Cowgirls Look to Cap Perfect Home Stand Against South Dakota State on Thursday

Sports News December 20, 2018



Cowgirls Look to Cap Perfect Home Stand Against South Dakota State on Thursday

LARAMIE, Wyo. (December 18, 2018) – The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team will look to cap a perfect four-game home stand when it welcomes (RV) South Dakota State to the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowgirls have won all five games at home this year, including the first three of their season-long streak of four home games.

The game will be broadcast live on the Mountain West Network and on Stadium, 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 6-2 this season and a perfect 5-0 at home following a 64-61 win over Idaho on Dec. 8. The Cowgirls are led offensively by senior forward Marta Gomez who averages 15.8 points per game while shooting among the nation’s best from three-point range, 51.1 percent (23-of-45). Senior forward Bailee Cotton averages 11.3 points per contest and pulls down a team best 8.1 rebounds per game. Cotton has also taken a team-leading seven charges this season. Junior Taylor Rusk is scoring 9.5 points per contest while adding 24 assists and only nine turnovers. Senior guard Clara Tapia is in control of the Cowgirl offense, averaging a team-best 3.7 assists per game and leading the Mountain West with a 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio. Defensively, freshman guard Karla Erjavec has recorded 15 steals this season, while Cotton, Gomez and freshman Tereza Vitulova have four blocks each.

Offensively, the Cowgirls are shooting at a 46.1 percent (219-of-475) clip from the field while shooting 43.3 percent (71-of-164) from three and 75.7 percent (78-of-103) from the free throw line to average 73.4 points per game. The Cowgirls average 15.8 assists and just 11.1 turnovers per game. Opponents are shooting 42.0 percent (180-of-429) from the field, 37.1 percent (46-of-124) from three and 68.8 percent (66-of-96) from the free throw line to average 59.0 points per game. Cowgirl foes average 10.9 assists and 17.3 turnovers per game.

Head coach Joe Legerski is in his 16th year at the helm of the Cowgirls, and he has compiled a 295-179 record as Wyoming’s head coach. He is the winningest coach in program history.

The Jackrabbits own a 7-4 record in the season, but play at Montana State Tuesday evening before facing Wyoming on Thursday. South Dakota State is receiving votes in both the AP and Coaches’ polls, as SDSU has wins over Green Bay and then-No. 21 Drake, while playing then-No. 4 Baylor to a six-point loss and then No. 7 Oregon to an eight-point loss. The Jackrabbits are led by Macy Miller, as the reigning Summit League Player of the Year averages 17.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, to go along with a team-leading 16 steals. Madison Guebert adds 13.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, while Myah Selland chips in 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and a team-leading 4.0 assists per contest. Tagyn Larson leads the way in the paint with 6.1 rebounds per game and 1.0 blocks per contest.

Offensively, the Jackrabbits are shooting 45.6 percent (302-of-663) from the field, 35.4 percent (81-of-229) from three-point range and 74.1 percent (126-of-170) from the free throw line to average 73.7 points per game. South Dakota State averages 16.9 assists and 14.0 turnovers each time out on the floor. Defensively, opponents are shooting 38.7 percent (250-of-646) from the field, 32.6 percent (87-of-267) from three and 73.7 percent (126-of-171) from the charity stripe to average 64.8 points per game. Opponents average 12.4 assists and 13.2 turnovers per game against the Jackrabbits.

Head coach Aaron Johnston is 448-153 during his 19 years at the helm of South Dakota State and has won four Summit League Coach of the Year honors.

The Cowgirls and Jackrabbits last met on the hardwood in the quarterfinals of Wyoming’s magical run in the 2007 WNIT. The Cowgirls picked up the 70-59 win in front of a then-record crowd of 11,253 fans in the Arena-Auditorium. Prior to that, the teams met in Laramie during the 1978-79 season, and again in the 1979-80 season in Brookings, S.D., with the home teams winning both games.

The Cowgirls will begin Mountain West play when they travel to face Boise State on Wednesday, Jan. 2. Tip-off in Taco Bell Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MT).

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