From the desk of Sean O’Sullivan
LARAMIE -- Each Friday leading up to the exhibition game against Western State, the Cowgirl coaching staff will share their favorite memories, both on- and off-the-court, from the 2017-18 season. This week features the Cowgirls attending the Leadership Choice retreat.
“We decided to challenge a veteran team, and the Leadership Choice program was the answer,” veteran head coach Joe Legerski said. “Each and every player had the opportunity to step up and lead the group. We left the program knowing there are no shortcuts to success. A commitment to ‘Touch All the Lines’ was our goal.”
Prior to the start of the 2017-18 season, the Cowgirls were set to return an all-Mountain West performer in Liv Roberts, the league’s Sixth Player of the Year in Marta Gomez and the Mountain West Coach of the Year in Legerski. It was a veteran team that brought back nearly 87 percent of it scoring from a 22-win season. The Cowgirls had four starters and 12 letterwinners returning to the court, and the time was right to take that extra step to bring the team closer.
So, the team and coaches set out for the Leadership Choice retreat, where they would bond over trust exercises, learn more about each other and have a chance for everyone to be a leader.
Through exercise like the A-frame, rope walk and leap of faith, the Cowgirls improved their team chemistry and build the trust that would help them record another 20-win season, tie the school record for conference wins in a season with 13 and have three Cowgirls earn post-season honors. Roberts became the league’s Player of the Year, Gomez won the Sixth Player of the Year award for the second season in a row and Bailee Cotton was named to the league’s All-Defensive team. Additionally, Legerski was named the league’s Coach of the Year for the third time in his career and the second season in a row.
It’s safe to say the leadership retreat went a long way to help build the team up to the level they reached last season. The trust developed off the court showed during the year, as even though Roberts scored less than the season before, she had a more impactful campaign helping more teammates get involved. The team chemistry helped as players like Gomez knew their roles, and Cotton led the team in steals on the defensive end through strong communication on the floor
The tone for another 20-win season was set early at the leadership retreat. The team bonding during the offseason helped the Cowgirls record another successful season in 2017-18.
The Cowgirls return to the court in an exhibition game against Western State on Friday, Nov. 2. The game is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.