From the desk of Sean O'Sullivan
LARAMIE – The Cowgirls (3-2) return home this week to face the Montana State on Tuesday, Nov. 27, the game in a stretch of four in a row at the Dome of Doom. Tip-off is slated for 6:30 p.m. (MT).
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.
A LOOK AT THE COWGIRLS
Senior forward Marta Gomez is leading the way offensively for the Cowgirls, averaging 14.8 points per game to go along with a Mountain West-leading 3.6 made three-pointers per contest. Freshman Quinn Weidemann is shooting 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from deep while chipping in 7.2 points per game. Junior Taylor Rusk is scoring 9.2 points per contest on 50.0 percent (18-of-36) shooting from the field. Senior guard Clara Tapia is directing the offense with 3.6 assists per game, and recorded her 300th career assist in the game against North Texas. Senior forward Bailee Cotton is scoring 10.4 points per game and grabbing 6.6 rebounds per contest.
Wyoming returns three starters from last year's team that put up a 22-11 record while going 13-5 in Mountain West play. The 13 conference wins ties a school record, while the Cowgirls put up back-to-back 20+ win seasons for the fifth time under head coach Joe Legerski. Junior Taylor Rusk is the top returning scorer, as she averaged 10.1 points per game last season. Senior Marta Gomez scored 8.5 points per game off the bench, and was named the Mountain West's Sixth Player of the Year for the second season in a row. Cotton led the way defensively for the Cowgirls, bringing down 6.2 rebounds per game and collecting 1.2 steals per game. For her efforts, she was named to the Mountain West's All-Defensive team. Tapia led the Mountain West with a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio and directed the Cowgirl offense by averaging 4.3 assists per game.
The Cowgirls are shooting 47.5 percent (140-of-295) from the field, 43.5 percent (50-of-115) from three point range and 77.8 percent (49-of-63) from the free throw line to average 75.8 points per game. The Cowgirls are holding opponents to 40.1 percent (105-of-262) shooting from the field, 29.4 percent (20-of-68) from three and just 55.8 points per game. The Cowgirls average 17.0 assists and only 11.6 turnovers per game while forcing 18.4 turnovers from their opponents per game.
Head coach Joe Legerski is 292-179 overall at Wyoming and is in his 16th year at the helm of the Cowgirls.
SCOUTING MONTANA STATE
The Bobcats are 3-1 on the season with wins against Carroll College, Delaware and North Texas, while suffering a lost against Marquette. Montana State is led offensively by Clair Lundberg, who averages 22.3 points per game while shooting an efficient 60.0 percent (30-of-50) from the field. Martha Kuderer and Oliana Squires both average double-digit scoring, chipping in 12.0 and 10.8 points per game, respectively. On the glass, Kuderer pulls down 6.8 rebounds per contest, while Blaire Braxton averages 6.5 boards per contest. The Bobcats have three players with nine assists through four games, and Tori Martell averages 2.0 steals per contest.
Offensively, the Bobcats are shooting 39.5 percent (87-of-220) from the field, 27.0 percent (27-of-100) from three-point range and 69.9 percent (51-of-73) from the free throw line to average 63.0 points per game. Montana State has 51 assists to 79 turnovers. Defensively, opponents are shooting 41.5 percent (103-of-248) from the field and 32.5 percent (34-of-54) from three to average 66.8 points per game. Bobcat opponents have 56 assists to 69 turnovers.
Head coach Tricia Binford is in her 15th season at Montana State and owns a 215-182 record at the helm of the Bobcats.
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST MONTANA STATE
The Cowgirls and Bobcats have met 20 times on the hardwood with the Bobcats holding a 12-8 advantage all time. But, the Cowgirls have won four of the last six matchups. In 1999, the Cowgirls made 30 free throws, tied for the fifth-most in a game in school history. The Bobcats won five games in a row between 1987 and 1995, and the Cowgirls won three in a row from 2003 to 20013.
The Cowgirls host Denver on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Tip-off in the Arena-Auditorium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.