Cowgirls Season Ends With WNIT Loss to Cal Davis
The Wyoming basketball team (23-10 overall, 13-5 MW) had its season ended with a 74-64 loss in the Second Round of the WNIT against the UC Davis Aggies (27-6 overall, 14-2 Big West) at the AA on Sunday afternoon.
“I thought in today’s game it was about two teams who are used to executing offensively on a high level,” head coach Joe Legerski said. “UC Davis really put a lot of pressure on us because they can score from every spot on the floor. They are tremendous from the outside and have the post player that can score, take care of the angles and is very active.
"We had some missed opportunities on the offensive end, specifically in the first half when we had some people open and came up empty in too many possessions. The game played out like we thought it would. You have to take chances on either doubling the post and give up three-point shooters or if you want to play on the perimeter and have the post one on one. It didn’t help to have Bailee (Cotton) get in foul trouble. I thought we had some chances and this team played the whole 40 minutes.”
Senior Liv Roberts finished up her career with 23 points, two assists and two steals in 35 minutes on the day. Fellow senior Natalie Baker followed with ten points and five rebounds, while junior Sladjana Rakovic added eight points. The Cowgirls shot 21-of-55 (.382) from the field and 13-of-14 (.929) from the charity stripe.
“Liv (Roberts) was special again like she has been throughout her whole career. She was able to step up with 23 points, played 35 minutes and I know she was exhausted. She was the one to give us an opportunity to stay in the ball game.”
The Aggies were led by redshirt junior Morgan Bertsch with a game-high 26 points and three assists. Senior Rachel Nagel followed with 14 points, while fellow senior Pele Gianotti chipped in 12 points and six boards. UC Davis shot 28-of-48 (.583) from the field, 11-of-11 (1.00) from the charity stripe and out rebounded the Cowgirls 31-23.
UC Davis got in the scoring column first, but the Cowgirls responded with five straight to go up 5-2. The Aggies went on an 11-0 run to give them an eight-point advantage, 13-5. Roberts hit a three to end a three-minute scoreless stretch for UW and they would score the next five of eight to close the gap to 16-10 through the first media timeout.
After a basket by Bertsch, the Cowgirls answered with a 13-2 run to regain a 23-20 advantage early in the second quarter. UC Davis came back with 11 of 12 to give the lead back to the Aggies, 31-24. Wyoming cut the deficit to three, 36-33, but UC Davis hit a shot late in the quarter to take a 38-33 lead in to the locker room.
Roberts led all Cowgirl scorers with 12 in the first half. She was followed by Baker with seven and three rebounds. Wyoming shot 10-of-26 (.385) from the field, including 3-of-12 (.286) in the second quarter, and 6-of-12 (.500) from three. UC Davis was led by Bertsch with 14 points, while Nagel chipped in seven. The Aggies shot 16-of-26 (.615) from the field and out rebounded UW 15-11.
With a 7-3 run out of the break, the Aggies increased the lead to nine, 45-36. Wyoming scored five straight to pull within four, 45-41, but UC Davis responded with seven to go ahead by double-digits, 52-41. Out of a Cowgirl timeout, Tapia hit a basket to end a four minute scoreless stretch for UW and started a small run to close the gap to eight, 54-46.
The Aggies scored eight of the next 11 points to increase the lead to double-figures, 62-49, early in the fourth. With the score 66-51 in favor of UCD, Wyoming made a push and scored 11 of the next 15 points to cut the deficit to eight, 70-62. Unfortunately, that would be as close as it would get.