Cowgirls Hoops Headed West for Friday Matchup with St. Mary's
From the desk of Sean O’Sullivan
The Cowgirls will travel to Moraga, Calif., for their first road game of the season when they face Saint Mary's on Friday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. (MT). Last season the Cowgirls were 8-5 in true road games, including a 2-2 road record during the non-conference portion of the season.
A LOOK AT THE COWGIRLS
In their season-opening 80-33 win against Chadron State, 12 different Cowgirls saw time on the floor, and only one, freshman Quinn Weidemann, played more than 20 minutes. Freshman Tereza Vitulova led the Cowgirls with 14 points and four rebounds off the bench, while fellow freshman Alba Sanchez Ramos scored 12 points and had a steal and a block on the defensive end.
Veteran seniors Marta Gomez and Bailee Cotton each chipped in 11 points, with starting point guard Clara Tapia directing the offense with five assists. Freshman Karla Erjavec recorded seven points and six steals in her Cowgirl debut, a game she also started.
The Cowgirls shot 39.4 percent (28-of-71) from the field, 34.5 percent (10-of-29) from three-point range and 77.8 percent (14-of-18) from the free throw line. Wyoming had 18 assists to only 10 turnovers, and recorded 18 steals, which is tied for the ninth-most steals in a game in program history.
Wyoming returns three starters from last year's team that put up a 22-11 record while going 13-5 in Mountain West play. The 13 conference wins ties a school record, while the Cowgirls put up back-to-back 20+ win seasons for the fifth time under head coach Joe Legerski. Junior Taylor Rusk is the top returning scorer, as she averaged 10.1 points per game last season. Senior Marta Gomez scored 8.5 points per game off the bench, and was named the Mountain West's Sixth Player of the Year for the second season in a row. Cotton led the way defensively for the Cowgirls, bringing down 6.2 rebounds per game and collecting 1.2 steals per game. For her efforts, she was named to the Mountain West's All-Defensive team. Tapia led the Mountain West with a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio and directed the Cowgirl offense by averaging 4.3 assists per game.
As a team, the Cowgirls shot .420 (710-of-1689) from the field, a Mountain West-leading .376 (236-of-628) from three-point range and a MW-leading .766 (374-of-488) from the free throw line to average 61.5 points per game. Defensively, UW held opponents to just 57.2 points per game on .398 (711-of-1787) shooting. The Cowgirls collected 33.4 rebounds per game and averaged 14.0 assists to 12.9 turnovers per game.
Head coach Joe Legerski is 289-177 overall at Wyoming and is entering his 16th year at the helm of the Cowgirls.
SCOUTING SAINT MARY'S
Saint Mary's returns four starters and 12 letter winners from last year's squad that went 20-11 overall and 13-5 in the West Coast Conference. The Gaels are led by a pair of veterans who earned all-WCC honors a year ago in Megan McKay (first-team all-WCC) and Sydney Raggio (second-team all-WCC). McKay averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 60.3 percent from the field. Raggio recorded 14.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while shooting at a 53.2 percent clip from the field. Jasmine Forcadilla led the team with 104 assists on the season a year ago.
Offensively, the Gaels shot 47.8 percent (824-of-1724) from the field, 32.1 percent (144-of-448) fromm three and 67.4 percent (425-631) from the free throw line to average 71.5 points per game. Defensively, opponents scored 66.3 points per game on 39.3 percent (741-of-1886) shooting from the field and 32.4 percent (202-of-623) shooting from three-point range. The Gaels forced 13.3 turnovers per game and averaged 15.8 assists per contest.
Head coach Paul Thomas is in his 13th season at the helm of Saint Mary's and owns a 255-158 record with the Gaels.
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST SAINT MARY'S
The Cowgirls and Gaels have only met on the hardwood twice in the past, with both teams winning on the road. In 1986, the Cowgirls picked up a 76-47 win in Moraga, Calif., but just three years ago, the Gaels earned a 70-64 win in Laramie.
The Cowgirls return home to face UCCS on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Tip-off in the Arena-Auditorium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.