COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -
A career-night from freshman Rachelle Tucker sparked the Wyoming basketball team (9-4 overall, 2-1 MW) to a 22-point win, 67-45, over the Air Force Falcons (0-13, 0-2 MW) on Wednesday in Colorado Springs.
“When you come down and play at the Academy, it’s going to be a battle for 40 minutes and trying to convince the players of that is a challenge,” UW head coach Joe Legerski. “I’ve seen it year after year. We started off sluggish, turned it over more than we had field goals in that first quarter. We changed things up offensively, got Marquelle to the basket and Liv going. The biggest change in the second quarter was the play of Rachelle (Tucker). We were able to find her, she’s able to finish around the basket and had a big night with 16 points. From that point on, we only turned the ball over three times so it was a good job taking care of the ball. It was just a nice effort from Rachelle.”
Tucker finished her night with a career-high 16 points and six rebound effort. She was 6-of-7 from the field and 4-of-7 from the charity stripe. Senior Marquelle Dent recorded a team-high 19 points plus five assists. Liv Roberts chipped in 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds while Natalie Baker added 14 points. The Cowgirls were 26-of-54 (.481) from the field and out rebounded Air Force, 39-31.
The Falcons were led by junior Sarah Fotsch with eight points in 26 minutes of action. Three other players added seven points each while senior Taylor Parker brought down ten boards. Air Force shot 16-of-52 (.308) from the field and 12-of-18 (.667) from the charity stripe.
Air Force made it a four point contest, 30-26, to begin the third quarter. Wyoming responded with a 12-1 run including eight points by Tucker to increase the lead to double-digits, 42-27. A late bucket by Bennett made it 42-29 headed into the final frame. Porter completed a three-point play to make it a ten-point game, 42-32. The Cowgirls outscored Air Force, 23-13, down the final stretch to move on to the 67-45 victory.
The Cowgirls struggled out of the gate to begin the game trailing through the first media timeout down 4-2. UW shot 1-5 from the field and had five turnovers. Air Force would build an 8-2 lead before a three-point play by Dent ended a 4:25 scoreless stretch for the Cowgirls. Roberts hit a free throw to tie it up with 22 seconds to go in the quarter but Parker hit a shot late to give the Falcons a 10-8 advantage. Wyoming scored four unanswered to take its first lead of the game with 7:18 left in the second quarter. A three by Fotsch gives Air Force a one-point lead, 13-12. An 11-2 run which included eight points by Tucker gave UW an eight-point advantage, 23-15. Free throws ended a 3:24 minute drought for the Falcons and it was even the rest of the way as the Cowgirls took a 29-22 lead heading into the locker room.
Tucker led the way with eight points and four rebounds. Dent recorded seven points and three assists followed by Baker and Roberts with six points each. The Cowgirls were 12-of-24 (.500) from the field but committed ten turnovers.
Wyoming will close out the week on Saturday against the UNLV Lady Rebels. The game time is set for 8 p.m. MT at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nev.