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Knudson: Vandiver Keeps Delivering for Cowgirls


By Mark Knudson, The Mtn. Insider
February 9, 2011

No one is calling Aubrey Vandiver the Mountain West Conference’s female version of Jimmer Fredette yet, which is just fine.

She’s doing pretty darn well just being herself.

Vandiver is heading down the homestretch of a stellar career in Laramie, trying to lead the Cowgirls back to the NCAA tournament. If the past two games are any indication, a post-season bid appears very possible for Wyoming. Big wins over Colorado State and New Mexico moved the Cowgirls to 8-2 on the season in Conference play, 18-5 overall, and has them locked in a two-team race with BYU for the Conference regular season title.

Against New Mexico, Vandiver recorded her sixth straight double-double, the 33rd of her career. Most comfortable operating in the low post, she also hit six three pointers as part of a 28-point output and showed off her ball handling and assist making skills. It was the kind of performance that’s becoming the norm, not the exception.

The basketball roots run deep in the Vandiver family. Aubrey’s father, Shaun, was a standout big man at the University of Colorado before being taken in the first round of the 1991 NBA Draft by Golden State. The elder Vandiver never played in the NBA, however, opting instead to pursue a professional playing career in Europe. He played for nine seasons for three different teams on the other side of the pond. When he returned, he began a coaching career as a grad assistant at Wyoming before two other stops as a full time assistant led him back to Laramie. He worked five years under former Pokes coaches Steve McClain and Heath Schroyer before taking an assistant coach position at Boise State.

Logic will tell you that he will probably be a candidate for the now open position as the men’s coach in Laramie for next season.

Meanwhile, his oldest daughter, Aubrey, who was raised in Laramie, is busy compiling one of the best basketball careers in Conference history. She’s already the top-ranked MWC player ever in terms of games played in a career and still has the rest of the season to play. She’s among the league’s all-time leading scorers with more than 1,400 points. Her 35-point output against Colorado State last weekend was the fourth best single game output in Wyoming history.

And during a week when the school announced the firing of Heath Schroyer as men’s basketball coach after just three and a half seasons on the job, Vandiver provided some extra good news when she was selected Capital One Academic All-District for the third time. A Spanish major, Vandiver boasts a 3.59 GPA.

What will it take for Vandiver and her Cowgirl teammates to make it back to the NCAA tournament?

The MWC isn’t having the same kind of nationally renowned season on the women’s side as they are on the men’s. None of the top teams in the MWC are nationally ranked or even in the top 50 of the RPI. The only guaranteed invite comes with winning the Conference tournament in March.

BYU is playing excellent basketball and holds a slight edge over Wyoming at the moment.

But if Vandiver and her teammates keep playing the way they have played the past two games, the Cougars are in for a battle when the teams meet to close the regular season in Laramie on March 5. That happens right before the tournament.

Once they all reach Vegas, expect a show that Jimmer will want to watch.

Read all of Mark Knudson's blog entries HERE.

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