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Olivia Roberts scores 18, Wyoming Cowgirls win on buzzer beater

Posted at 7:04 PM, Feb 17, 2018

(Editor’s note: University of Wyoming media release)

SAN JOSE, Calif. – A jumper by junior Marta Gomez with 0.7 seconds left in the game gave the Wyoming women’s basketball team (18-7 overall, 11-3 MW) a two-point victory, 66-64, over the San José State Spartans (6-19 overall, 3-11 MW) on Saturday afternoon. The Cowgirls overcame a 14-point third-quarter deficit.

“The biggest thing is the rule change in women’s basketball that you can advance the ball to half court after a timeout,” head coach Joe Legerski said. “The score was tied with 2.4 seconds left and we that’s why you hold on to timeouts. So instead of taking it all the way down the court, we were able to advance up the sideline and choose what side. It’s an exciting part of the game. We decided to run our out of bounds play with Marta (Gomez). If she was in a position to catch the ball, which she was and delivered again. It’s one thing to be able to call the ball and a whole different one to execute it. Liv (Roberts) threw a great pass to Marta and she finished it. We then had to defend on the other end and San Jose State had a chance it just fell short. We got fortunate. That is a happy group in the locker room. The way San Jose State battled, shot the ball and they can create a lot of problems for teams.”

Senior Liv Roberts led the way with a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds. Gomez followed with 15 points, which included 11 in the fourth quarter, while sophomore Taylor Rusk chipped in 12 points. Junior Clara Tapia dished a season-high eight assists in 36 minutes of play. UW shot 27-of-55 (.491) from the field and 6-of-13 (.462) from beyond the arc. The Cowgirls had 21 assists on 27 baskets, 19 bench points and 36 points in the paint.

The Spartans were led by senior Myzhanique Ladd who recorded a game-high 26 points and five rebounds while shooting 12-of-20 (.600) from the field. Sophomores Taylor Turney and Fieme’a Hafoka each added eight points. San José State also shot 27-of-55 (.491) from the field and 7-of-19 (.368) from beyond the arc. SJSU out rebounded the Cowgirls by one, 28-27.
The teams traded early baskets until a 7-2 run by the Spartans gave them an early 9-4 lead. After a basket by Roberts, senior Hallie Gennett hit a three to increase the lead to six, 12-6. UW scored the next five straight to cut the deficit to one, 12-11. Eight points were scored the remainder of the quarter as the Spartans led 16-15 after one. With the score 20-17 in favor of San Jose State, they would go on a 10-2 run over the next three minutes to increase the lead to double-digits, 30-19. Started by a jumper by Roberts, the Cowgirls scored six straight to close the gap to five, 30-25. The Spartans scored the final five of seven points to take a 35-27 advantage in to the locker room.

Roberts led all Cowgirl scorers at the half with eight points plus three rebounds. Rusk followed by seven points and senior Natalie Baker with six points and four rebounds. UW shot 12-of-29 (.414) from the field and 1-of-5 (.200) from beyond the arc. San Jose State was led by Ladd with 11 while Turney and freshman Cydni Lewis each added six points. The Spartans were 15-of-26 (.577) from the field and 8-of-13 (.615) from three, while out rebounding Wyoming 17-11.

Out of the halftime break, San Jose State made it a ten point contest, 39-29. The Cowgirls scored seven of the next ten to pull within six, 42-36. An 8-0 run by the Spartans extended the lead to double-figures, 50-36. Nine unanswered by UW made it a five point game 50-45 early in the fourth quarter. SJSU continued to have answer and pushed it back up to eight, 60-52, with 4:40 on the clock. Started by a Gomez three, Wyoming went on a 9-2 run to cut it to one, 62-61. Ladd hit a shot to make it a three-point contest, 64-61, followed by a Baker layup making it 64-63. Neither team could make a shot over the next couple of possessions until Cotton was fouled with 20 seconds remaining. She would hit one of two free throws to tie it up at 64. With the ball in the hands of Ladd, she missed jumper late in the game which gave the Cowgirls an opportunity with 2.4 seconds left. A lob from Roberts to Gomez with it winding down made it 66-64 in favor of Wyoming. The Spartans had one chance left but it fell short to give the Cowgirls the 66-64 win.

Wyoming will be back in action on Wednesday against the New Mexico Lobos. The game is set for 7 p.m. MT in Albuquerque.