USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - In arguably its biggest win in program history, Air Force women’s basketball knocked-off Wyoming, 57-47, on senior night in Mountain West action Tuesday night at Clune Arena. The Falcons downed the first place team in the conference and tied a program record for most MW wins.
After Wyoming (20-8, 13-4 MW) took a brief 36-35 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Air Force (4-24, 4-13 MW) went on to out-score the Cowgirls 22-11 the rest of the way to run away with the 10 point win.
Kaelin Immel, who scored the bucket to put Air Force up for good at 37-36, finished with a game-high 19 points. Despite being a freshman, Immel set the Air Force Div. I era record for most points in a season, now with 408 points. She surpassed the previous record of 405 set by Raimee Beck in 2010.
Fellow freshman Emily Conroe notched a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Conroe was clutch late, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter. The Fredericksburg, Va., native hit a clutch late-game three and went a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line in the final quarter.
Senior Cortney Porter was the third player in double figures scoring for the Falcons, scoring 11 points, adding four assists and three steals.
Sophomore Jenn Urbaniak gave the Falcons some much-needed bench scoring, with career-high’s of seven points and six rebounds. Junior Venessannah Itugbu also gave Air Force a huge boost with her first-career three-point bucket, beating the buzzer as time expired in the third quarter and giving Air Force a 35-34 lead.
Taylor Rusk and Clara Tapia led Wyoming with 10 points each. The Cowgirls had to play shorthanded, as leading-scorer Liv Roberts sat the game out due to illness.
The game started as a defensive battle early on with the two teams playing to a 6-6 tie after one quarter of play. Air Force took a 19-18 lead into halftime. Wyoming led for much of the third quarter, but Itugbu gave the Falcons the lead with the buzzer-beating three to put the Falcons ahead after three quarters.
Air Force out-rebounded Wyoming 34-31 and also won the assists (11-6), turnovers (9-13), blocks (4-3) and steals (5-4) battles. The Falcon defense did not allow a single fast break point and allowed just four second-chance points.
“I was so proud of how those kids played, really proud.” Air Force head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We played really smart and really controlled the game. To see us bounce back from what was a disappointing loss at Utah State last Saturday, I was really proud of them.”
Prior to tipoff, Air Force honored its senior class of 2018. Seniors Dee Bennett, Erika Chapman and Porter were honored for their contributions to USAFA WBB.
Air Force closes out the regular season at San José State on Friday, March 2. The Falcons will be fighting for a chance to move up in the seedings for the 2018 Mountain West Basketball Championship Tournament when they take on the Spartans.