LARAMIE – For the second-consecutive game, the University of Wyoming women's basketball team held its opponent to only 13 first-half points.
That defensive effort lifted the Cowgirls to a 64-45 victory over Utah State on Wednesday evening in a contest which the Aggies never led.
"Besides fouling and putting them to the free throw line, we couldn't have done a much better job in the first half defensively," first-year UW coach Gerald Mattinson said.
The Cowgirls opened the game up with an 8-0 run forcing Utah State to call a timeout after Tommi Olson found her way through the lane, grabbed an offensive board and put it back up for her lone field goal of the game.
Utah State trailed by six midway through the second period until Jaeden Vaifanua scored eight consecutive points for the Cowgirls to add to their lead, and UW went into the break with a 28-13 advantage.
The Aggies started the game trying to double the post, just as CSU did on Saturday. It didn't work and offered more options for the Cowgirls offensively.
"(Being double teamed) always leaves someone open so its up to us to be patient and find that and let everyone find their spots," Vaifanua said. "From there, it just kind of works out."
The Aggies only made three field goals in the first half with zero coming in the second quarter. Seven of their 13 first-half points came by way of free throws.
"We just play our scout and we're just there every time whether its when they catch the ball in the post or anywhere," Alba Sanchez Ramos said. "Tommi did a really good job of that and we just played really good defensively."
After shooting 2 of 16 from the 3-point line in the first three periods, the Cowgirls found their rhythm in the fourth quarter. They went 5 of 8 in the final period, including four consecutive makes from beyond the arc; back-to-back 3s from Taylor Rusk followed by back-to-back 3s from Sanchez Ramos.
Sanchez Ramos hasn't been shooting as well as she would like, so it was a good feeling to watch some shots find the bottom of the net.
"Finally," Sanchez Ramos said with a laugh. "It gives me a lot of energy because it's been a while."
Sanchez Ramos and Quinn Weidemann finished with 10 points apiece. Vaifanua and Rusk each had a game-high 15 points. Olson chipped in with 10 assists and tied Rusk with a game-high eight rebounds. Tereza Vitulova scored 12 points as the Cowgirls finished with five players in double-figures.
Utah State finished the game shooting 27.1% from the field, while the Cowgirls shot at a 47% clip.
The back-to-back wins continue to help the Cowgirls build confidence with only three regular season games remaining, the next contest being Saturday at home against Air Force.
"It's building confidence for sure," Vaifanua said. "I think having those back-to-back wins allows us to keep building from that and we really needed this one, so it feels really good."