Wyoming Cowgirls blast Utah State, reach MWC Tournament semis

(UW Athletics release)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The third-seeded Wyoming Cowgirls (21-7, 13-5 MW) topped sixth-seeded Utah State Monday night, 64-41, in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament.

Wednesday, they’ll take on seventh-seeded San Diego State (14-17, 7-11) at 8:30 p.m. (PT). It is the seventh trip to the semifinals for the Cowgirls, and they’ve made it to this game in back-to-back seasons. The Aztecs knocked off No. 2 New Mexico in overtime last night.

The game will be broadcast live on the Mountain West Network, 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 entering the tournament as the No. 3 seed and are 21-7 this season and 13-5 in the Mountain West coming off a 64-41 win in the quarterfinals over sixth-seeded Utah State. The Cowgirls are led offensively by senior forward Marta Gomez who averages 15.7 points per game while adding 4.8 rebounds per contest. Senior forward Bailee Cotton averages nearly a double-double with 11.5 points per contest and pulling down a team best 8.8 rebounds per game. Cotton has also taken a team-leading 17 charges this season. Junior Taylor Rusk is scoring 9.4 points per contest while adding 91 assists and only 32 turnovers, the 14th-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the country. Freshman guard Karla Erjavec leads the team in the assist department with 107 on the year. Defensively, Erjavec has recorded 27 steals this season, while Cotton has 26 blocks and 40 steals.

Offensively, the Cowgirls are shooting at a 45.8 percent (710-of-1,549) clip from the field while shooting 39.3 percent (199-of-506) from three and 76.5 percent (290-of-379) from the free throw line to average 68.2 points per game. The Cowgirls average 16.0 assists and just 11.6 turnovers per game. Opponents are shooting 40.7 percent (609-of-1,495) from the field, 30.5 percent (119-of-390) from three and 67.9 percent (228-of-336) from the free throw line to average 55.9 points per game. Cowgirl foes average 9.5 assists and 14.1 turnovers per game.

Head coach Joe Legerski is in his 16th year at the helm of the Cowgirls, and he has compiled a 310-184 record as Wyoming’s head coach. He is the winningest coach in program history.

The Aztecs are 14-17 overall and 7-11 in Mountain West play this season. They entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed and have victories over Air Force and second-seeded New Mexico. San Diego State is led by Sophia Ramos, who leads the team in points (13.9) and assists (4.6). Naje Murray adds 13.6 points and 4.3 rebounds, Mallory Adams averages 12.1 points and 9.1 rebounds and Tea Adams scores 10.2 points and collects 3.4 rebounds per game, as SDSU has four double-digit scorers. Naje Murray records 2.0 steals per game, while Zayn Dornstauder averages 1.2 blocks per game.

The Aztecs are shooting 40.1 percent (721-of-1,799) from the field, 34.7 percent (164-of-473) from three and 69.1 percent (403-of-583) from the free throw line to average 64.8 points per game. San Diego State averages 12.8 assists and 16.0 turnovers per game. Aztec foes are shooting 39.8 percent (749-of-1,882) from the field, 31.7 percent (204-of-644) from three and 72.8 percent (381-of-523) from the free throw line to average 67.2 points per game. Opponents average 15.4 assists and 13.9 turnovers per game.

Head coach Stacie Terry is 59-93 in six seasons at San Diego State, her only stop as a Division I head coach.

The Cowgirls and Aztecs have met on the hardwood 57 times, and the hold a narrow edge, 29-28. San Diego State has won four of the last seven and 10 of the last 15 games. The last time the two teams met in the MW Tournament was a 62-44 Aztec win in 2016. The first game in the series was played in 1991 when both teams were members of the WAC.

The Cowgirls will either continue their run in the Mountain West Tournament, or wait to see if they are selected for post-season play.

Scott Breen

Scott Breen

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