MISSOULA, Mont. (Dec. 18, 2016) — The Wyoming basketball team (7-3 overall) earned its first road victory of the season with a 25-point win, 67-42, over the Montana Lady Griz (3-7 overall) on Sunday afternoon. The Cowgirls have now won the last five in a row and the last seven of eight in the series.
Nine players reached the scoring column for Wyoming led by juniors Natalie Baker and Liv Roberts. Both recorded 14 points each while Baker recorded a team-high six rebounds in 27 minutes of play. Roberts added five rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Marta Gomez had ten points off the bench while fellow sophomores Bailee Cotton and Rachelle Tucker added nine points and seven points, respectively. Wyoming shot 22-48 (.458) from the field and 16-19 (.842) from the free throw line. UW also had 13 assists on 22 baskets and 26 points of the bench.
“I think hitting a few shots early really seemed to calm everyone’s nerves,” head coach Joe Legerski said. “Liv (Roberts) came in on the first offensive set, knocks down a three and two plays later Natalie (Baker) hit another and she really had one of her best games. She was 4-5 from the field, six rebounds in 27 minutes and made a big steal out of one of their sets. When you take a look that we scored 67 points and numbers don’t really jump out at you. We had three players in double digits, so I felt tonight everyone contributed. Rachelle (Tucker) was big in the first half with seven points. We talked about whether they would stick with zone or man as to who went in to the game. A great deal of the game was dictated on how Montana wanted to defend us and I thought we did well with that.”
Montana was led by freshmen Emma Stockholm and McKenzie Johnston. Each recorded ten points while Johnston added a game-high seven rebounds. The Lady Griz were 17-53 (.321) from the field and 1-14 (.071) from beyond the arc.
Wyoming went scoreless the first three possessions of the second half until a three point play by Cotton got them going. It would be a part of a 9-2 run to extend the advantage to 18, 43-25. Out of a timeout, free throws got Montana back in the scoring column. The Cowgirls would increase the lead to 24, 55-31, through the first part of the fourth quarter. A bucket by Stockholm ended a five and half minute scoring drought by the Lady Griz, but Wyoming’s lead was never in jeopardy. UW would hold Montana to a season-low 42 points on its way to a 67-42 win.
The two teams each scored quickly to begin the game. A jumper by Stockholm ended a several minute drought for the Lady Griz, which was answered with nine straight by the Cowgirls pulling them ahead by eight, 12-4. Free throws stopped another scoring skid by Montana as UW took a 16-8 advantage after one. Wyoming began the quarter with a 9-3 run to build the lead to 14, 25-11. The teams scored a combined 19 points to close out the quarter with the Cowgirls taking a 34-21 lead in to the locker room.
Baker finished the half with nine points and five rebounds followed by Roberts with eight and Tucker with seven. The Cowgirls shot 12-27 (.458) from the field and 6-15 (.350) from beyond the arc. Montana was led by redshirt freshman Taylor Goligoski with six points followed by two other players with four. The Lady Griz shot 9-29 (.321) from the field and 1-9 (.071) from beyond the arc.
Wyoming will close out the non-conference season on Wednesday against the nationally ranked Colorado Buffaloes. The game is set for 7 p.m. MT at the Coors Events Center in Boulder.