– Holly Johnson scored a career-high 31 points, but it wasn't enough, as NDSU women's basketball (3-6) fell to the Wyoming Cowgirls (6-2), 72-69, Saturday, Dec. 7, on the final day of the Air Force Classic inside Clune Arena at the United States Air Force Academy.
The Bison fell behind early in the game after Fallon Lewis hit a three to give Wyoming the 5-2 lead with 19:02 remaining in the first half. NDSU responded, going on a 14-2 run, beginning with a three from Bree Whatman to tie the game with 18:36 left in the first half.
The Bison lead grew to nine after Marena Whittle nailed a jumper at the 14:29 mark of the stanza.
Wyoming answered, going on a 4-0 run to cut the Bison lead to 16-11 with 13:12 remaining in the half. The Cowgirls chipped the NDSU lead to just one, 19-18, after a pair of made free throws from Kaylie Rader with 11:18 on the clock, but, the Bison responded and took a 12 point lead, 38-26, after Johnson hit a layup and was fouled and nailed the bonus free throw with three minutes remaining to play in the half. The Bison went into halftime leading Wyoming, 40-29.
NDSU was paced in the first half by Johnson with 15 points, tying her career-high. Wyoming was led by Kayla Woodward and Kaitlyn Mileto, each with seven points.
The Bison were 16-for-38 (42 percent) from the field and 4-for-12 (33 percent) from three in the half. NDSU made 4-of-6 free throws for 67 percent. The Cowgirls shot 33 percent in the stanza, going 11-for-33, and were 2-for-9 from three for 22 percent. Wyoming shot 5-for-8 (63 percent) from the charity stripe.
Wyoming came out strong in the second half, cutting the Bison lead to four, 53-49, after a three-pointer from Mileto with 12:22 remaining in the half.
NDSU was able to push the lead to nine when Kahla Becken hit a pair of free throws at the 10:36 mark, but, the Cowgirls answered, cutting the Bison lead to five with 9:33 remaining on a layup from Fallon Lewis.
Wyoming cut the NDSU advantage to just one with 6:50 on the clock in the second half after a jumper from Kaylie Rader. The Bison were able to increase the lead back to five after a Brooke LeMar layup with 4:48 remaining.
The Cowgirls tied the game at 69 with 1:11 remaining to play in the second half after Fallon Lewis grabbed a missed free throw from Woodward and converted a layup.
Wyoming took the lead with 27 seconds on the clock after Woodward was fouled and made 1-of-2 free throws. Lewis increased the Cowgirl advantage to three with nine seconds remaining in the half after she hit both free throws. NDSU had one final opportunity to tie the contest, but could not get a shot off.
Johnson led all scorers in the game with her career-high 31 points. She also snagged 12 boards to pick up the double-double. Lewis paced Wyoming with a double-double, scoring 20 points, with 14 of the 20 coming in the second half, while pulling down a game-high 21 boards.
NDSU was 27-for-71 (38 percent) from the field, 7-for-24 (29 percent) from three and 8-of-10 from the charity stripe in the game. Wyoming shot 43 percent from the field, going 27-for-63, and were 4-for-15 from three for 27 percent. The Cowgirls shot 25 free throws in the contest, making 14 of them for 56 percent.
The Bison pulled down 41 rebounds while the Cowgirls snagged 48.
NDSU will look to bounce back when it travels to Grand Forks Saturday, Dec. 14, for a 2 p.m. showdown with instate rival, North Dakota.