Cowgirls, Bruins meet Monday in opening round of NCAA Tournament
AUSTIN, Texas -- For the first time since 2008 -- and just the second time in program history -- the Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team is set for the First Round of the NCAA Tournament as the Mountain West Tournament Champions.
The No. 14-seed Cowgirls face third-seeded UCLA Bruins at 8 p.m. MST Monday at the Frank C. Erwin Center on the campus of the University of Texas.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN with Beth Mowins and Renee Montgomery on the call and across all 25 stations on the Cowgirl Radio Network with Keith Kelley on the call.
A LOOK AT THE COWGIRLS
Wyoming (14-9) enters Monday’s first round as one of the hottest teams in the field, having won six straight and 8-of-its-last-10 overall. The Cowgirls’ Mountain West Tournament title, which gave them the league’s automatic bid, marked the first time in the league’s history on both the men’s and women’s side of the bracket, that a team won four games in four days to win the title.
As the No. 7 seed at the MWT, UW became the lowest-seeded team to win the tournament crown.
Quinn Weidemann was named the Mountain West Tournament MVP after leading the Cowgirls in scoring at 13.5 points per game over the four games and hit 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from 3-point range during the tournament run. Tommi Olson joined Weidemann on the all-tournament team after averaging 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.3 steals per game in Las Vegas. Olson’s nine steals in the semifinal win over Boise State, set a tournament record for most steals in a single game and also tied the program record at Wyoming.
The Cowgirls outscored their opponents by 15.5 points per game at the conference tournament and shot nearly 45 percent as a team from the field, while hitting 35-of-93 (37.6 percent) from beyond-the-arc.
Of those 35 made 3-pointers, 15 came against UNLV in the quarterfinals, which set a new MW Tournament record. Defensively, UW held its opponents to under 48 points per game, 31 percent shooting from the floor and just 18 percent from 3-point range.
Wyoming’s 28-point margin of victory in its opening round win over Utah State in Las Vegas, was UW’s largest-ever margin of victory in the conference tournament. The Cowgirls also held Boise State to just 38 points in their semifinal matchup, marking the first time since 2002 that the Broncos were held to under 40 points in a game.
The third-seeded Bruins (16-5) earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after a third-place finish in the Pac-12 during the regular season and making an appearance in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship game, where it lost to Stanford, who is the No. 1 overall seed at the NCAA Tournament.
UCLA is led by Associated Press Third Team All-American Michaela Onyenwere, who leads the team averaging 18.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Charisma Osborne, who was a Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honoree, is second on the squad at 17 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while leading the team with 81 assists and 38 steals this season.
As a team, the Bruins are scoring 72 points per game and holding opponents to just 58.1 points per. UCLA is shooting at just over 42 percent from the floor as a team in 2020-21 and 35.6 percent from 3-point range. The Bruins are also out-rebounding their opponents by nearly six boards per contest. Cori Close is in her 10th season as the head coach at UCLA.
Monday will be the first-ever meeting between the Cowgirls and UCLA. It is Wyoming’s second appearance at the NCAA Tournament in program history, having last appeared in 2008 when it lost to Pittsburgh in the opening round, 63-58 in Albuquerque, N.M.
* University of Wyoming press release