minutes of play. Vandiver finished with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists, and Justyna Podziemska added 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds. The Cowgirls shot 22-of-50 (.440) from the field and 9-of-18 (.500) from beyond the arc.

Jolene Anderson led Wisconsin with 25 points, while bringing down seven rebounds. Janese Banks added 11 points followed by Danielle Ward with 10 points and nine rebounds. The Badgers shot 26-of-59 (.441) from the field and 8-of-14 (.571) from the three point line.

It was close in the early going of the first half until a 5-0 run by the Badgers gave them an 8-4 lead. Wyoming answered with a Vandiver three-point field goal, but Wisconsin scored the next 11 of 15 to extend the lead to seven at 19-12.

Another three-point field goal by Wyoming stopped the scoring drought, but three straight baskets by the Badgers made it a double-digit lead at 26-15. The Cowgirls struggled to score as they had just one basket and two free throws in a three minute span bore a three-pointer by Zavecz pulled them within 30-22 with two minutes left in the half. They would hold the Badgers to one basket in the final minutes of the half but still went in to the break down 32-22.

Zavecz led all Wyoming scorers in the first period with eight points along with three rebounds. She was followed by Vandiver with six points. As a team, the Cowgirls were 7-of-20 (.350) from the field and 4-of-7 (.571) from beyond the arc.

Anderson finished the half with 12 points and four rebounds, and Ward added seven points and four rebounds. Wisconsin shot 13-0f-28 (.464) from the field and 4-of-6 (.667) from the three-point line.

After Wisconsin scored the first basket of the second half, the Cowgirls answered with eight straight points to pull within five, 35-30. Ward hit a bucket to end the Badgers' scoring drought, but Wyoming went on a 7-0 run to pull even at 37.

A pair of quick baskets by Wisconsin helped the Badgers regain a 41-37 advantage which was answered with four points by Podziemska to even it up at 41. A basket and free throw gave the Badgers a 44-41 lead, and the Cowgirls again responded with an 8-2 run to go up by three, at 49-46.

Wisconsin charged back with an 8-4 run to even things up once again at 53-53 with just under five minutes to go in the game.

After trading baskets, a three-point field goal by Anderson gave Wisconsin a 58-55 lead with 3:20 on the clock. Wyoming would tie it up at 58 all, but two free throws by Janese Banks put the Badgers back up 60-58. A basket by Vanderjagt with a minute remaining in the game tied the score at 60, and turnovers by both teams set up overtime.

The Cowgirls will resume play following the Thanksgiving holiday, on Thursday, Nov. 29 when they host the Montana Lady Griz. The game is set for 7:00 p.m. in the Arena Auditorium.

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