LAS VEGAS — The Wyoming women’s basketball team (21-9 overall, 13-5 MW) had its 2017 Mountain West Championship run ended with a 58-48 quarterfinal loss against the Fresno State Bulldogs (17-14, 8-10 MW) on Tuesday night.
Sophomore Marta Gomez led the way with a team-high 14 points, while shooting 6 for 10 from the field and 2 for 4 from beyond the arc. Freshman Taylor Rusk finished with 10 points and four rebounds, while junior Natalie Baker recorded 9 points and a team-high five boards.
The Cowgirls shot 19 for 48 (.396) from the field, including 10 for 14 (.714) in the fourth quarter, but they finished just 6 for 20 (.300) from 3 and 4 for 7 (.571) from the charity stripe.
“First of all, congratulations to Fresno State. I thought they were the aggressor tonight, right from the start,” Wyoming head coach Joe Legerski said. “They had us back on our heels and always in short shot-clock situations. I also thought that offensively we really struggled to get a good look at the basket.
“There’s a number of people that really wondered after we lost Liv Roberts if we’d ever win again,” the coach added, speaking on the leading scorer’s season-ending knee injury. “And to this group, they ended up going 3-1 after Liv went down and found a way just to be able to keep competing and making plays. Tonight, we just came up short, but I’m very proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish all year long.”
UW senior and Sheridan High School graduate Hailey Ligocki finished her college career by adding 2 points and two rebounds to the Cowgirls’ tally.
Fresno State was led by junior Bego Faz Davalos, who finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Candice White also had 19 points.
The Bulldogs were 17 for 39 (.436) from the field, 21 for 31 (.600) from the charity stripe and outrebounded the Cowgirls 35-19.
Out of the break, the Cowgirls hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 10, 28-18. The Bulldogs responded with 8 straight to increase the lead to 18, 36-18.
Free throws by freshman Selale Kepenc ended a six-minute scoreless stretch, which was countered by 10 unanswered Fresno State points to give the Bulldogs a 46-22 advantage.
After a basket by Davalos to begin the fourth quarter, a jumper by Gomez started a 22-4 Cowgirls run over the next 7:28 to cut the deficit to 52-46 with just under a minute to go.
That would be as close as it would get.
Fresno State advanced to the MWC Tournament semifinals, where it will play UNLV Wednesday at 10 p.m. Boise State and Colorado State will battle in the other semifinal.
The championship will be played Friday at 1 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.