Cowgirls Fall in Shootout on the Road to Saint Mary’s, 90-84
MORAGA, CA. – The Cowgirls drained 15 three pointers, the third-most in a game in school history, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with Saint Mary’s as the Gaels picked up the 90-84 win in their season-opening game. Saint Mary’s shot 68.0 percent (34-of-50) from the field to overtake the Cowgirls strong outside shooting.
“This was a great ball game,” said head coach Joe Legerski. “Both teams have a lot of weapons to be able to score, and both teams stepped up to score. I was very pleased with how we responded. For us to be able to put the ball on the floor, attack people, make the next pass and more importantly, I thought we stepped up and shot the ball extremely well. When you look that Karla was 3-of-7 from three, Marta was 5-of-9 and Quinn was 6-of-7, that’s two freshman out there that the moment wasn’t too big for them.”
The Cowgirls were led by senior Marta Gomez, who scored 23 points and pulled down three rebounds. It was the third game in her career with at least 20 points. Freshman Quinn Weidemann scored 20 points on just nine field goal attempts, as she drained six three pointers. Junior Taylor Rusk had a strong all-around game with 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Freshman Karla Erjavec and senior Rachelle Tucker both reached double-digit scoring with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
“The difference came when it was tied up with five minutes to go,” Legerski said. “Two things stick out. We turn the ball over down towards the end in the last five minutes, which is losing opportunities, and then we didn’t do a good job on the free throw line checking out, which gave them a couple extra opportunities that way. All in all, I was very pleased with the effort we had.”
Wyoming shot 50.0 percent (32-of-64) from the field, 55.6 percent (15-of-27) from three and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line. The Cowgirls had 19 assists to 11 turnovers while collecting five steals. The Gaels shot 68.0 percent (34-of-50) from the field, 50.0 percent (8-of-16) from three and 60.9 percent (14-of-23) from the free throw line. Saint Mary’s had 22 assists to 17 turnovers.
The Cowgirls hit a pair of threes to open the game, one by Erjavec and one by Gomez. Saint Mary’s, on the other hand, focused on scoring down low early. Cotton and Gomez each scored a layup, and the Cowgirls took a 10-9 lead into the first media timeout. Then, Gomez caught fire and scored Wyoming’s next eight points with a mid-range jumper and a pair of treys. Gomez ended the first quarter with 13 of the Cowgirl’s 18 points. The teams were tied at 18 to end the first frame.
It was the Tucker and Weidemann show early in the second quarter as Tucker scored four points early, and a Weidemann three brought Wyoming within one, 26-25. Tucker scored four more points, and Weidemann hit a three ball to extend Wyoming’s lead to 32-27 midway through the second frame. The teams traded baskets, and with 3:08 left in the half, Saint Mary’s had a 35-34 lead. Weidemann broke a 13-0 Saint Mary’s run with a pair of free throws late in the half, making the score 43-36. Then, Gomez hit a three at the buzzer to bring the halftime score to 45-41 for Saint Mary’s.
Wyoming scored on its first three possessions of the half as Erjavec buried a free throw line jumper, Gomez hit a three and Rusk nailed a corner trey. Gomez scored a layup to put her at 21 points on the night as the Cowgirls moved back to within one point, trailing 56-55. The teams traded baskets, and after a Rusk fast break layup, the Cowgirls trailed 64-63. Weidemann made a corner three after a Gael layup, then the two teams traded baskets with under 10 seconds left in the quarter. After three, the game was tied at 68 all.
Wyoming opened the fourth quarter strongly with an 8-0 run. Weidemann started it off with a corner three, and Cotton hit a shot-clock-beating layup before another Weidemann three extended Wyoming’s quarter-opening run to 8-0. After a Saint Mary’s bucket, Weidemann hit the 20-point mark on a corner three in front of the Cowgirl bench, as Wyoming went up 79-72. Tucker converted an and-one play to give Wyoming an 82-76 lead midway through the frame. The Gaels tied it up with a quick 6-0 run aided by three Cowgirl turnovers. Later, Saint Mary’s converted off an offensive rebound from a free throw, and took an 88-84 lead on the strength of a 12-2 run. The Gaels added a pair of free throws to make the final score 90-84.
The Cowgirls return home on Tuesday, Nov. 13, to face UCCS in the Arena-Auditorium. Tip-off is slated for 6:30 p.m.