Click here for Coach Jamie Craighead's post-game press conference.
San Jose, Calif. – The San José State women’s basketball team cut an 18-point lead to six in three and a half minutes down the stretch, but couldn’t finish the comeback and lost, 71-61, to the Wyoming Cowgirls in a Mountain West Conference game on Saturday afternoon in The Event Center.
Wyoming led 65-47 with 4:05 to play and looked like they would cruise to a win, but the Spartans had other ideas. In the next three and a half minutes, the Spartans went on a 15-2 run which included four points each from Riana Byrd and Aniya Baker and was capped by a layup from Ta’Rea Cunnigan with 42 seconds to play.
Head Coach Jamie Craighead, whose team had reduced the lead with tough defense and critical defensive rebounds chose not to foul down the stretch but to continue playing tough defense.
“They are a good free throw shooting team,” Craighead said. “ I didn’t want to give them a chance to score without a hand in their face. We cut the lead with pressure and I didn’t want to change the pace of the game in the last minute.”
The one foul the Spartans (11-12, 5-7 MW) did commit led to two free throws with 31 seconds to play and an errant pass by Cunnigan with 21 seconds resulted in two of Marquelle Dent’s game-high 24 points and the final margin of 71-61.
San José State was led by Byrd’s second double double in the last three games. Against Wyoming she finished with 15 points and a season-high 16 rebounds. She picked up 13 points and 11 boards in the second half.
Cunnigan added 12 points and Rachol West sank a team-best three shots from beyond the arc for 11 points. Baker and Chereese Thomas had three assists apiece and Rebecca Woodberry grabbed eight boards and led the squad with three steals.
Throughout, the game was played at a pace that suited San José State’s up-tempo style, but with 3:42 to go in the first half the Spartans found themselves down 29-22. Wyoming, a team on which the five starters get the vast majority of the minutes, was showing the effects of the pace. Despite the Cowgirls fatigue, the San José State couldn’t take advantage.
In the last three minutes, Wyoming (12-11, 7-6 MW) missed four of five shots, but San José State was just one of its last six and the teams went to the locker rooms with the Cowgirls leading 33-25. The Spartans hit 11-of-41 (27 percent) to Wyoming’s 10-of 27 (37 percent) in the first 20 minutes. The difference on the scoreboard was in free throws. The Cowgirls were 9-of-14 while the Spartans never went to the line.
In fact, SJSU didn’t attempt a free throw until Byrd was awarded two with 9:34 to play and trailing 57-35, Wyoming’s largest lead of the game.
San José State won the battle of the boards 49-to-45, including 17-to-9 on the offensive glass, but had a slim 13-to-8 advantage in second chance points.
In addition to Dent, Wyoming’s Kayla Woodward had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Kaitlyn Mileto added 15 points.
The Spartans head out on the road for their next two games. The first stop is at Utah State on Wednesday, February 18. Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Logan, Utah.
Wyoming vs San Jose State
02/14/15 2:00 p.m. at San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center)
At San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center)
WYOMING 71, SAN JOSE STATE 61
WYOMING (12-11, 7-6 MW)
DENT, Marquelle 7-15 6-8 24; WOODWARD, Kayla 8-17 0-0 20; MILETO, Kaitlyn
3-16 6-6 15; KELLEY, Jordan 1-6 3-3 5; SIBREL, Jordan 2-4 0-0 4; RADER,
Kaylie 1-2 0-4 2; DAVIS, Jasmine 0-0 1-2 1; ROBERTS, Liv 0-0 0-0 0. Totals
22-60 16-23 71.
SAN JOSE STATE (11-12, 5-7 MW)
0-0 0. Totals 23-75 8-10 61.
San Jose State................ 25 36 - 61
3-point goals--Wyoming 11-29 (WOODWARD, Kayla 4-9; DENT, Marquelle 4-6;
MILETO, Kaitlyn 3-13; KELLEY, Jordan 0-1), San Jose State 7-23 (West, Rachol
Baker, Aniya 0-4). Fouled out--Wyoming-None, San Jose State-None.
Rebounds--Wyoming 45 (WOODWARD, Kayla 11), San Jose State 49 (Byrd, Riana
16). Assists--Wyoming 15 (DENT, Marquelle 7), San Jose State 11 (BAKER,
Aniya 3; Thomas, Chereese 3). Total fouls--Wyoming 12, San Jose State 19.
Technical fouls--Wyoming-None, San Jose State-None. A-566