Wyoming Cowboys, Cowgirls to face UNLV Tuesday, Wednesday

(Story by UW Athletics)

LARAMIE, Wyo. – Wyoming’s basketball men close out their two-game homestand on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium against UNLV. The Runnin’ Rebels took the first meeting on Jan. 5 in the Thomas & Mack Center, 68-56. It is UNLV’s first trip to Laramie since Jan. 25, 2017.

Tickets are available to Tuesday’s game by: going online at GoWyo.com/tickets, emailing tickets@uwyo.edu, calling 307-766-7220 or stopping by the UW Athletics Ticket Office on the west side of the Arena-Auditorium. A special offer for Tuesday’s contest features lower bowl $15 tickets for adults and $7 tickets for children ages 3-12.

The contest will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Fans can listen and follow love stats on GoWyo.com. The game will be broadcast live on radio over the 25 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Dave Walsh and Kevin McKinney will call the action.

Wyoming heads into Tuesday’s game with a 6-19 overall record and a 2-10 mark in Mountain West play. Wyoming fell to No. 6/7 Nevada at home on Saturday by a score of 82-49. Wyoming was held to a season-low 49 points and shot a season-low 30 percent from the field.

The Pokes hit six three pointers against the Wolf Pack, but headed into the game averaging 12 three pointers per game over their last three contest. Wyoming is still averaging 10.5 triples over the last four games, which is nearly three triples more per game than the season average of 7.6.

The Runnin’ Rebels are 14-11 overall on the season and 8-5 in the conference. UNLV defeated San Jose State on the road 71-64 on Saturday, as UNLV has won three of their last four games and sit in fifth place in the league.

UNLV averages 38.7 rebounds per game to rank second in the MW. The Runnin’ Rebels attack the offensive glass recording 13.8 offensive boards per game to lead the conference. UNLV is shooting 43 percent from the field and 34 percent from behind the three-point line.

Wyoming is led in scoring, rebounding and assists by senior guard Justin James. He leads the MW in scoring at 20.7 points per game, which ranks No. 35 in the nation. He grabs 8.4 rebounds per game for fifth in the MW and adds 4.4 assists per game for fourth in the league. He also leads the MW in steals at 1.6 per game and has 41 on the season.

Junior guard Jake Hendricks adds 11.0 points per game and leads the Pokes with 47 three pointers on the year. He has made 13 over the last four game, as he returned from injury that saw him miss 10 games. Redshirt freshman Hunter Thompson adds 10.2 points per game and is shooting 47 percent from the field.

The Runnin’ Rebels are led in scoring by Amauri Hardy at 13.2 points per game. He adds 3.6 assists per game and 2.4 rebounds. Kris Clyburn adds 13.1 points per game and 5.5 rebounds. Noah Robotham is second in the MW adding 5.0 assists per game. He also leads the team with 42 triples on the year.

The Cowboys are 18-39 all-time against UNLV and are 15-9 in Laramie. After a strong first half that saw the Cowboys shoot 50 percent from the field and outrebound one of the nation’s top teams, the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV rallied past the Pokes 68-56 inside the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Jan. 5.

Wyoming hits the road this weekend heading to Colorado State for another High Noon showdown with the Rams on AT&T SportsNet.

The Cowgirls (16-5, 9-3 MW) have won seven games in a row against Mountain West foes, tying the program record. A win on Wednesday against UNLV (9-15, 7-6 MW) would set a new benchmark with eight-consecutive victories in Mountain West play. However, the Lady Rebels are 5-1 at home in league play, and have won a pair of games in a row, themselves. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MT).

The game will be broadcast live on the Mountain West Network and on Stadium, and can be heard across the 25 stations of the Cowgirl Radio Network with Reece Monaco on play-by-play and Wyoming Hall of Famer Margie McDonald with color commentary.

The Cowgirls are 16-5 this season and 9-3 in the Mountain West coming off a 55-51 road win over Nevada, pushing their winning streak to seven games, the longest current winning streak in the Mountain West. The Cowgirls are led offensively by senior forward Marta Gomez who averages 15.5 points per game while adding 4.5 rebounds per contest. Senior forward Bailee Cotton averages nearly a double-double with 11.0 points per contest and pulling down a team best 8.9 rebounds per game. Cotton has also taken a team-leading 14 charges this season. Junior Taylor Rusk is scoring 10.1 points per contest while adding 73 assists and only 21 turnovers, the seventh-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the country. Freshman guard Karla Erjavec leads the team in the assist department with 83 on the year. Defensively, Erjavec has recorded 25 steals this season, while Cotton has 19 blocks.

Offensively, the Cowgirls are shooting at a 46.3 percent (543-of-1,173) clip from the field while shooting 40.9 percent (161-of-394) from three and 75.6 percent (220-of-291) from the free throw line to average 69.9 points per game. The Cowgirls average 16.0 assists and just 11.4 turnovers per game. Opponents are shooting 41.3 percent (468-of-1,134) from the field, 32.5 percent (99-of-305) from three and 69.5 percent (173-of-249) from the free throw line to average 57.5 points per game. Cowgirl foes average 9.6 assists and 14.3 turnovers per game.

Head coach Joe Legerski is in his 16th year at the helm of the Cowgirls, and he has compiled a 305-182 record as Wyoming’s head coach. He is the winningest coach in program history.

The Lady Rebels are 9-15 overall on the season with a 7-6 mark in Mountain West play following a 74-70 win against San José State. UNLV is led by Katie Powell, a member of the Preseason All-MW Team, who averages 14.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game and has made a team-high 29 three-pointers on the season. She also protects the paint with a team-leading 0.9 blocks per contest. Nikki Wheatley directs the offense with a team-leading 2.4 assist per game, while adding 11.8 points per contest. Rodjanae Wade pours in 8.5 points and adds 5.6 rebounds per game, while Latecia Smith is the top thief on UNLV, swiping 1.4 steals per game on the defensive end.

Offensively, the Lady Rebels shoot 38.8 percent (528-of-1,362) from the field, 28.0 percent (101-of-361) from three and 64.9 percent (296-of-456) from the free throw line to average 60.5 points per game. UNLV averages 9.7 assists and 17.3 turnovers per contest. Opponents are shooting 40.7 percent (537-of-1,320) from the field, 33.0 percent (149-of-452) from three and 66.3 percent (291-of-439) from the free throw line to average 63.1 points per contest. Lady Rebel foes average 13.3 assists and 17.3 turnovers each game.

Head coach Kathy Olivier is 165-173 in 11 years at the helm of UNLV. Overall, she has 26 years of coaching experience and has compiled a 398-381 record.

The Cowgirls and Rebels have both been a part of the Mountain West since its inception, but have also faced off before becoming conference foes. Overall, the series, which dates back to the 1979-80 season, is close with the Cowgirls holding a 24-23 advantage. However, Wyoming hasn’t beaten the Lady Rebels in Las Vegas since 2013, a 64-60 victory, and has lost the last three games in Sin City.

The Cowgirls will return home after a two-game road swing for the second edition of this season’s “Border War” against Colorado State on Saturday, Feb. 23 with tipoff at 2 p.m. (MT). This is the Cowgirls’ “Bounce Cancer” game.

Scott Breen

Scott Breen

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