LARAMIE, Wyo. (Feb. 11, 2017) — The Wyoming women’s basketball (18-6 overall, 10-3 MW) used a 26-7 second half run to defeat the Utah State Aggies (13-11 overall, 6-7 MW) by the final of 59-40 on Saturday afternoon.
Junior Liv Roberts led the way for the Cowgirls with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. Freshman Taylor Rusk came off the bench and chipped in ten points and five rebounds followed redshirt sophomore Bailee Cotton with nine points and a career-high nine boards. Wyoming shot 19-48 (.396) from the field and 18-20 (.900) from the charity stripe. The Cowgirls out rebounded the Aggies 42-28 and had 26 points in the paint.
“I don’t think the score indicates how difficult this match-up was with Utah State,” head coach Joe Legerski said. “They came in here winners of four in a row, had a great deal of confidence, their length created some issues and we didn’t shoot the ball well from three. In the third quarter, they had all the momentum and then all of a sudden we went on a 10-0 run. There were certain plays in that stretch that ignited our offense. No doubt Taylor (Rusk) hitting two three point shots was a big part of that push, more importantly Liv (Roberts) was open and gave the ball up. It was a smart play to be made when someone has just hit a shot. The bigger play was the steal by Clara (Tapia). They went over the top and she came from behind from the backside, got us in transition and Natalie (Baker) earned a three-point play the old fashion way. That stretch set the tone for the fourth quarter and we knew how we had to defend.”
Utah State was led by Sophomore Rachel Brewster with 15 points plus three rebounds and two steals. Sophomore Deja Mason and senior Antonia Robinson each added six points while Mason and freshman Shannon Dufficy added five boards. The Aggies were 17-54 (.315) from the field and 2-18 (.111) from beyond the arc.
Utah State closed the gap to one, 30-29, out of the break. Free throws by Roberts with 5:13 on the clock ended the scoreless stretch for the Cowgirls, but the Aggies scored four of five points to tie it up at 33 all with 3:28 on the clock. A three-point play by Baker sparked a 10-0 run from the Cowgirls to give them a 43-33 advantage after three quarters. Robinson scored a layup to end a four-minute drought for Utah State, but a big three by Rusk extended it back to 11, 46-35. The Cowgirls scored the final 13 of 18 in the game to come away with the 19-point win, 59-40.
The Cowgirls scored the first bucket of the game and built a 10-6 lead through the first media timeout. Freshman Eliza West hit one of two free throws for Utah State, but Wyoming scored the final nine points to take a 19-7 lead after one. A basket by Mason ended a seven-minute scoreless stretch for the Aggies and they would make it 21-13. After a three-point play by Cotton extended the lead back to 11, 24-13, Utah State went on a 10-4 run to close the deficit to five, 28-23. The teams traded scores with UW taking a 30-25 advantage in to the locker room.
The Cowgirls were led by Roberts with ten points followed by Cotton with seven points and five boards. UW shot 11-26 (.423) from the field and 8-9 (.889) from the charity stripe. Utah State was led by Brewster with nine points while Mason had six points and four rebounds. The Aggies were 11-28 (.393) from the field.
Wyoming will be back on the road for a Wednesday match-up with rival Colorado State. The game is set for 7 p.m. MT at Moby Arena.