LARAMIE, Wyo. (Dec. 2, 2016) — Behind a career-high 21 points from junior Liv Roberts, the Wyoming basketball team improved to 5-2 overall with a 20-point win, 68-48, over the Southern Utah Thunderbirds (3-3 overall) on Friday night.
“That’s about as difficult 20-point win that you will ever have. I thought the game was played well by both teams,” head coach Joe Legerski said. The pace was tremendous. We were pushing the ball, they were pushing the ball back at you so it made everyone have to run 94 feet every possession. We showed a little toughness tonight. The game got to about three or four points in the third quarter, we hung in there with our second unit, but wanted to make sure we had enough in the tank for the starters to finish the game. We finished it out, they did a good job and then we finally made a couple of three pointers.”
Roberts finished the night with a career-high 21 points plus a season-high eight rebounds and four assists. She was 6-of-10 (.600) from the field and 8-of-10 (.800) from the charity stripe. Sophomore Rachelle Tucker came off the bench with ten points and five rebounds. Redshirt sophomore Bailee Cotton added nine points while junior Natalie Baker recorded eight boards and seven points. The Cowgirls shot 24-of-61 (.393) from the field and 15-of-19 (.789). UW outrebounded the Thunderbirds 44-36 and had 18 assists on 24 baskets.
“I thought Liv (Roberts) gave us energy all night long. She was out on the floor encouraging everyone and when she was on the bench. You look at her line with 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists and was the leader of this group tonight.”
Southern Utah was led by senior Jamie Smith with 15 points and four rebounds. Freshmen guards Rebecca Cardenas and Skylee Doman each added seven points while Doman finished with a team-high six rebounds. The Thunderbirds shot 20-of-59 (.339) from the field and 5-of-11 (.455) from three.
Two early free throws out of the break put UW up 12, 32-20, which was answered with an 11-4 run by Southern Utah to close the gap to four, 35-31. The Cowgirls increased the lead back to ten, 45-35, started by a Baker jumper. Over the next five minute stretch, the Thunderbirds scored the next seven of nine to close the gap to three, 47-44, with 9:45 remaining in the fourth. A three-point field goal by Marta Gomez sparked a 21-4 run to stretch the lead back to 16, 64-48. UW held the Southern Utah scoreless the final 2:49 to take the 68-48 victory.
The Cowgirls scored the first six points of the game. It was over four and minutes before a three by Smith got the Thunderbirds on the board. UW scored the next seven of ten to take a 13-6 lead through the first quarter. Southern Utah hit the first basket of the second period, which was answered with seven unanswered by Wyoming to give them a 22-8 advantage. The Thunderbirds closed out the half on a 12-8 run but the Cowgirls took a 30-20 lead into the locker room.
Roberts led the way with 11 points plus four rebounds. Cotton added seven points while Baker recorded six rebounds. The Cowgirls were 13-of-35 (.371) from the field and 0-of-11 (.000) from beyond the arc. Cardenas and Smith recorded five points each for the Thunderbirds while Darri Frandsen finished with three boards. Southern Utah shot 8-of-27 (.296) from the field and 3-of-4 (.750) from beyond the arc.
The Cowgirls will return to action on Sunday against the South Dakota Coyotes. The game is set for a 1:00 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium.