6:00 PM ET, February 2, 2008
PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Mallary Carling finally let her Brigham Young teammates help, and this time they were ready.Carling scored a game-high 20 points, including 11 in a crucial 23-5 second-half run that blew open a close, ragged game and a BYU team that has been trying to find itself upset Wyoming (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) 56-42 on Saturday. "Mallary finally let her teammates screen for her," BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. "Sometimes she gets impatient, tries to do it on her own, rather than let her teammates and the system work for her." The defeat added insult to injury in a rough week for the reeling Cowgirls (18-3, 6-2 Mountain West), who lost for a second straight game after their school-record 12-game win streak ended Wednesday in a loss to Utah at the buzzer. BYU (11-8, 5-2) has won seven of nine games and is beginning to gain an identity as a tough defensive team, allowing fewer than 52 points a game in conference play. The Cougars held Wyoming, the conference's highest-scoring team, 26 points below its season average. Wyoming shot a season-low 22 percent and made just 4-of-27 3-point attempts. "Defensively, that was one of the best games we've played," Judkins said. "We switched a lot, did a lot of things we're not used to, and we handled it well. I've tried to tell them they're a very good halfcourt defensive team." Freshman point guard Mindy Nielson added 13 points and five assists and Cassie King had 10 points, including eight to help steady the Cougars during a ragged first half for both teams. Shawnee Slade added nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds for BYU. Judkins said Slade's biggest contribution was her defense on Wyoming senior leader Hanna Zavecz. Zavecz struggled throughout the game and left with more than five minutes remaining. She was just 1-for-12 from the field and finished with three points, all in the first half, and three rebounds. Wyoming coach Joe Legerski excused Zavecz. "Hanna's the player who's carried us for four years, the one we've built this program around," he said. "I think she's entitled to a night off. We need to get her to relax a little more. One-for-12 is not Hanna Zavecz." Justyna Podziemska had 19 points and nine rebounds and Aubrey Vandiver added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Wyoming. Legerski struggled to explain Wyoming's poor performance. "The loss to Utah was an emotional loss for us," Legerski said, "and you never know how a team is going to react to an emotional loss. We weren't sharp tonight, but to start out the year 18-1 is something a Wyoming team has never done, or any Mountain West team." Carling made three 3-pointers to fuel BYU's second-half run that broke up a 29-29 game. Nielson added six points during the spurt. "Mallary Carling got on a roll," Legerski said. "When she starts knocking down curls, she can be tough to stop." Both teams struggled to score in the first half as BYU clung to a 24-22 lead even though Wyoming shot just 24 percent. The Cougars took the lead midway through the half on the hot shooting of Carling and King. King came off the bench to score eight quick points in the low post and Carling added five during a 13-4 run. King and Carling combined to make 6-of-7 shots during the half while the rest of the Cougars shot 19 percent. The ragged first half bled over into an ugly start in the second. Neither team scored in the first four minutes and both missed a number of layup attempts. Wyoming used the lull to pull even at 29 when Podziemska made a 3-pointer with 13 minutes to play. But Slade hit a running jumper in the lane, Nielson hit two free throws and a layup and Carling heated up.
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