Baker Leads the Cowgirls toTheir Sixth Straight Win

Photo Courtesy of UW Athletics Department

by staff–12 Jan ’17

Four players finished the night in double-digits to lead the Wyoming women’s basketball team (12-3 overall, 4-0 MW) to its sixth-straight win, 71-48, over the Utah State Aggies (8-8 overall, 1-4 MW) on Wednesday night. The 12-3 start by the Cowgirls equals the best since 2012-13 and the 4-0 mark in league play ties the start by the 2007-08 team.

Junior Natalie Baker recorded her first double-double of the season with a season-high 17 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Marta Gomez was 5-5 from beyond the arc off the bench to finish with 17 points as well, while junior Liv Roberts scored 11 second half points to finish her night with 14 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Clara Tapia chipped in ten points and dished out four assists. Wyoming shot 28-58 (.483) from the field and a season-high 11-19 (.579) from beyond the arc, plus recorded 21 assists on 28 baskets.

“I told the team in the locker room what a great win this was for us,” head coach Joe Legerski said. “This is about team and everyone is contributing. Whether you play 40 minutes or no minutes, you are part of a team, a family and an important part of our group. We talk about who is going to step up the night Liv (Roberts) doesn’t have a good half. She was 1-5 in the first half, to her credit she’s 5-10 in the second. We went in to the half up and everyone else picked it up. Natalie (Baker) was big tonight with a double-double, especially with 11 rebounds. Marta (Gomez) came off the bench, shot the ball tremendously, 5-5 from three and 17 points. Tonight, we had four players in double-digits including Clara (Tapia). Her value to this program is her leadership, intensity to push the ball and make great decisions.”

Utah State was led by freshman Shannon Dufficy with a double-double her own, recording 12 points and 16 rebounds. Senior Rachel Brewster and freshman Olivia West each added nine points. The Aggies shot 19-62 (.306) from the field and 5-19 (.263) from beyond the arc, plus out rebounded the Cowgirls 42-31.

Out of the break, the Cowgirls would build the advantage back to 13, 44-31, through the first media timeout. The two teams traded baskets over the remainder of the quarter with Wyoming maintaining a 48-39 lead. UW shot its lowest percentage of the game in the third period, just 5-16 (.313) from the field but out rebounded the Aggies, 11-9. A 9-0 to begin the fourth including seven coming from Roberts pushed the lead back to 18, 57-39. A jumper by sophomore Katie Toole would end the run and a five minute scoreless stretch from Utah State with 6:05 remaining in the contest. The Cowgirls closed out the game on a 14-6 run to capture the 23-point win, 71-48.

The two teams combined for 15 points with Wyoming taking a one-point advantage, 8-7, through the first media timeout. The Cowgirls scored eight of the next 11 points including two three’s by Gomez to push the lead to 16-10. Utah State closed out the quarter on a 7-3 run to pull within two, 19-17. Started by a jumper from Ligocki, UW ran off nine straight points to increase the lead to double-digits, 28-17. The Aggies responded with a 10 of the next 13 points to close the gap to four, 31-27, with 1:21 left in the half. A bucket by Cotton would end a four minute scoring drought as Wyoming took a 33-27 lead headed in to the locker room.

Gomez finished the half with 12 points all from beyond the arc. Baker recorded seven followed by Tapia with five. Three Cowgirls each had two rebounds each. Wyoming shot 13-25 (.520) from the field and 6-9 (.667) from three. The Aggies were led by Dufficy with ten points and seven rebounds. Utah State shot 11-32 (.344) from the field and 4-12 (.333) from three.

Wyoming will continue its road swing on Saturday against the Nevada Wolf Pack. The game is set to tip-off at 5 p.m. MT in Reno.