MOSCOW, Idaho (December 9, 2017) –
Behind double-figure scoring efforts from four Cowgirl starters, the Wyoming basketball team (6-3 overall) earned a tough six-point win, 70-64, over the Idaho Vandals (3-5 overall) on Saturday night.
Senior Liv Roberts
led the way for the Cowgirls in scoring with a season-high 18 points along with eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Fellow senior Natalie Baker
added a 13 point and seven rebound effort, while redshirt junior Bailee Cotton
recorded her second straight double-double with 11 points and ten rebounds. Junior Clara Tapia
finished her night with ten points and three assists along with sophomoreTaylor Rusk
with eight points and four boards. Wyoming shot 23-of-59 (.390) from the field, including 7-of-12 (.583) in the third quarter, and 10-of-26 (.385) from beyond the arc. The Cowgirls out rebounded the Vandals by one 34-33, had 18 second chance points and ten points off the bench.
"I told the team in the locker room after the game that we needed everyone to step up and everyone contributed that stepped on the floor regardless of the amount of minutes," head coach Joe Legerski
said. "Whether it was offensively, defensively or just keeping us in the motion. I thought Skyler (Snodgrass) hit a big three when we needed a basket, Sladjana (Rakovic) gets a big block on a breakaway, you give Idaho those couple of points it changes things. The starters played really well throughout the whole game. It was a real battle and they shared the basketball. None bigger when Clara (Tapia) drives, kicks the ball to Liv (Roberts), she makes the pass because Taylor (Rusk) has a better shot and she buries it which ties up the game. After that, we just stayed with our system, ran the motion and the last 20 seconds did a great job defensively."
Idaho was led by junior Mikayla Ferenz with a game-high 30 points plus a team-high six rebounds. Senior Geraldine McCorkell added 22 points and five rebounds. The Vandals were 25-of-54 (.463) from the field and just 5-of-22 (.227) from beyond the arc. The team had 30 points in the paint and 13 points off of turnovers.
Out of the break, McCorkell hit a layup to make it a one-point game, 33-32, but the Cowgirls responded with ten unanswered to extend the lead to double-digits, 43-32. Over the next two minutes, the Vandals went on an 8-0 run to close the gap to three, 43-40, with 5:13 left in the third. Each team scored 11 points each as Wyoming took a three-point lead 54-51 headed in to the final ten minutes. Idaho scored the first seven points of the period them its first lead since the second quarter, 58-54. Baskets by Gomez and Cotton evened up things at 58, but the Vandals scored five of the next seven to go ahead by three, 63-60. Five straight points by Rusk ended scoring drought for UW and gave the lead back, 65-63. Ferenz hit one of two free throws with 36 seconds on the clock. Idaho was forced to foul down the stretch as Tapia and Roberts combined for five of six free throws to seal the six point win, 70-64, for Wyoming.
The pace was quick to begin the game as the two teams traded early baskets. With the score tied up at four, Roberts hit a three to put the Cowgirls up them up 7-4. A bucket by Ferenz made it a one point contest, 7-6, and then both teams struggled to score. A field goal by Roberts ended an almost three minute scoring drought and started a small run to give UW a five point advantage, 11-6, through the first media timeout. Idaho responded with seven unanswered to take its first lead of the game, 13-11. Back to back three-point field goal to close out the first quarter by the Cowgirls gave them a four-point lead, 17-13. The Vandals opened up the second period on a 5-0 run to pull ahead by one, 18-17. UW scored six of eight to regain a three-point lead, 23-20, but Idaho ran off ten straight to make it a seven-point contest, 30-23. A three by Baker finally stopped a five minute drought and she would score eight of the final ten points for the Cowgirls to close out the half. Wyoming held the Vandals scoreless in the final 3:41 to take a 33-30 lead headed in to the locker room.
In the first half, Baker led Cowgirl all scorers with ten points followed by Roberts and Tapia with five each. Cotton had a team-high six rebounds. UW shot 11-31 (.355) from the field and 7-15 (.467) from beyond the arc. Idaho was led by Ferenz with 13 points and four rebounds. McCorkell chipped in eight points and four rebounds. The Vandals were 13-28 (.464) and out rebounded Wyoming 19-16.
Wyoming returns to action on Tuesday to host the Colorado Christian Cougars in its final home non-conference game. The game is set for 4 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium.