Cowgirls Host NM State in WNIT Thursday
LARAMIE, Wyo. – Joe Legerski has taken the Wyoming Cowgirls to their eighth post-sesaon tournament in his 15 years as the head coach. The Cowgirls, looking to retain the WNIT title they won in 2007, will open the 2018 Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Thursday against the New Mexico State Aggies.
Game time is set for a 6:30 p.m. MT tip at the Arena-Auditorium. Live stats, video and audio can be found on the GoWyo.com website.
The Cowgirls were 21-10 during the 2017-18 season, including 13-5 in the MW to place third in the league. The 13-victories tied for the most conference wins in program history and it was the ninth time 20-plus win season under Legerski.
Three members of the team were recently recognized as the Mountain West announced the 2018 All-Conference Team, while Legerski was selected the 2018 Coach of the Year by his peers. Senior Liv Roberts was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and to the All-MW Team while junior Marta Gomez was selected as the Sixth Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Junior Bailee Cotton earned a spot on the league’s All-Defensive Team.
Last season, the Cowgirls defeated Seattle, 68-52, in the first round of the WNIT before falling in overtime 68-67 to Washington State. Prior to that, the team advanced to the Second Round in 2006, won the 2007 WNIT title, moved in to the Third Round in 2010 and 2011 and First Round play in 2013. Wyoming also earned the schools’ first-ever bid to the NCAA Women’s Tournament in 2008.
Roberts is averaging a team-high 13.7 points plus 6.0 rebounds per contest, which ranks 12th and 14th in overall games, respectively in the MW. She is followed Rusk who is adding 10.0 points and 2.9 assists, while junior Bailee Cotton is chipping in 8.3 points and a team-high 6.2 boards per game. UW is shooting 666-of-1593 (.418) from the field and 221-589 (.375) from beyond the arc. The Cowgirls are also outscoring opponents 61.3 -56.6 and out rebounding teams 33.7-31.6.
New Mexico State is 18-12 overall and finished first in the WAC with an 11-3 mark. Last time out, the Aggies dropped an 84-61 contest against Seattle U in the semifinals of the tournament. Junior Brooke Salas is averaging a team-high 19.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Sophomore Gia Pack follows with 15.9 points and 7.7 boards. As a squad, the Aggies are shooting 761of-1782 (.427), averaging 67.2 points and 36.1 rebounds per contest.
This will be the 23rd meeting ever between the two schools. New Mexico State leads the series 14-8. The last time the two met March 1, 1990. The Cowgirls defeated the Aggies 69-64. NMSU is coached by Brooke Atkinson who is in her first season with the program.