Dec. 29, 2012
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LARAMIE, Wyo. - The LMU women's basketball team got an outstanding effort from a pair of freshmen and showed an improved energy level from tip to final buzzer, but were unable to hand Wyoming its first home loss of the season, falling 84-68 to the Cowgirls Saturday at Arena Auditorium.
The Lions closed out the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 6-7 record. The Cowgirls improved to 10-2 on the season and 5-0 on their home court, which holds the distinction of being the highest NCAA DI basketball venue with an elevation of 7,220 feet.
Looking for a cure for her team's recent first-half struggled, LMU head coach Charity Elliott mixed up her starting lineup, inserting freshman Sophie Taylor and moving Alex Cowling to a forward position. Taylor played up to the opportunity, finishing with a career-high 11 points, including a trio of threes, before fouling out with 2:51 to play.
Also stepping up big for the Lions was fellow freshman Chelsea Barnes who came off the bench to net a team and career-high 16 points, shooting 6-for-8 from the field and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. Hazel Ramirez rounded out the Lions reaching double figures, finishing with 14 points.
Wyoming was led by Chaundra Sewell who poured in 34 points, going 11-for-19 from the field and a perfect 12-for-12 from the free-throw line. Sewell also pulled down a game-high 17 boards. Joining her in double figures were Ashley Sickles and Kayla Woodward who had 14 points apiece.
The Lions looked poised to come back from an early second-half 14-point deficit as a Cowling jumper with 7:16 to play made it a three-point game, 60-57. But the Cowgirls took over down the stretch, outscoring LMU 24-11 in those final seven minutes to remain unbeaten on their home court.
An Alexis Love jumper with 11:26 remaining in the first half tied the score, 15-15. The Cowgirls responded with an 8-0 run, capped by back-to-back trees by Ashley Sickles and Fallon Lewis.
A three by Cowling with just under eight brought the Lions to within five, 23-18. But an 8-2 Wyoming run pushed the spread to double-digits for the first time, 31-21, with 5:09 remaining in the half.
Four straight points by Ramirez cut it back to six, 31-25, but the Cowgirls outscored the Lions 9-4 in the final 3:17 to take a 40-29 lead into the halftime break.
The Cowgirls opened the second half by hitting 5-of-6 from the field, stretching their lead to 14, 50-36, at the 15:18 mark.
The Lions then began chipping away as a pair of Deanna Johnson free throws and a Ramirez three cut the deficit to single digits, 53-44 with 12:28 to play. A 9-3 LMU run capped by a Barnes lay-up trimmed the Cowgirl lead to three with 8:50 on the clock.
The New Year begins with West Coast Conference action getting underway as the Lions open the 16-game slate on Thursday, Jan. 3, hosting Pepperdine. Tip off in Gersten Pavilion is set for 7 p.m.