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Inside play lifts Cowgirls past Fresno State 78-71

Jan 17, 2013 - The Associated Press

Some are just as much of a battle, but huge in early Mountain West Conference women's basketball action.

The University of Wyoming defended its home court by beating Fresno State 78-71 in front of 3,331 Wednesday night at the Arena-Auditorium.

"We talked about defending our home court and we did that," Wyoming's Ashley Sickles said. "We knew we weren't favored to win this game and we had nothing to lose. So we went out there and battled them and did everything we could."

The Bulldogs (10-6 overall, 2-1 MW) are new to the conference and the reigning Western Athletic Conference champions. They also recently defeated San Diego State -- a preseason pick to win the league -- recently in San Diego.

"Teams gain an advantage by getting breakthroughs on the road," Wyoming coach Joe Legerski said. "Fresno State already defeated a conference team (SDSU) on the road. So in my view they were one up on everyone."

Fresno State won the shooting contest by going 29 of 56 from the field (51.8 percent) and 7 of 14 from 3-point territory. Wyoming was 24 of 53 (45.3 percent) overall and 5 of 24 (20.8 percent) from beyond the arc.

But the Cowgirls (13-3, 2-1) won the physical battle of the boards and at the free-throw line.

Wyoming outrebounded Fresno State 37-20 with 14 of those coming on the offensive end for a 21-8 second-chance points margin.

The Cowgirls were also 25 of 27 in free throws and 15 of 17 in the final 2 minutes, 42 seconds. Only three players went to line for UW: Chaundra Sewell (14 of 14), Chelan Landry (6 of 7) and Ashley Sickles (5 of 6).

Sewell had a game-high 24 points and surpassed 1,000 points for her Wyoming career.

"I never really thought I would make 1,000 points here. I definitely did it the hard way by not being a 3-point shooter. I earned them with a lot of 2-point baskets," Sewell said.

"I know in my freshman year when Aubrey Vandiver scored her 1,000 points I made a comment, 'Coach, how many more do I have before I get 1,000?' He was like, 'oh, just 985.'"

"So I guess I made my 985 that I needed."

Sewell also had 11 rebounds (eight offensively) for her sixth double-double of the season and 18th in her career. She is the 12th player in Cowgirls' history to have over 1,000 points and 600 rebounds.

Sickles wasn't far behind Sewell in the game with 21 points and eight rebounds.

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