LARAMIE, Wyo. -
A double-double from sophomore Natalie Baker helped spark the Wyoming basketball team (6-3 overall) to a six-point overtime win, 75-69, against the Montana State Bobcats (6-4 overall) on Saturday night in Laramie. It's the third time this season the Cowgirls have gone to overtime and have a 2-1 mark.
Three Cowgirls finished the night in double-digits led by senior Marquelle Dent. She tied her season-high with 23 points along with four steals and two assists in 40 minutes of action. Liv Roberts followed with a career-high 17 points and eight boards while Baker finished with her first double-double of her career with ten points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Senior Jordan Kelley also added ten boards. UW shot 21-of-60 (.350) for the game including 13-of-29 (.448) in the third in the fourth quarters.
"We keep talking about this team having a little grit to them and that shows how tonight's game went," UW head coach Joe Legerski said. "I've been coaching at this level for 30 years and I told them at halftime that I've never seen a stat sheet like in the first two quarters. We were 5-of-27 from the field and all the field goals were recorded by Marquelle (Dent). We really challenged them in the lockerroom and on the bench and Liv (Roberts) really stepped up in the second half. She went 5-of-6 in the second half, made big three point plays and showed a tremendous amount of determination to score. Natalie Baker got her first start tonight and was a little nervous, but brought down 15 rebounds and made free throws. For Riikka (Kujala) to step in after Marquelle fouled out there were a lot of things going through my mind, but she came in and hit two big free throws."
Montana State was led by senior Jasmine Hommes who had 29 points, including 27 in the second half, and nine boards. Sophomore Hannah Caudill followed with 13 points and eight assists in her 34 minutes of action. The Bobcats were 25-of-75 (.333) from the field for the game and 16-of-23 (.696) from the charity stripe.
Out of the halftime break, MSU built the lead to eight, 30-22. Two straight baskets by the Cowgirls closed the gap to four, 30-26, but the Bobcats increased the advantage back to nine, 43-34. UW tried to chip away at the deficit and went into the fourth quarter down 44-39. Capped off by a Roberts three-point play, Wyoming pulled to within two, 52-50, with 4:45 remaining in the game unfortunately baskets by Caudill and Hommes increased the lead back to four, 56-52. Free throws followed by a Dent basket evened up the score at 57 all with 2:20 on the clock. The Cowgirls regained the lead 58-57 unfortunately a three-point play for Hommes put MSU up 60-58. With 24 seconds left in the game, Roberts hit two free throws making it 60 all which is how it ended sending the game into overtime.
The Bobcats went up one quickly in the overtime as Dent fouled out just 23 seconds in. UW responded with a 10-4 run over the next two-minute stretch to go up by five, 70-65. Caudill scored a layup to make it a one possession game, but free throws by Kujala, Roberts and Baker sealed the 75-69 victory for the Cowgirls.
It was low scoring through the first several minutes of the game until seven unanswered by the Bobcats made it 9-2 in favor of MSU. UW went over four minutes until a jumper from Dent ended the scoreless stretch. That basket started a 6-0 run to close the gap to one, 9-8, through one quarter of play. Free throws by Roberts gave the Cowgirls their first lead of the game, 10-9, but a three from Junkermier put Montana State back on top, 12-10.Wyoming struggled on the offensive end as the Bobcats built a 25-18 lead headed into the lockerroom.
The Cowgirls were led by Dent with ten points followed by Rachelle Tucker with four. Baker brought down a team-high eight rebounds. UW shot 5-of-27 (.185) from the field and 0-of-6 (.000) from beyond the arc. MSU was led by Caudill with six points followed by two others with four. The Bobcats were 10-of-34 (.294) from the field.
Wyoming will close out the non-conference season on Monday against the Colorado Buffaloes. The game is set for a 7 p.m. MT tip-off at the Arena-Auditorium.