(UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. – The Wyoming Cowgirls (12-5, 5-3 MW) will host the Air Force Falcons (8-13, 4-6 MW) on Wednesday for a 6:30 p.m. tip in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowgirls have held their last three opponents under 60 points, and will face a Falcons squad looking to bounce back from a 55-48 setback against Colorado State.
The game will be broadcast live on the Mountain West Network and on Stadium, and can be heard across the 25 stations of the Cowgirl Radio Network with Reece Monaco on play-by-play and Wyoming Hall of Famer Margie McDonald with color commentary.
A LOOK AT THE COWGIRLS
The Cowgirls are 12-5 this season and 5-3 in the Mountain West coming off a 63-56 win over Fresno State, earning their first win in Fresno since 1996. The Cowgirls are led offensively by senior forward Marta Gomez who averages 15.3 points per game while adding 4.6 rebounds per contest. Senior forward Bailee Cotton averages nearly a double-double with 10.9 points per contest and pulling down a team best 8.9 rebounds per game. Cotton has also taken a team-leading 13 charges this season. Junior Taylor Rusk is scoring 10.6 points per contest while adding 58 assists and only 17 turnovers, the fourth best assist-to-turnover ratio in the country. Senior guard Clara Tapia leads the team in the assist department with 61 on the year. Defensively, freshman guard Karla Erjavec has recorded 23 steals this season, while Cotton has 16 blocks.
Offensively, the Cowgirls are shooting at a 46.1 percent (449-of-973) clip from the field while shooting 41.4 percent (144-of-348) from three and 73.8 percent (177-of-240) from the free throw line to average 71.7 points per game. The Cowgirls average 15.8 assists and just 11.1 turnovers per game. Opponents are shooting 42.0 percent (388-of-924) from the field, 34.4 percent (94-of-273) from three and 70.4 percent (143-of-203) from the free throw line to average 59.6 points per game. Cowgirl foes average 10.2 assists and 15.1 turnovers per game.
Head coach Joe Legerski is in his 16th year at the helm of the Cowgirls, and he has compiled a 301-182 record as Wyoming’s head coach. He is the winningest coach in program history.
SCOUTING AIR FORCE
The Falcons are 8-13 overall this season with a 4-6 record in Mountain West play coming off a 55-48 loss against Colorado State. Air Force is led by Kaelin Immel, who pours in 13.0 points per game and collects 4.2 rebounds per contest. Riley Snyder is the other Falcon to average double-digit scoring, collecting 10.5 points per contest to go along with 4.4 rebounds. Kassady Huffman leads the team on the glass, averaging 6.6 rebounds per game and has a team-best 25 blocks. Briana Autrey leads the team in assists and steals, averaging 2.0 and 1.7 per game, respectively.
Air Force shoots 35.7 percent (449-of-1256) from the field, 28.2 percent (96-of-341) from three and 64.0 percent (293-of 458) from the free throw line to average 61.3 points per game. The Falcons average 10.0 assists and 19.2 turnovers per contest. Opponents shoot 41.3 percent (497-of1202) from the field, 28.9 percent (79-of-273) from three and 65.9 percent (302-of-458) from the free throw line to average 65.5 points per contest. Falcon foes average 0.9 assists and 19.0 turnovers per game.
The Falcons are coached by Chris Gobrecht who is 19-92 in four seasons at the Academy. Overall, she is 561-565 in 38 seasons as a Division I head coach.
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST AIR FORCE
The Falcons snapped a 25-game losing streak to the Cowgirls last season, when they picked up a 57-47 victory in Colorado Springs. Overall, the Cowgirls lead the Falcons 49-3 in a series that dates back to 1979. Wyoming is a perfect 26-0 against Air Force in Laramie. The average margin of victory in Wyoming’s home games against the Falcons since 2010 is 38.5 points, with the largest being a 98-36 win in 2012.
The Cowgirls will play in the first Border War game of the season, as they travel to Fort Collins to face off against the Colorado State Rams on Saturday, February 9. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Wyoming’s men head south to Colorado Springs, Colo. for a mid-week contest with Air Force on Wednesday at 7 p.m. It is the first meeting of the season between the two teams and Wyoming’s first trip to Clune Arena since Feb. 4, 2017.
The game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network. Fans can watch, listen to the contest and follow stats on GoWyo.com. The game will be broadcast live on radio over the 25 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Dave Walsh and Kevin McKinney will call the action.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming heads to Colorado Springs with a 5-16 overall record and a 1-7 mark in the MW. The Pokes fell to Fresno State at home last Wednesday 75-62. The Cowboys shared the ball well in the contest with 12 assists on the night for the tenth double-digit assists output of the season.
The Cowboys are shooting 42 percent from the field this season, but have shot 48 percent from the field over the last three games. The Cowboys rank fourth in the MW in both free throws made (329) and free throws attempted (460).
The Falcons head into Wednesday’s contest with a 9-13 overall record and a 4-6 mark in league play. Air Force has dropped two-straight games falling at San Diego State 66-51 and at home against Colorado State 85-53 on Saturday.
Air Force is averaging 66.8 points per game, while allowing 71.0 per game. The Falcons rank fifth in the conference in three point percentage defense at 33.8 points per game. Air Force adds 13.3 assists per game on the season to rank sixth in the league. The Falcons are similar to the Cowboys scoring more than 100 points more in the second half this season.
Each Team’s Leaders
Wyoming is led in scoring, rebounding and assists by senior guard Justin James. He leads the MW in scoring at 19.9 points per game, which ranks No. 48 in the nation. He grabs 8.8 rebounds per game for fifth in the MW and adds 4.1 assists per game for seventh in the league. He grabbed his sixth double-double of the season against Fresno State, as he ranks sixth in the category in the conference.
Junior Jake Hendricks could make his first appearance in the Brown and Gold since Dec. 22 against UTEP. Prior to his injury, Hendricks added 11.4 points per game and still leads the Pokes with 34 three pointers on the season. Redshirt freshman Hunter Thompson adds 11.6 points per game, as he is shooting 50 percent from behind the arc in conference play.
Air Force is led in scoring by LaVelle Scottie at 13.8 points per game. He also adds 5.2 rebounds per night to rank second on the team. He is shooting 48 percent from the field to rank seventh in the MW. Ryan Swan adds 11.6 points per game and a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game. He ranks ninth in the MW in rebounding. He adds 2.4 offensive rebounds per game, as that mark ranks fifth in the MW.
About The Series
The Cowboys own a 78-37 advantage against the Falcons all-time. Wyoming is 32-21 all-time in Colorado Springs. Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards is 3-1 all-time against the Falcons. The Pokes took last season’s only meeting 66-54 in Laramie on Feb. 28.
Wyoming returns to the friendly confines of the Arena-Auditorium for the first “Border War” contest of the season, as the Cowboys and Colorado State will meet for a High Noon tip on Saturday.