(Editor’s note: University of Wyoming athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. – Behind a double-double from senior Liv Roberts, the Wyoming basketball team (8-5 overall, 1-1 MW) earned a hard-fought six-point win, 66-60, over the Nevada Wolf Pack (8-6 overall, 1-2) on Wednesday night at the Arena-Auditorium.
Roberts finished with a season-high 21 points and ten rebounds for her first double-double of the season and the ninth of her career. She was followed by sophomore Taylor Rusk with a career-high 15 points along with three assists and two steals, while junior Clara Tapia chipped in 12 points and a career-high six boards. The other Cowgirl in double-digits was junior Marta Gomez with ten points in 26 minutes off the bench. Wyoming shot 21-of-47 (.447) from the field and 19-of-20 (.950) from the free throw line.
“I thought we showed some toughness down the stretch,” head coach Joe Legerski said. “We were tired, very tired. If you look at the numbers, we only shot 25 percent in the fourth quarter, which is an indication of that. The offense ran smoother with Clara (Tapia) on the floor, but like I said she was exhausted. We stepped up and hit our free throws to always keep the game at two possessions was key. There were a couple of big plays down the end. A missed shot in the corner from Bailee (Cotton), but Liv (Roberts) grabbed the rebound and gets fouled. With the shot clock winding down, Clara drove and Marta (Gomez) cut, hit a layup. We executed down the stretch but I knew how tired we were. I thought Taylor (Rusk) carried us in the first half. We had planned to rest her, but she ended up playing 38 minutes because she is playing so well both offensively and defensively. We also talked all week about getting production out of Liv and Clara. Liv finished with a double-double and Clara stepped up and had 12 points.”
Junior Jade Redmon finished with a team-high 20 points off the bench for the Wolf Pack. Senior Teige Zeller finished with 12 points and ten rebounds, while junior Terae Briggs added nine points and four rebounds. Nevada shot 26-of-63(.413) from field and 3-of-11 (.273) from three.
Roberts scored the first four of six points for Wyoming to give the Cowgirls a 6-0 lead through a called Nevada timeout. Cephas got the Wolf Pack on the board with 7:09 on the clock. A basket by Cotton increased it to a six point advantage, but a three by Tobey made it 8-5. Wyoming went on a 9-4 run to give them a 17-9 advantage with time winding down in the quarter. After a basket by Redmon, the Cowgirls rattled of a 12 of 14 points, which included eight straight over the next six minutes to extend the lead to 16, 29-13. Briggs hit a shot that ended small drought by Nevada and started an 11-2 run to close the gap to single-digits, 31-24. The Cowgirls hit the final two baskets of the half to take a 12-point lead, 36-24, headed in to the break.
In the first half, Rusk led all scorers with 13 points and three assists in 18 minutes of play. Roberts followed with eight points and six rebounds. The Cowgirls shot 14-of-25 (.560) from the field and 4-of-6 (.667) from beyond the arc. UW out rebounded Nevada, 18-10, and had 16 points in the paint. The Wolf Pack were led by Briggs with seven followed by Redmon with six. Zeller finished with three rebounds. The Wolf Pack shot 10-of-27 (.370) from the field and 1-of-5 (.200) from three.
Wyoming extended its advantage to 15, 43-28, out of the break with a 7-4 run. Nevada responded with nine unanswered to cut it to six, 43-37, with 2:01 left in the third. A layup by Tapia ended a five minute scoring drought for the Cowgirls and they scored the final four of six to take a 47-39 advantage after three. The two teams combined for nine points through the first couple minutes of the fourth with UW holding on to the nine-point lead, 52-43. The Wolf Pack continued to battled and scored 11 of the next 15 points over a six-minute stretch to close the gap to two, 56-54, with 2:48 remaining. An old fashion three-point play by Roberts stopped the bleeding and put UW up five 59-54. On the next possession, Redmon hit a layup with 36 seconds to go. The Cowgirls kept their composure and hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch to hold on for the 66-60 win.
Wyoming returns to action on Saturday against the Boise State Broncos. The game is set for 2:00 p.m. MT at Taco Bell Arena in Boise.