LARAMIE — With 16-point win on Saturday afternoon, the Wyoming women’s basketball team (15-3 overall, 7-0 MW) extended its winning to streak to nine and a program-best 7-0 start in conference with a 69-52 victory over the New Mexico Lobos (9-9, 5-3 MW) on Saturday afternoon. The nine-game winning streak is their longest since 12 in 2007-08 and ties the 1989-90 team who won nine in a row. It’s a season-best start through 18 games since the 2007-08 team which was 17-1.
Three Cowgirls finished the night in double-figures led by junior Natalie Baker who finished with a season-high 18 points along with six boards. Junior Liv Roberts recorded her third straight double-double with 14 points and a career-high 15 points followed by Hailey Ligocki with14 points and three assists. Freshman Taylor Rusk chipped in nine points and two assists in 25 minutes of action. The Cowgirls shot 24-54 (.444) from the field, 12-16 (.750) from the free-throw line and outrebounded the Lobos, 40-31. Wyoming recorded 16 assists on 24 baskets and recorded 20 points off the bench.
“I truly believe that the game of basketball is about matchups,” head coach Joe Legerski said. “New Mexico creates a number of problems for you, on the inside and perimeter so we had to juggle what we wanted to do offensively and to make sure when we changed worked for us defensively. I thought Natalie (Baker) and Marta (Gomez) did a tremendous job. We had to put two shooting four players in the game and ask them to guard 6-4 and 6-5 all night. I thought they stepped up and opened up so many lanes for Hailey (Ligocki) and Liv (Roberts). One of the other keys was the play of Taylor (Rusk), she stepped in as at the guard spot for us, played extended minutes, made play after play, seemed comfortable and you would never know she was a freshman. I would also like to tip my hat to our fans. The place rocked today. It was loud, they were behind us and helped us in the third quarter, which I think was a part of us turning the corner.”
New Mexico was led by junior Cherise Beynon who recorded 20 points and five rebounds in her 35 minutes of action. Senior Richelle van der Keijl followed with 14 points and five boards while sophomore Jaisa Nunn recorded a team-high seven rebounds. The Lobos shot 21-59 (.356) from the field and 4-24 (.167) from beyond the arc.
Both teams went several minutes without scoring out of the break until a three by Alex Lapeyrolerie gave the Lobos a six-point lead, 36-30. Free throws by Roberts ended the Wyoming scoring drought and it was until the 4:48 mark that Roberts hit a three which would start an 8-0 run help the Cowgirls go up by two, 40-38. After van der Keijl hit one of two free throws, UW scored seven straight to increase the lead to seven, 46-39. New Mexico continued to battle back and went on a 9-4 run to cut the deficit to two, 50-48, with 6:41 to go. The Cowgirls responded and rattled off 14 unanswered to pull ahead by double-figures, 64-48. New Mexico scored just four points down the stretch as Wyoming would earn the 16-point win, 68-52.
New Mexico opened up an early 5-0 lead to begin the game. Roberts and Campbell hit back to back three point shots to give UW its first lead, 6-5. The teams traded scores until an 11-5 run by the Lobos opened up a five-point advantage, 18-13, after ten minutes. Two straight baskets to begin the quarter tied it up at 18 and Wyoming would score 10 of the next 15 to take a five-point lead, 28-23. UNM answered right back with six straight to pull back ahead by one, 29-28. The teams combined for six points down the stretch with New Mexico taking a 33-30 lead headed to the locker room.
Roberts led the Cowgirls in scoring with eight along with five rebounds. Ligocki followed with seven points. UW shot 12-29 (.414) from the field and outrebounded the Lobos 23-15. New Mexico was led by Beynon with 18 points and four boards. The Lobos were 14-34 (.412) from the field.
Wyoming returns to action next week to begin a two-game road swing. The Cowgirls will take on the UNLV Lady Rebels on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. MT tip-time in Las Vegas followed by a match-up with the Boise State Broncos on Saturday in Boise. The tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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