Sunday, December 3, 2023
The Cowgirls Tommi Olson. Photo Troy Babbitt, UW Media Athletics.

Cowgirls Shock San Jose St. in Laramie

The Wyoming Cowgirls used an up-tempo offense and stifling defense to shock San José State, the Mountain West’s leading offensive team, for an 80-45 victory on Saturday afternoon. Wyoming (11-9, 7-4 WM) outscored the Spartans (15-7, 9-2 MW) by a margin of 14-0 on the fastbreak and 13-0 on second-chance opportunities.

“I thought it was a great defensive performance,” said head coach Gerald Mattinson. “I have to give credit to my staff. They did a great job looking at a bunch of film and gave us a chance to look at some things that we wanted to try. We didn’t know if it would work, and you never do, but it did. Then I give credit to our team, to all of them. Everybody had to come out for two days and practice and do something different that they’re not used to. They did it, it helped us and today we executed it. I thought out defense today was outstanding.”

Sophomore guard Tommi Olson stole the show for the second game in a row, both of which are her first two career starts. She scored four points, but had a game-high 12 rebounds, a game-high six assists with zero turnovers and a game-high seven steals. The rebounds and steals are career highs. The seven steals are also tied for the fifth-most in a game in Cowgirl history. She also added a blocked shot for good measure.

“I didn’t know Tommi was that close to a triple-double without scoring the double-digit points,” Mattinson said. “Tommi’s taken advantage of the situation that she has with Karla (Erjavec) being ill. What we’ve had to do is, we’ve freed the ball up a bit. We’re going to take advantage of what she brings.”

Freshman Jaeden Vaifanua came off the bench and scored a career-high 20 points on an extremely efficient 8-of-10 shooting. She pulled down five rebounds and had a block on the defensive end. She’s the third Cowgirl this year to score at least 20 points in a game, joining sophomore Tereza Vitulova and freshman McKinley Bradshaw.

Sophomore Quinn Weidemann scored 14 points for the Cowgirls and had five assists with zero turnovers. Those five assists are a career-high for a single game for the Omaha, Neb., native. Weidemann also had three rebounds and a pair of steals, defensively. The 14 points are the most for Weidemann since scoring 19 against Boise State earlier this season.

Sophomore Selale Kepenc scored a season-high 12 points – her first time reaching double-figures this season. She was just three points off her career high, set two seasons ago against New Mexico. She also tied her career high with six rebounds. The Istanbul, Turkey, native added an assist, as well.

“I thought Selale played very well,” Mattinson said. “Selale had her best game of the year. It could be a breakout game.”

The 45 points for San José State are a season low, as the previous season low was 56 points against BYU. The Cowgirls outscored the Spartans 54-18 in the paint, 23-2 off turnovers and 41-18 in bench production.

The 14 fastbreak points for the Cowgirls are a season high, and the 23 points off turnovers are the second-most this year, just behind the 24 points off turnovers in the season-opener against Colorado Christian.

The Cowgirls shot 50.0 percent (33-66) from the field, 19.0 percent (4-21) from three and 71.4 percent (10-14) from the free throw line. The Cowgirls had eight more free throw attempts than the Spartans on the day. Coming into the game, the Spartans had taken 166 more free throws than the Cowgirls on the season.

Wyoming had 19 assists and 11 turnovers for the game. The Cowgirls have had double-digit assists in seven-consecutive games.