University of Wyoming junior guard McKinley Bradshaw, right, has been a lone bright spot for the Cowgirls offense this season leading the team with 16 points per game. Kyle Spradley/UW athletics

CHEYENNE – While it’s been a broken record with the offensive production coming from the University of Wyoming women’s basketball team from most of last year into this season, the defense has been doing what it typically does: giving the Cowgirls chances to win games.

Through three games this season, the Cowgirls are allowing a mere 54.3 points per game, which ranks second in the Mountain West behind only Colorado State, which is allowing 47.8 points per outing.

UW coach Gerald Mattinson has consistently emphasized that the Cowgirls need to score more than in the mid-50s if they want to win games. The numbers reinforce that statement. With UW ranking last in the MW in offensive scoring at 53 points per contest, its effort on the defensive side of the ball isn’t being supported.

One of the main issues coming from the Cowgirls’ offense early this season has been the inability to make shots from the outside. Only Air Force has a worse shooting percentage from behind the arc than UW, with the Cowgirls shooting 23% and Air Force making 22% of its attempts.

“If I’m scouting (our team) ... I’m not worried about us shooting 3s, if you play the numbers,” Mattinson said last week. “I know we can shoot it better than we have both inside and outside, but we need to step up and get that done.”

A lone bright spot in the UW offense through the team’s first three games is the assertiveness of McKinley Bradshaw. The junior leads the Cowgirls with 16 points per game, which sits seventh in the conference. After scoring seven points in the first regular-season contest against Colorado State-Pueblo, Bradshaw netted 19 and 22 points in UW’s next two games. She also only shot 20% from the field in the first game, but has since shot at a 49.5% clip over the last two contests.

Sophomore Grace Ellis has also been a noticeable and consistent spark for the UW offense, averaging 10 points per contest. Ellis and Bradshaw are the only two players with scoring averages in double figures.

The two will try to build on that Monday as the Cowgirls seek to snap their two-game skid against Chadron State. It’ll be their fourth matchup this season against a school from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Against an Eagles team that is 0-3 and allows 79 points per game to its opponents, it could be a great spot for the Cowgirls to find their offensive footing. It took nearly all season for them to do so last year, but it came when it was needed most in a run to the Mountain West tournament title.

“By the end of the year, we were shooting really, really well,” Mattinson said. “I think sooner or later, that’s going to happen.”

Robert Munoz is a writer for WyoSports. He can be reached at rmunoz@wyosports.net. Follow him on Twitter @rmunoz307.

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