The third-seeded Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team (16-11, 12-6 MW) will begin their Mountain West Tournament run on Monday, March 2, when they face the winner of today’s matchup between No. 6 San Diego State (14-16, 9-9 MW) and No. 11 Utah State (7-22, 2-16 MW). Last season, the Cowgirls played in their first ever MW championship game.
The game will be broadcast live on the Mountain West Network, and can be heard across the 25 stations of the Cowgirl Radio Network with Reece Monaco on the call.
A LOOK AT THE WYOMING COWGIRLS
The Cowgirls are 16-11 overall with a 12-6 record in the Mountain West following a 64-55 win over Fresno State. Sophomore Tereza Vitulova leads the Cowgirls in scoring and rebounding with averages of 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Senior Taylor Rusk averages 9.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and a team-best 2.7 assists per game. Sophomore Quinn Weidemann averages 9.9 points and 2.6 assists per game. Freshman Jaeden Vaifanua averages 7.5 points and 4.3 rebounds off the bench.Defensively, Vitulova has a team-high 18 blocks, while sophomore Tommi Olson leads the Cowgirls with 33 steals.
The Cowgirls are shooting 42.7 percent (650-1,524) from the field, 34.2 percent (190-556) from three and 77.0 percent (244-317) from the free throw line to average 64.2 points per game. Wyoming averages 12.9 assists and 13.2 turnovers per game. Opponents are shooting 38.9 percent (603-1,552) from the field, 31.3 percent (140-448) from three and 75.6 percent (257-340) from the free throw line to average 59.4 points per game. Opponents average 10.3 assists and 11.5 turnovers per game.
Head coach Gerald Mattinson is in his first year as head coach of the Cowgirls and owns a 16-11 record. He spent the previous 16 seasons on the Wyoming bench as an assistant and associate head coach.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE
The San Diego State Aztecs are 14-16 overall with a 9-9 record in the Mountain West following an 81-68 win over Nevada. Taylor Kalmer leads SDSU in scoring at 15.5 points per game, while Sophia Ramos averages 14.1 points, a team-best 6.4 rebounds and a team-high 3.8 assists per game. Mallory Adams rounds out the double-digit scorers with 12.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Defensively, Zayn Dornstauder has a team-best 57 blocks, while Ramos leads the way with 41 steals.
The Aztecs are shooting 41.8 percent (694-1,659) from the field, 35.5 percent (160-451) from three and 71.6 percent (348-486) from the free throw line to average 63.2 points per game. San Diego State averages 12.0 assists and 14.0 turnovers per game. Opponents are shooting 38.5 percent (742-1,925) from the field, 29.0 percent (171-589) from three and 70.9 percent (288-406) from the free throw line to average 64.8 points per game. Opponents average 14.0 assists and 11.0 turnovers per game.
Head coach Stacie Terry-Hutson is 73-111 in seven seasons at the helm of SDSU.
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST SAN DIEGO STATE
The Cowgirls and Aztecs have met on the hardwood 60 times, and the Cowgirls hold a narrow edge, 31-29. The teams are even, 5-5, over the last 10 games, and Wyoming has won four of the last five games. The teams split the regular season series this year, with both teams winning at home. The Cowgirls took SDSU to overtime on the road, while UW picked up an 81-67 win at home. The teams met in the semifinals of last year’s MW Tournament, with Wyoming winning in overtime, 75-70.
SCOUTING UTAH STATE
The Utah State Aggies are 7-22 overall with a 2-16 record in the Mountain West following a 52-54 loss against New Mexico. Hailey Bassett leads Utah State in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 13.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Lindsey Jensen-Baker averages 11.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest, while Steph Gorman puts up 10.5 points and a team-best 2.7 assists per contest. Marlene Anianmbossou averages 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds off the bench. Defensively, Bassett leads the Aggies with 40 blocks, while Gorman has 59 steals.
The Aggies are shooting 36.0 percent (579-1,608) from the field, 30.3 percent (145-478) from three and 71.4 percent (312-437) from the free throw line to average 55.7 points per game. Utah State averages 10.8 assists and 16.7 turnovers per game. Opponents are shooting 42.8 percent (705-1,648) from the field, 33.7 percent (198-587) from three and 75.4 percent (300-398) from the free throw line to average 65.8 points per game. Aggie foes average 14.3 assists and 15.0 turnovers per game.
Interim head coach Ben Finkbeiner is 5-19 since stepping into the head coaching spot earlier this season. It is his first stop as a head coach.
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST UTAH STATE
The Cowgirls lead the all-time series over Utah State, 24-9. Wyoming has won 10 of the last 12 meetings overall, with the only two losses over that span on the road last year and in 2016. The series began in 1975, with USU winning the first three meetings before UW rattled off seven consecutive wins of their own. Wyoming defeated Utah State in last season’s Mountain West Tournament, 64-42.