LARAMIE — The Wyoming women’s basketball team had its season end in the second round of the WNIT with a tough 68-67 overtime loss against the Washington State Cougars Saturday afternoon
Junior Natalie Baker recorded a team-high 18 points, six rebounds and a career-high four steals. Redshirt sophomore Bailee Cotton added 8 points and five rebounds, followed by sophomore Marta Gomez with 8 points and four rebounds.
The Cowgirls (23-9 overall, 13-5 Mountain West) were 20 for 54 (.370) from the field, 9 for 22 (.409) from beyond the arc and 18 for 25 (.720) from the free-throw line.
“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.”
Four Cougars finished the night in double figures, led by junior Pinelopi Pavlopoulou with 20 points. Junior Caila Hailey followed with 12 points and eight rebounds, while senior Ivana Kmetovska and sophomore Alexys Swedlund each added 10 points. Washington State was 27 for 72 (.375) from the field and outrebounded the Cowgirls 50-34.
The Cougars jumped out with two quick baskets to take an early 4-0 lead. The Cowgirls scored the next 7 of 9 to take a 7-6 advantage. After a free throw and basket by Washington, Wyoming recorded 5 straight points to make it 12-7.
The teams combined for 10 points the rest of the quarter with junior Skyler Snodgrass closing with a 3 to make it a 17-14 Wyoming advantage.
The scoring went back and forth to begin the second period until the Cougars took a 25-22 lead. A late bucket gave the Cougars a 37-33 advantage heading in to the locker room.
The teams exchanged early baskets out of the break until the Cougars went on a 6-0 run to extend the lead to 9 at 45-36. A basket by senior Hailey Ligocki ended a two-minute scoreless stretch, and another score pulled Wyoming to within 4.
WSU increased the lead back to 7 through the media timeout, but the Cowgirls answered with an 8-2 run to cut it to 1. A Swedlund basket ended the run, but 6 straight by UW gave the Cowgirls the lead for the first time since the second quarter at 56-53 to end the quarter.
Both teams had chances to pull ahead late in the fourth quarter but the game went to overtime. At the 3:08 mark in overtime, Pavlopoulou hit a jumper followed by two free throws to make it 68-64.
With just under a minute to go, Rusk hit a big 3 to pull the Cowgirls within 1, but Tapia’s final effort fell short as Washington State held on for the 68-67 victory.
Ligocki closed out her Wyoming career with 7 points, three rebounds and an assist.