Cowgirls Dominate San Jose State

photo by Darrell Johnson, KFBC radio

by staff–19 Jan ’17

— Five players finished the night in double-figures to push the Wyoming women’s basketball team (14-3 overall, 6-0 MW) winning streak to eight with an 89-60 victory over the San Jose State Spartans (6-12, 3-3 MW) on Wednesday night. The eight-game winning streak is tied for the longest since 2005-06. It’s the best conference start since the 2007-08 team that also opened up 6-0 and it ties a season-best start through 17 games with the 1978-79 and 1989-90 teams.

“There were a number of players that stepped up tonight,” head coach Joe Legerski said. “I thought Bailee (Cotton) by far had her best game not only offensively but defensively. Tonight we had to use Bailee as a perimeter defender because our other post players that isn’t what they necessarily do well. She was able to go out take away the three and handle the drive. Then it was a collection of everyone tonight. Five players in double-digits, we tightened the rotation, we needed perimeter defenders but no one played over 29 minutes. The pace of the game in the first quarter was hectic and I told my staff that we couldn’t play at this pace. It was more along the lines of what San Jose State likes to play. So we talked about slowing it down for the next three quarters, we will break if it’s out on top but if not bring it up the floor and execute the offense.”

Junior Liv Roberts finished with her fifth double-double with a team-high 19 points and a career-high 13 boards. Redshirt sophomore Bailee Cotton had a career-high 19 points as well. Junior Natalie Baker and freshman Taylor Rusk each recorded 14 points, which was a career-high for Rusk, while senior Hailey Ligocki chipped in ten points and four assists. Wyoming 32-68 (.471) from the field, 17-22 (.773) from the charity stripe and out rebounded the Spartans, 48-38. The Cowgirls had 22 assists off 32 baskets, 23 bench points and a season-high 48 points in the paint. The 89 points is the most scored since the 2014-15 season against UNLV on Feb. 28, 2015.

San Jose State was led by the league’s leading scorer senior Dezz Ramos with 29 points and three assists. She was 10-24 from the field and 6-9 from beyond the arc. Seniors Paris Baird and Jasmine Smith each added six points while Smith recorded a team-high seven rebounds. The Spartans shot 22-66 (.333) from the field and 9-24 (.333) from beyond the arc.

The two teams exchanged baskets in the first minutes of the third quarter and then the Cowgirls rattled off 11 of 13 points to increase the lead to 62-41. A jumper by Baird would end a little scoreless stretch for San Jose State, but Wyoming would build it up to 23, 74-51, headed in to the final ten minutes. The Cowgirls shot 9-16 (.563) from the field and recording 14 points in the paint for the period. The Spartans scored the first seven points of the fourth to close the gap to 16, 74-58, which was as close as it would get. Wyoming outscored San Jose State 15-2 the remainder of the way to take the 89-60 victory.

Wyoming got off to a quick start taking an early 7-0 run to begin the game. A three by Ramos got the Spartans on the board, but the Cowgirls extended the advantage to ten, 17-7. An 8-2 run from the Spartans closed the gap to four, 19-15. Over the next four minute stretch, UW would build a 13-point lead, 36-23. Four points by Ramos closed the deficit to, 36-27, with 6:05 on the clock. The teams combined for 22 points the remainder of the half with the Cowgirls taking a 49-36 advantage in to the locker room.

Roberts recorded a double-double in the first half with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Baker and Cotton each added eight points. The Cowgirls shot 20-36 (.556) from the field and out rebounded San Jose State, 25-18. The Spartans were led by Ramos with 14 points while Smith finished with seven boards. SJSU shot 14-38 (.368) from the field and 5-12 (.417) from beyond the arc.

Wyoming closes out its week on Saturday afternoon against the New Mexico Lobos. Tip-off will be at 2 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium.