LARAMIE– Despite outscoring Montana State in the final two quarters, the Wyoming basketball team (4-3 overall) fell short in its comeback with a four-point loss, 50-46, against the Bobcats (4-2 overall) on Wednesday morning.
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Legerski: “Mentally We Need to be Ready from the Start”
“I applaud the team’s effort, but I told them at the end of the game we can’t keep digging ourselves in to that hole to keep fighting out of it. It requires too much energy,” head coach Joe Legerski said.
“In the second quarter, Montana State got on a roll and it seemed everything they put up went in. We missed tough shots, easy shots, really all the shots in that quarter. Mentally we need to be ready from the start. This is a concern with it being the second game in a row.
“We may need to look at shuffling the line-up to get different combinations, but we’ve got to do something.”
Cotton Led UW with 11 Points
Junior Bailee Cotton led the way with 11 points along with five rebounds in 32 minutes of action. She was followed by junior Marta Gomez with ten points and five rebounds, while senior Liv Roberts had eight points and seven boards.
Junior Sladjana Rakovic had a game-high and career-high 11 rebounds in 25 minutes of action. Wyoming shot 18-of-54 (.333) from the field and out rebounded the Bobcats 37-35.
Legerski: Need Right Combinations on the Court
“Sladjana (Rakovic) played very well today and that’s why her minutes went up,” he added. “We need to keep getting her on the court, especially when she’s grabbing 11 rebounds.
“That’s some tough play in 25 minutes. Marta (Gomez) played well off the bench with ten points and five rebounds, then Bailee (Cotton) with 11 points and five rebounds. That was a big lift for us. We need to make sure we have the right combinations on the floor.”
Caudill Led Montana State with 17 Points
Montana State was led by senior Hannah Caudill with a game-high 17 points and three assists. Fellow senior Delany Junkermier added nine points, while sophomore Blaire Braxton brought down nine boards.
The Bobcats were 19-of-50 (.380) from the field and 6-of-18 (.333) beyond the arc.
Second Half Recap
Out of the halftime break, sophomore Taylor Rusk hit a shot early to cut the lead to 13, 31-18. After a basket by MSU, the Cowgirls would score seven unanswered to close the deficit to eight, 33-25.
Senior Rebekah Hatchard completed a three-point play to end a five minute scoring drought for the Bobcats. A late bucket by Gomez made it 36-27 headed in to the fourth. Wyoming continued to battle back and started the quarter on a 9-4 run to pull within four, 40-36, with 5:57 on the clock.
A basket by Braxton on the next possession made it a six point game, 42-36, but it was met by two straight Cowgirl field goals to pull them to within two, 42-40. The Bobcats scored four straight to get some breathing room, 46-40.
Three’s by Gomez and Rusk and one of two free throws by MSU closed it to a one point game, 47-46, with 14 seconds in the game. Unfortunately, Wyoming couldn’t make enough shots at the end and the Bobcats hit free throws to seal the 50-46 victory.
Montana State Led Game 31-16 at Half
The two teams traded baskets in the early part of the game. Two Rusk free throws gave the Cowgirls their first lead 6-4, but the Bobcats went on a 7-0 run to extend the lead to five, 11-6.
A three-point field goal by Gomez would end an almost six minute scoring drought for UW followed by a field goal late in the quarter tied it up at 11 after one.
Montana State came out on fire in the second period as they scored 18 unanswered to extend the lead to double-figures, 29-11, which included five three-point field goals.
Roberts would score the only field goal for the Cowgirls with a jumper at the 2:11 mark followed by a couple of free throws by Cotton. MSU would take a 15-point lead, 31-16, headed in to the locker room.
First Half Recap
In the first half, Wyoming was led by Cotton with seven points along with three rebounds. She was followed by Gomez with three points and several others with two. Rakovic led the way with six rebounds. The Cowgirls shot 5-of-21 (.238) from the field but out rebounded MSU, 18-14.
The Bobcats were led by Caudill with 12 points followed by sophomore Madeline Smith with six points and four rebounds. Montana State was 12-of-27 (.444) from the field and 6-of-15 (.400) from beyond the arc.
Wyoming will return home on Sunday as it hosts the Idaho State Bengals. The game is set for 1:00 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium.