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 a pair of Marta Gomez game-winning shots.
“It’s great knowing the coaches and the team have the confidence in me to take that last shot,” Gomez said. “That gives me confidence, so I just feel awesome about it.”
Winning road games in the Mountain West is never easy, and on Jan. 24 of last season, the Nevada Wolf Pack proved that thought correct during a tight game against the Cowgirls in Reno. This was a back-and-forth affair that featured nine ties and 14 lead changes. Wyoming’s largest lead was only four points, and Nevada’s was just six.
For the final three minutes of the fourth quarter, the game was either tied or within two points. That is until Gomez hit a clutch three-pointer with less than 10 seconds left.
Nevada had just tied the game with a bucket in the paint, and without calling a timeout, the Cowgirls ran the ball up the floor, remained calm and ran their offensive set.
Clara Tapia had the ball at the top of the three point line, and earned a switch with Bailee Cotton’s defender. In the ensuing confusion, Cotton set a screen for Gomez who was then free to run unchallenged to the three point line. Tapia delivered the ball and Gomez drained the shot with 9.9 seconds left on the clock. The Cowgirls defended Nevada’s last-ditch effort, and walked away with the victory.
Less than a month later, the Cowgirls found themselves down 14 points in the third quarter on the road against San José State. But a 9-0 run between the end of the third frame and the beginning of the fourth quarter brought UW back into the game. The Cowgirls finally tied the game with 0:20 remaining off a Cotton free throw.
The Spartans got a shot off with three seconds left, but missed and gave the Cowgirls 2.4 seconds to work with. Veteran head coach Joe Legerski used a timeout to advance the ball and drew up a game-winning play in the meantime.
During the inbounds play, the Cowgirls cleared the low block for Gomez, who took the pass from Liv Roberts and scored a right-handed hook shot to put the Brown and Gold up with 0.7 seconds remaining.
“The play in San José State was designed that way, and it worked out,” Gomez said. “The one in Nevada was kind of like ‘whatever happens, happens.’ We just ran the play, and I happened to be open, so I took the shot.”
Once again, the Cowgirls had one last play to defend, and Cotton disrupted the Spartans just enough so their final shot did not beat the buzzer, and Wyoming picked up another clutch road win in Mountain West play.