Cowgirl Basketball Comes Up Short against Utah State, 84-75

Feb. 6, 2016

LOGAN, Utah -

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Despite a career-high effort from sophomore Natalie Baker, the Wyoming women’s basketball team (11-11 overall, 4-8 MW) came up short 84-75 against the Utah State Aggies (11-11 overall, 5-5 MW) on Saturday afternoon in Logan.

“Tonight, we came up short and just didn’t finish on some opportunities,” UW head coach Joe Legerski said. “Looking around the locker room, I’m asking five sophomores, six freshmen to make those plays which makes it difficult. I told them we will get there in time. We have to keep going to practice, working hard in practice, but we have to learn in that certain possessions are more important than others. We came up short in the game, but we also weren’t aggressive to the free throw line, only shooting eight and compared to 27 by Utah State. We have to be more aggressive to the basket and finish. You have to give Utah State credit they have great size. We made a number of plays just needed to make a few more down the stretch.”

Baker tied her career-high 19 points while bringing down eight rebounds. Senior Marquelle Dent followed with 18 points and nine assists while Liv Roberts added 12 points and eight rebounds. The Cowgirls shot 29-of-76 (.382) from the field and 13-of-38 (.342) from three. Wyoming was out rebounded 55-40.

“Overall, I thought we did a nice job defensively. We needed to grab a couple of extra rebounds and that’s a matter of experience. Three players finished in double-figures led by Natalie (Baker) with 19, Marquelle (Dent) with 18 and Liv (Roberts) with 12. Liv also did a nice job in a roving position on the defensive end to help out.”

Utah State was led by sophomore Funda Nakkasoglu with a game-high 32 points and eight assists. Freshman Rachel Brewster added 12 points and five rebounds while Deja Mason recorded 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench. The Aggies shot 30-of-69 (.435) from the field and 20-of-27 (.741) from the charity stripe.

Out of the halftime break, the Cowgirls rallied back and went on an 11-4 run to retake the lead 49-45. Utah State answered with ten straight points to make it a six-point contest, 55-49. A basket by Ligocki stopped a three minute scoreless stretch for UW and the Cowgirls would close the deficit to 61-59 at the end the period. It was back and forth to begin the fourth quarter with Wyoming making it a one-point contest, 68-67. The Aggies rattled off seven straight to pull ahead by eight, 75-67. With under a minute to go, a three by Baker brought the score to within four, 76-72, but free throws down the stretch by Utah State sealed the 84-75 victory.

Wyoming struck first going up 5-0 early forcing Utah State to call an early timeout. Nakkasolgu got the Aggies on the board on the following possession. The teams combined for the next ten points to make it 10-8. UW responded with six straight to increase the lead to 16-8. USU went on a 6-0 run to pull to within two, 16-14. It was even the rest of the quarter with the Cowgirls holding a 24-21 advantage at the end of the first ten minutes. Utah State scored the first six of eight to take its first lead of the game 27-26 with 8:18 in the second quarter. A 10-5 run extended the lead to six, 37-31 which included a three minute scoreless stretch for UW. The Cowgirls closed the gap over the final three minutes to head into the locker room down 41-38.

Baker led the way with 13 points and five rebounds. Dent added 10 points and five assists while Snodgrass and Roberts chipped in five each. Wyoming shot 16-of-42 (.381) from the field and 6-of-23 (.261) from the arc. Utah State was led by Nakkasoglu with 18 points while four others each added four points. The Aggies were 15-of-34 (.441) from the field and 9-of-12 (.750) from the charity stripe.

Wyoming will return to action next Saturday against the Boise State Broncos. The game is set for 2 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game.

In conjunction with the game, the University of Wyoming Athletics Department is hosting the 12th Annual Walk for Women. All proceeds from the event directly benefit the Play 4Kay Foundation. The walk will be held in the Arena-Auditorium Concourse at 11:30 a.m., with registration set to begin at 10:30 a.m. The cost is $30 per person or $15 for youth (6th grade and under) and $15 for UW Students. All participants will receive a t-shirt and lunch along with a ticket to the Wyoming vs. Boise State women’s basketball game at 2 p.m. MT. Registration can be completed at GoWyo.com or the University of Wyoming Athletics Department. For further information, please visit GoWyo.com or contact Felicia Read at (307) 766-2464 or fread@uwyo.edu.