Ellis and Fertig Power Cowgirls Past San Jose State

Duo combined for 36 points and 15 rebounds in the win
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 12:09 AM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Press Release) - Wyoming shot 52-percent from the field and got 20-plus-point first and fourth quarters on its way to a 68-54 victory Thursday night over San Jose State inside the Arena-Auditorium. The Spartans were game all night, as the Cowgirls struggled to land the knockout punch until the final few minutes of the contest.

The Cowgirls got off to a strong start, scoring the game’s first seven points less than two and a half minutes into the contest. After that, San Jose State started to get going, scoring six of the next eight to cut the UW lead down to 9-6. Following the first quarter media timeout, both teams exchanged a couple of baskets before a Spartan timeout came with 2:04 left in the frame and Wyoming leading 15-11. The rest of the first was controlled by the Cowgirls, as they extended their lead to 21-11 heading into the second.

Both teams came out exchanging points to open the second as Wyoming held a 27-19 lead at the media timeout. The two teams turned the ball over frequently after the timeout as both teams struggled the rest of the half. SJSU cut the Cowgirl lead down to 27-21 before an Allyson Fertig putback layup and foul pushed the lead back up to nine at the half.

Wyoming (15-7, 8-3 MW) came out blazing in the second half, forcing a Spartan timeout with 6:54 left in the third after a Tommi Olson 3-pointer extended the Wyoming lead to 38-23. After the timeout, the Cowgirls got some good looks from the outside to extend the lead, but couldn’t take advantage as SJSU went on a 9-0 run to cut the lead down to 38-32. A Grace Ellis elbow jumper ended the Wyoming drought and was followed by a Cowgirl timeout with 3:13 left in the third. Following the timeout, an Emily Mellema corner 3-pointer got the lead back out to double digits, 43-32. The Spartans would again respond to end the quarter, cutting the Wyoming lead back down to 44-39 heading to the fourth.

Fertig got the Cowgirls going to open the fourth, getting back-to-back layups to begin, forcing a SJSU timeout with 8:59 remaining. A Tess Barnes 3-pointer opened the scoring out of the timeout, pushing the lead up to 51-39. Again, the Spartans wouldn’t go away though, as the Wyoming lead was whittled back down to single digits, 55-46. After that, the Cowgirls would get back-to-back hoops to push the lead back out to 60-46 with under three minutes to play. In the final minutes, Wyoming would salt the game away, securing the victory.

“Our attention to detail was really good that first quarter,” said Associate Head Coach Ryan Larsen postgame.

“I thought our actions offensively were everything that we talked about and how we wanted to take advantage of. Our pace was greater than the way they could guard in that first quarter, very proud of the way we played at both ends.”

Fertig and Ellis were outstanding in the victory, combining for 36 points on 16-for-23 shooting, 15 rebounds, four blocks and a pair of steals. Fertig tallied her sixth double-double of the season, scoring a game-high 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Fertig was also great defensively, notching another four-block game and had a steal. Ellis, meanwhile, had 17 points and four boards, hit a pair of 3-pointers and dished out three assists.

Barnes added eight points on the night, going 3-of-4 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond-the-arc. Off the bench, Mellema had seven points and four assists while Marta Savic had five points, five boards and rejected a shot. Malene Pedersen chipped in with six points and, along with Tommi Olson, led the Cowgirls with four assists in the win. Olson also had four steals on the night.

Wyoming shot 6-of-21 from 3-point range and made 10-of-15 at the free-throw line. SJSU shot 41.3-percent from the floor and went just 3-of-11 from 3-point range and hit 13-of-17 at the charity stripe. The Cowgirls had a 36-30 edge in points in the paint and out-rebounded the Spartans by 10, 33-23.

“I told the team, I still don’t know if this was a complete game for us. Everything we did well in the first quarter, we didn’t do very well in the second quarter. We had a 15-point lead in the third and couldn’t extend it. That’s something we need to get fixed if we want to be a good team at the end of the year. We have to put 40 minutes together.”

Up next, UW puts its five-game road winning streak on the line Saturday with a bigtime matchup at Colorado State at 1 p.m.