After trailing for most of the game, it appeared the Cowgirls had found a bit of late-game luck.
Until the final shot, that is.
Morgan Warburton's 3-pointer with three seconds remaining lifted Utah to a 60-59 victory over No. 15 Wyoming Wednesday night, bringing the Cowgirls' swelling momentum to an abrupt end and killing their 17-game home winning streak.
For several minutes before the last-second heroics, the ball seemed to be bouncing Wyoming's way.
The Cowgirls trailed by as much as seven points in the second half before going on a 14-6 run to storm back to a one-point lead with 1:29 to play. They got another boost when Leilani Mitchell, a career 100-percent free throw shooter in the last two minutes of games—missed both attempts from the charity stripe with 55 seconds left. Jodi Bolerjack made the first of two free throws on the other end to extend the lead to two points, 59-57, with 19 seconds left.
And even for much of the last possession, things looked good for the home team. Utah's Halie Sawyer missed a wide-open 3-pointer with seven seconds left, and a record-setting Wyoming crowd jumped to its feet in anticipation of victory. But before the cheers had time to die down, a scramble for the rebound ended with the ball in Warburton's hands, and she fired up the game-winner.
"The lesson from this game is that it is never over," Utah head coach Elaine Elliott said. "You love college basketball when you can play a game like that."
But a stunned group of Cowgirls weren't exactly loving it after watching Aubrey Vandiver's last-second, half-court heave find nothing but air.
"It is pretty tough to lose like that," said Hanna Zavecz, who finished with 13 points and four blocks for Wyoming. "We were in a great position, and the ball just didn't bounce our way. It happened to bounce into their best shooter's hands, and she got off a three.
"It is a very tough way to lose."
The Cowgirls dropped to 18-2 overall and fell to second place in the Mountain West Conference, a half game behind the Utes, who are now the only undefeated team in league play.
"You have to defend your home court," UW head coach Joe Legerski said. "Dropping this one to the leader, now all of a sudden you have to find a breakthrough somewhere. Now we have no margin for error."
The attendance (6,115) was the most at a regular season Wyoming women's basketball game in school history, and afterward Legerski promised fans better things to come.
"We needed one more play," he said. "Hang in there, and we will make that play."
Wyoming will travel to Provo, Utah on Saturday to face Brigham Young University. The game is set to tip off at 4 p.m.
Not so Fast: 3-Pointer Kills Cowgirls' Run
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