File photo.

(SAN DIEGO, Calif.)  After building a 20-point second half lead, the Cowgirl basketball team held off a San Diego State comeback to defeat the Aztecs, 69-60, on Wednesday night. It’s the first conference road win for UW as three players finished the night in double-figures. Wyoming moves to 16-6 overall on the season and 7-4 in the Mountain West while the Aztecs drop to 8-13 overall and 5-6 in league play.

Two three-point field goals by Kaitlyn Mileto out of the halftime break increased the Cowgirl lead to 18, 41-23. A basket by Ariell Bostick stopped the UW run, but Wyoming responded with 9 of 13 to give them a 20-point advantage, 50-30, with 11 minutes left in the game. With the score 55-36 in favor of UW, the Aztecs would pick it up on the offense end with a 10-2 run to close the gap to 11, 57-46. A basket by Fallon Lewis increased the lead back to 13, 49-36, but five straight for San Diego State made it an eight-point game, 59-51. Free throws by Chelan Landry got the lead back to double-figures, 61-51, which was answered by two straight baskets by Warren making it a six-point contest, 61-55, with 3:44 remaining.  Wyoming pushed the lead back to eight, 63-55, but once again the Aztecs battled back to within five, 63-58. Field goals by Marquelle Dent and Kayla Woodward gave the Cowgirls a nine-point lead, 67-58, and they would hold on for the 69-60 victory.

“We are not a team that normally plays a zone defense. We took a look at the film and knew it would be difficult to handle San Diego State’s inside game,” said head coach Joe Legerski. “We didn’t want to put anyone in a one on one situation, so it was easier to zone up. We also knew that we had to do a good job rebounding. The Aztecs lead the league in offensive rebounds and we talked about keep them to about 15. Finally, we also had to hit some three and we did.”

Three of five starters scored in double-figures led by Mileto. She recorded 20 points while shooting 7-15 from the field. Woodward followed with 17 points while Lewis was one rebound shy of a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. Junior Jordan Sibrel recorded a career high 11 rebounds on the night. The Cowgirls shot 23-54 (.426) including 10-23 (.435) in the second half, 9-27 (.333) from beyond the arc and 14-18 (.778) from the charity stripe. UW out rebounded the Aztecs, 36-34, and had 18 assists on 23 baskets.

Warren finished with 14 points plus five rebounds for the Aztecs. Khristina Hunter added ten points and a team high seven rebounds, while Danesha Long also recorded ten points. San Diego State shot 23-63 (.365) from the field and 10-15 (.667) from the free throw line.

Wyoming scored the first five of seven points to take the early 5-2 lead. Out of a San Diego State timeout, the Aztecs scored four straight to take their first lead, 6-5. A three-point field goal by Woodward put UW back up by two, 8-6, which was answered with free throws by SDSU to even it all up. The Cowgirls went on a 9-2 lead to build the lead to seven, 17-10, capped off by a Mileto three-point play. One of two free throws from Bostick ended a three-minute drought for the Aztecs. Wyoming would push the lead to nine, 24-15, with seven minutes left in the half. Following two free throws by Warren, the Cowgirls scored the final 11 of 15 to close out the half and take a 35-21 lead heading into the locker room.

Mileto and Woodward led all scorers in the first half with 12 points, followed by Lewis with six points and six rebounds. Sibrel finished the half with a team high seven rebounds. The Cowgirls were 13-31 (.419) from the field and 6-16 (.375) from beyond the arc. Hunter led the way for the Aztecs with eight points and six rebounds. Warren and Long each had four points. San Diego State shot 8-32 (.250) from the field and 0-7 (.000) from the three-point line.

Wyoming will close out the week on Saturday, Feb. 15, as they host the San José State Spartans. The game is set for 2:00 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game. The WBCA’s Play 4Kay is an opportunity for a nation of coaches to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. The official charity is the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in partnership with The V Foundation and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).

–UW