LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Natalie Baker, Marquelle Dent and Marta Gomez combined for 46 points to lead the Wyoming basketball team (10-6 overall, 3-3 MW) to a 66-48 victory over the New Mexico Lobos (9-7 overall, 2-3 MW) on Saturday afternoon in Laramie.
"We played with great energy tonight which we have throughout the year," UW head coach Joe Legerski said. "I think there were two differences. One we made shots, big shots and when the shot clock was winding down. Tijana (Raca) hit a big three with time running out, Marta (Gomez) and Marquelle (Dent) scored in key times it always helps. This was a tough ball game. When you get out to an early lead you have 35 minutes left to play. We knew New Mexico would make a run and cut it to five. Defensively, we were excellent tonight, took away their game inside and the team executed what we wanted them to do. When you have the combination of executing defensively and hitting big shots on the offensive side you get the victory."
Dent finished her night with a game-high 20 points along with five assists and five rebounds in the win. Baker recorded 14 points followed by Gomez with 12. Wyoming shot 23-46 (.500) for the game and 10-of-20 (.500) from beyond the arc.
Khadijah Shumpert led the way for the Lobos with 13 points plus four rebounds. Cherise Byenon followed with 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds. New Mexico shot 18-of-65 (.277) from the field and out rebounded the Cowgirls 44-30.
A three-point play Otto made it a five-point contest, 29-24, to begin the third quarter. Seven straight by the Cowgirls extended it back to 12, 36-24. The Lobos battled back and shrunk the deficit to five, 41-36, but UW scored the final two baskets to take a 44-36 advantage into the final frame. A basket by Owens closed it to five, 44-39, which was answered with 10 of 12 points by UW to put them back up 54-41. With the score 54-44 and the shot clock winding down Tijana Raca hit a three that seemed seal the game for the Cowgirls. Wyoming held the Lobos to just four points in the final 4:51 to go on to the 66-48 victory.
After an early basket by Beynon, the Cowgirls ran off 17 straight points to take a 17-3 early second quarter lead. A jumper from Owens ended a nine-minute scoreless stretch for the Lobos and started a small run to close the gap to seven, 17-10. UW got the lead back to double-digits, but four straight free throws by New Mexico made it a six-point contest. The Cowgirls went almost four minutes without scoring until a three by Raca. Each team hit shots with under a minute to go but Wyoming took an eight-point lead, 29-21 into the locker room.
Dent led the Cowgirls with seven points and four assists. Gomez recorded six points and two others with five. Wyoming shot 11-of-24 (.458) from the field and 4-of-9 (.444) from the three. Shumpert led the way for the Lobos with nine points and three rebounds. UNM shot 7-of-33 (.212) from the field and out rebounded the Cowgirls 24-16.
The Cowgirls are on the road for the next two games. UW will face the Nevada Wolf Pack on Wednesday and the Boise State Broncos on Saturday. Tip time is set for 7:30 p.m. MT on Wednesday followed by a 2 p.m. MT start on Saturday.