(Laramie, Wyoming) — The Wyoming women’s basketball team (22-10 overall, 13-5 MW) had its season ended in the second round of the WNIT with a tough 68-67 overtime loss against the Washington State Cougars (14-19, 6-12 Pac-12) on Saturday afternoon.
After being tied at 64-64 at the end of regulation, it was tough going for both teams early in the overtime. At the 3:08 mark, WSU’s Pavlopoulou hit a jumper followed by two free throws to make it 68-64. With just under a minute to go Wyoming’s Taylor Rusk hit a big three to pull the Cowgirls within one, 68-67. The Cowgirls had one last chance after a Cougar miss and rebound by Clara Tapia. Tapia’s final shot fell short with Washington State holding on to the 68-67 victory.
“As I told this team from day one, you are going to be measured if you can reach your potential not by the result on the scoreboard,” head coach Joe Legerski said. “It says that we came up a point short today. This team didn’t come up short at all this season. When you get picked eighth, finish runner up in an improved MW conference, come up with 22 wins and reach postseason play. We by far reached and exceeded it.
“Today was a heck of a game. It was physical, you had to make every play and we made a lot of plays. I was excited when we had two shots open in overtime, great looks and the ball just didn’t go down. We were down four and Taylor Rusk stepped right up and hit a three, which gives us a chance.”
“The decision has to be made with 30 seconds to go, how are we going to get this done at the end. With 10-12 second to go we attacked, but we didn’t keep doing that and backed off. Then we put Clara (Tapia) in a difficult spot in the end. All and all, Natalie (Baker) did a great job to keep us in it and when we were down in the fourth quarter Bailee (Cotton) made some really tough plays and it really hurt us not having her in the overtime.”
Cowgirl junior Natalie Baker recorded a team-high 18 points, six rebounds and a career-high four steals. Redshirt sophomore Bailee Cotton added eight points and five rebounds followed by sophomore Marta Gomez with eight points and four rebounds. The Cowgirls were 20-54 (.370) from the field, 9-22 (.409) from beyond the arc and 18-25 (.720) from the charity stripe.