Cowgirls Host UNLV in Mountain West Home Opener on Saturday


LARAMIE, Wyo. (January 3, 2019) – The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team opens the home portion of its Mountain West schedule when it hosts UNLV on Saturday, Jan. 5, for a game scheduled to tipoff at 2 p.m. (MT). The Rebels were picked second in the Mountain West’s annual preseason poll. Both teams enter the contest looking for their first MW win of the season.


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The Cowgirls are 7-3 this season following a 72-64 loss on the road against Boise State. The Cowgirls are led offensively by senior forward Marta Gomez who averages 16.1 points per game while shooting among the nation’s best from three-point range, 48.4 percent (30-of-62). Senior forward Bailee Cotton averages nearly a double-double with 10.9 points per contest and pulling down a team-best 8.9 rebounds per game. Cotton has also taken a team-leading seven charges this season. Junior Taylor Rusk is scoring 10.7 points per contest while adding 31 assists and only 10 turnovers. Senior guard Clara Tapia is in control of the Cowgirl offense, averaging a team-best 3.7 assists per game 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio that leads the Mountain West. Defensively, freshman guard Karla Erjavec has recorded 16 steals this season, while Cotton has eight blocks and Gomez has five blocks.


Offensively, the Cowgirls are shooting at a 45.6 percent (272-of-596) clip from the field while shooting 41.8 percent (87-of-208) from three and 74.6 percent (97-of-130) from the free throw line to average 72.8 points per game. The Cowgirls average 15.0 assists and just 10.8 turnovers per game. Opponents are shooting 43.1 percent (236-of-547) from the field, 37.1 percent (62-of-167) from three and 68.4 percent (80-of-117) from the free throw line to average 61.4 points per game. Cowgirl foes average 11.3 assists and 15.8 turnovers per game.


Head coach Joe Legerski is in his 16th year at the helm of the Cowgirls, and he has compiled a 296-180 record as Wyoming’s head coach. He is the winningest coach in program history.

The Rebels are 2-10 overall this season and 0-1 in Mountain West play after dropping a road game to Colorado State, 52-49, on Wednesday. UNLV is led by Katie Powell, a preseason all-MW pick, who averages 13.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Nikki Wheatley is putting up 10.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game for UNLV, while Letecia Smith scored 8.2 points per contest. Defensively, Smith and Wheatley both have 18 steals on the season, while Rodjanae Wade has five blocks. The Rebels were picked to finish second in the league in the annual preseason poll, and have battled injuries in the early part of the season.


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Offensively, the Rebels shot 35.8 percent (245-of-685) from the field, 26.0 percent (52-of-200) from three and 61.1 percent (129-of-211) from the free throw line to average 55.9 points per game. UNLV records 9.1 assists and 16.5 turnovers per game. Defensively, opponents score 62.6 points per game on 42.7 percent (271-of-634) shooting from the field, 36.2 percent (71-of-196) shooting from three and 64.2 percent (128-of-215) shooting from the free throw line. UNLV opponents average 13.1 assists and 18.2 turnovers per contest.

Head coach Kathy Olivier is 159-168 in 11 years at the helm of UNLV, and owns a 391-376 overall record as a Division I coach in 26 years.

The Cowgirls and Rebels have both been a part of the Mountain West since its inception, but have also faced off before becoming conference foes. Overall, the series, which dates back to the 1979-80 season, is tied 23-23. The Cowgirls are 16-6 at home against UNLV and have won the last six games here at 7,220 feet, and eight of the last 11 games overall in the series. In the game in Laramie last season, the Cowgirls shot a blistering 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from three-point range, the second-best shooting performance in school history.

The Cowgirls will continue a Mountain West homestand by hosting San Diego State in the AA on Wed., Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m. (MT).