LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming basketball team (10-9 overall, 3-6 MW) gave up a late fourth quarter lead in its 49-42 loss against the Fresno State Bulldogs (12-7 overall, 8-0 MW) on Wednesday night in Laramie.
"Tonight's a game that goes along with a bunch of the ones we've had this season," UW head coach Joe Legerski said. "This group plays its heart out and that's something I appreciate with that kind of effort. We played zone tonight for 40 minutes which is something we haven't done much in my time here. We worked on it for two days and executed it. To hold a team of the caliber of Fresno State to 49 points we did our job defensively. Once again, we are struggling on the offensive side of things. When you look at the end of the game, their seniors really stepped up, made some shots down the stretch which is something we are lacking. Marquelle is playing her heart out and is the focus for everyone on the other side of the ball. We have to continue working at things."
Sophomore Natalie Baker finished her night with a game-high 16 points and six rebounds for the Cowgirls. Freshman Marta Gomez followed with 12 points and six rebounds. UW shot 17-of-61 (.279) from the field and 4-of-18 (.222) from beyond the arc while outrebounding its opponent 41-38.
"Natalie played very well tonight. We got the ball inside to her, she was able to score and kept us in the game. Defensive rebounding was key for us as well tonight but in the end scoring 42 points isn't enough to earn victories."
Fresno State was led in scoring by Toni Smith with a team-high 14 points followed by Bego Faz Davalos with 10 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. The Bulldogs were 20-of-51 (.392) from the field and scored 28 points in the paint.
A quick basket out of the break by Gomez increased the lead to seven, 28-21. Fresno State went on a 10-2 run to close out the third quarter to make 33-31 in favor of UW headed in to the final ten minutes. Free shots by Dent ended a five minute scoreless drought but the Bulldogs rallied back with six of eight to tie it up with 7:07 left on the clock. A field goal by Roberts put the Cowgirls ahead by two, 39-37, but Fresno State answered back with an 8-0 run to go ahead for the first time since the second quarter, 45-39. Despite pulling to within three 45-42, the Cowgirls came out on the short end by the final of 49-42.
It was a low scoring affair as the two teams combined for two baskets through the first seven minutes of the first quarter. A three by Baker gave the Cowgirls a 5-2 lead. Fresno State closed out the frame on a 7-3 run to take a 9-8 advantage. Wyoming scored 9 of the first 11 points to regain a six point lead, 17-11. Two straight baskets by the Bulldogs closed the gap to 17-15. The Cowgirls regained a 23-16 lead with 1:57 left in the quarter and held on to take a 25-21 advantage into the locker room.
Baker led all scorers in the first half with 11 points followed by Gomez with six and Roberts with five. Gomez finished with a team-high six rebounds. UW shot 11-of-35 (.314) from the field and out rebounded the Bulldogs 24-21. Fresno State had two players with five points each while Faz Davalos brought down seven boards. The Bulldogs shot 9-of-27 (.333) from the field and had 10 blocked shots.
The Cowgirls return to action on Saturday against the Colorado State Rams. The game is set to tip-off at 2 p.m. MT in Ft. Collins.