By Sara Trump
It”s amazing what a little psychology can do for a team”s confidence.
The Cougars got a little help from everyone and defeated Wyoming 78-57 Thursday night in the Marriott Center.
“We played much better tonight, with more energy and heart,” said head coach Trent Shippen. “I was very pleased with our focus tonight.”
That focus didn”t come easy, however. The players were given Monday off to think and rest, and Tuesday they met with a sports psychologist to help get their composure back.
“We came back Tuesday with a new attitude,” said guard Erin Thorn, who had a game high 20 points. “We had a couple of good, intense practices on Tuesday and Wednesday that renewed our will.”
That renewed will kicked in after the first twenty minutes, as the Cougars shot only 37 percent in the first half compared to 55 percent in the second.
Wyoming”s big scoring threat, Ann McColl, was held to just six points in the second half, after scoring nine in the first. That, along with seven three-pointers in the second half and Thorn”s sharp shooting, were key to the Cougars victory.
“We were moving the ball better in the second half, which left us more open,” said Stacy Jensen, who went three for six from three-point land.
The defense played a huge part as well. Jennifer Leitner, who is recovering from a torn ligament in her foot, provided a much needed boost off the bench. Christy Bacon got off to a good start with six points in the first half for the Cowgirls, but Leitner helped hold her to only two in the second.
The Cougars hope that this win will give them some momentum heading into Saturday”s game against Colorado State. The Rams fell to 2-1 in the MWC with a loss to Utah Thursday night.
“Home court is big, and we need to hold court because Colorado State will be even more fired up after their loss to Utah,” Shippen said.
With a victory Saturday, the Cougars would even up their conference record at 2-2.
“We need to keep playing like we did in the second half,” Thorn said. “Its nice to be able to look back on positives instead of negatives, and take that into the next game.”