LARAMIE – Conference play will begin earlier than usual for the University of Wyoming women’s basketball team this season.

The Cowgirls travel to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to take the court against the Air Force Academy at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

Usually, conference games tend to begin in late December or early January.

“Even though we’re starting conference play about a month earlier than usual, we’re going to take the same approach,” first-year UW coach Gerald Mattinson said Monday morning. “We’re not going to make a big deal out of it, it’s still a game and we’ll still take it one game at a time.”

It will be Wyoming’s first contest since Nov. 25, when it topped North Dakota State University, 66-57.

The Cowgirls (3-3) were supposed to host New Mexico Highlands University on Saturday for a tune up non-conference match, but the game was canceled because of inclement weather.

Mattinson emphasized that Air Force will bring the same type of challenges that North Dakota State presented.

“(Today’s) game will be similar to the NDSU game. Both teams have young, yet experienced players who play very physical and aggressive,” he said. “Air Force plays extremely hard and no matter what, they play hard for 40 minutes.

“I’m hoping to go on the road and match Air Force’s intensity and physicality, and I’d like to see us play with some composure and under control. We go down there each year, and it’s always a battle.”

The Falcons allow opponents to shoot a league-worst 45.5% from the field and the Cowgirls will look to continue to use their ability to score in the paint. UW has scored 64 points in the paint over the previous two games.

Following today’s contest, the Cowgirls will head south to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to face the University of New Mexico Saturday for their second road conference game before a five-game homestand.

“I hope to see nothing different in these upcoming games,” Mattinson said. “I just want us to get a little bit better each day, and hopefully we can continue to learn and apply.”

Vitulova named MW Player of the Week

Sophomore Tereza Vitulova had a career game against NDSU. The forward scored 25 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and added 2 blocks, all career highs. She also shot at a 70.6% clip.

That performance earned her Mountain West Player of the Week honors for the first time of her young career. Vitulova is averaging 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game this season. Both lead the team.

“That’s the Tereza we all need more often,” Mattinson said.

About the Falcons

Air Force is coming off a loss to No. 20 Tennessee, 81-54. The Falcons (1-7) are led by head coach Chris Gobrecht, who is 20-108 in her fourth year at the helm. Kaelin Immel paces the Falcons with 14.6 points and 2.8 assists per game.

After outing the Falcons in both games last season, the Cowgirls hold a 51-3 series all-time series lead. UW is 21-3 on the road against Air Force.

Robert Munoz is an intern for WyoSports. He can be reached at sports@wyosports.net.

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