LARAMIE, Wyo. (Dec. 31, 2016) — Behind a career-night by junior Liv Roberts, the Wyoming women’s basketball team (10-3 overall, 2-0 MW) won its fourth straight game with a 79-57 victory over the UNLV Lady Rebels (9-5 overall, 0-1 MW) on Saturday afternoon.
Roberts recorded a career-high 26 points while bringing down a team-high eight rebounds. She was 9-of-12 from the field and 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. Sophomore Marta Gomez added 18 points and four assists followed by junior Natalie Baker with ten points and six rebounds. Sophomore Clara Tapia recorded a career-high eight assists. Wyoming shot 25-of-49 (.510) from the field and 12-of-22 (.545) from the field. They recorded 22 assists on 25 baskets and had 28 points in the paint.
“The confidence in this team continues to grow and they are very comfortable playing at home,” head coach Joe Legerski said. “I thought we set the tone defensively in the first quarter. We were as good as we could be, making sure every shot was contested because trying to take away the strengths of UNLV is very difficult. They can shoot the ball from three, take you on the dribble which puts a lot of pressure on you. I also think it helped that we hit shots early. It relaxes everybody and we were able to get up and down the floor. The second half was probably one of the most stressful 20 minutes that I’ve coached in a while. UNLV cut the 20-point lead to 13 in about two minutes in the fourth quarter. You look at the clock hoping it’s the end of the quarter and it’s about six minutes. We came out of the timeout, Marta (Gomez) hit a big three and Liv (Roberts) followed up with another three. We played the game out but there was constant pressure in the full court. Liked how we shared the basketball with 22 assists on 25 field goals that’s how we play. Everyone stepped up again.”
The Lady Rebels were led by junior Dakota Gonzalez with 19 points in 38 minutes of action. Sophomore Katie Powell added ten points and six rebounds while junior Dylan Gonzalez finished with a team-high seven rebounds. UNLV was 22-of-53 (.415) from the field and out rebounded UW, 30-29.
UNLV scored seven straight out of the break making it a 13 point game, 41-28. A three by Baker ended the run and start a 10-4 run to push the lead back to 22, 54-32. The teams combined for 11 points the remainder of the quarter as the Cowgirls took a 59-38 lead in to the final ten minutes. A 9-1 run over the first three minutes of the period pulled the Lady Rebels to within 13, 60-47. Two threes by Gomez and Roberts ended a two minute scoring drought for the Cowgirls to extend it back to 19, 66-47. The lead was never in jeopardy as Wyoming went on to the 79-57 victory.
It took both teams a while to get in to the scoring column with Baker hitting a shot for the Cowgirls. With the scored tied at five, Wyoming scored ten unanswered to go ahead by double figures, 15-5. Out of a timeout, the Lady Rebels scored two straight baskets to close the gap to six, 15-9. Over the next six minutes, Wyoming extended the lead to 15, 28-13, with a 13-4 run. Both teams went several minutes without scoring but the Cowgirls closed out the quarter scoring 13 of the final 21 points to take a 41-21 lead in to the locker room.
Roberts led the way with 14 points and five rebounds followed by Gomez with ten points. UW shot 11-of-27 (.407) from the field. UNLV was led by Dakota Gonzalez with five points and three others with four points. The Lady Rebels shot 8-of-24 (.333) from the field and committed nine turnovers.
Wyoming returns to action on Wednesday against the Fresno State Bulldogs. The game is set for 6:30 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.