Wyoming Wins Big at Home

The Cowgirls poured on the defense and cruised to another convincing win Monday night…

Their finals are over. So is their recent string of road trips.

In fact, the Cowgirls won't be back in school or play another away game until 2008.

But the team didn't show any signs of easing up on the basketball court during the holiday break.

Hanna Zavecz scored 15 points, and No. 24 Wyoming took advantage of a huge second-half run and a bevy of turnovers en route to a 68-37 trouncing of Northern Colorado Monday night.

"You have to stay focused and not move onto Christmas break," said UW head coach Joe Legerski. "I think with the seniors we have on this group, they really want to set the tempo and finish out very well."

Zavecz combined with fellow senior Jodi Bolerjack to score 13 points during a 26-2 run that gave Wyoming (10-1) a commanding 59-23 lead midway through the second half. Legerski mercifully sat the duo the rest of the game while managing to get 15 different players at least two minutes apiece.

"We talked at halftime that we needed to really come out and set the tempo defensively in the first four minutes, and that was going to be either let Northern Colorado into the game, or we can expand the lead," Legerski said. "I was able to clear the bench with about 10 minutes remaining.

"I thought my young players…gained some valuable experience tonight to understand what the tempo is that we have to play at and understanding a game plan that you have to attack."

Zavecz finished the game 5-of-9 from the field and had six rebounds, three steals and four blocks. Aubrey Vandiver added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Bolerjack scored 11 points.

The Cowgirls finished the game with a 41-10 advantage in points off turnovers and posted 17 steals as a team. They also held UNC to just nine field goals on 34 tries (26.5 percent).

Danielle Hagan led the Bears (5-5) with eight points, and Chelsie Luhring and Jamie Schroeder each added six.

"We played a top-25 team tonight, and they are experienced and they are good," said UNC head coach Paige Sauer, who watched her team convert just two field goals in the second half. "Our girls didn't come out and accept the pressure, and (the Cowgirls) were just the better team tonight."

Zavecz scored seven of Wyoming's first nine points and led all scorers in the first half with 10 points. Wyoming trailed 7-4 early but Zavecz's three-pointer with 15:21 on the clock sparked an 11-0 run that put the Cowgirls up 15-7 with 12:34 to go.

A pair of three-pointers from Luhring pulled the Bears within 18-15 with 10:35 left in the period, but Vandiver scored seven points during a 15-4 UW run to end the half, extending the Cowgirl lead to 33-19 at the break.

"There were some spurts where we played good basketball, but in the end, you have to play a lot of minutes very well in order to beat a Wyoming," said Sauer. "They outplayed us in every category tonight. It's hard for us to beat a top-25 team when you get outplayed."

Wyoming scored 19 points off turnovers in the first half while giving up no fast-break points, bench points or points off turnovers to the Bears and out-scoring UNC 18-6 in the paint.

Wyoming will face Westminster College Wednesday night in the Arena Auditorium.

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