LARAMIE – Everything was clicking for the University of Wyoming women’s basketball team Friday night.
The Cowgirls were making plays on both ends of the court from beginning to end en route to an 81-45 victory over Adams State University in their lone exhibition of the season.
UW started the game pounding the ball inside when sophomore Tereza Vitulova scored the first two buckets from the block and continued to create offense from the paint.
“That’s going to be planned all year,” said UW first-year coach Gerald Mattinson when asked about getting the ball inside. “We’re going to have to get a little more physical, but that’s something we’re going to need to do.”
The Cowgirls outscored the Grizzlies 42-16 in points in the paint.
Adams State had a one-point lead and some momentum toward the end of the first quarter before UW sophomore Karla Erjavec drove into the lane and found sophomore Quinn Weidemann in the corner for the 3-pointer just before the horn.
The Cowgirls picked up their intensity and effort after an opening layup by Adams State to start the second quarter with a 14-0 run. Grizzlies’ junior Donwanae Anthony hit a pair of free throws to stymie the Cowgirls’ run.
The Grizzlies cut the deficit to eight by making a couple of buckets with 2 minutes remaining in the second frame, but the Cowgirls stay composed and went into the break with a 12-point lead.
Weidemann paced all players with 10 points through the first 20 minutes of action.
“Their defense was focused on Taylor (Rusk) and (Vitulova) and I was just able to get open and my teammates were getting me the ball,” Weidemann said.
UW pulled away in the third quarter behind its defensive performance.
Adams State didn’t score its first point until there was 2 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the period, while the Cowgirls went on a 17-0 run.
The Grizzlies only managed to put five points on the board in the third frame on 16.7% shooting from the field.
“At halftime, we talked about playing our fundamentals and doing what we do,” Mattinson said. “The players responded, we challenged more shots and we got out on them a little bit.”
Adams State couldn’t recover from UW’s dominant third-quarter run and went into the fourth quarter with down 62-34.
The Cowgirls’ defense remained stout when Adams State scored just 11 points in the final frame.
“We take pride in having the best defense that we can,” Weidemann said. “We went into the locker room and said ‘They have this many points, and they shouldn’t. We need to step up our defense.’ And we definitely did that in the second half.”
Aside from outplaying Adams State on the defensive end, the Cowgirls outrebounded the Grizzlies 44-20, as well. Rusk had a game-high six rebounds and three other Cowgirls pulled down five boards.
Vitulova and freshman Jaden Vaifanua each scored 11 points to lead all players.
The Cowgirls shot 53.6% from the field compared to the Grizzlies 32.7%.
UW’s bench outscored Adams State, 44-17, as five newcomers combined for 38 points for the Cowgirls.
“All we talk about every day is getting a little bit better and we got a little bit better (Friday),” Mattinson said. “But what we have to do is learn and we have to apply, and we’ll just take one game at a time and see what happens.”
The Cowgirls will resume action and begin regular season play when they host Colorado Christian University at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Arena-Auditorium.