Wyoming basketball team (3-1 overall) earned its third win of the season with a 76-67 victory over UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (1-5 overall) on Friday night.
Four starters finished the night in double-figures led by Marquelle Dent. She finished with 17 points and six assists in 26 minutes. Marta Gomez had 16 points, Jordan Kelley added 13 points and Liv Roberts recorded 12 points. Roberts also had a team-high seven rebounds. The Cowgirls shot 22-of-44 (.500) from the field and 27-of-35 (.771) from the free throw line. UW out rebounded UCSB 29-27 and had 24 points off turnovers.
“We knew going in tonight that it would be a difficult contest. Both teams competed at a high level,” UW head coach Joe Legerski said. “UCSB has had a number of close games and that record is very deceiving. They create a lot issue, put pressure and make you become stronger with the basketball. We did a good job of getting to the free throw line instead of over handling the ball, but we need to get our turnovers down considering we used our bench more this game. Riikka (Kujala) stepped in nicely when Marquelle had to go out with foul trouble. We’ve challenged our bench that they need to contribute in the scoring column.”
Coco Miller finished with the game-high 24 points, while Taylor Farris finished her night with 11 points and five rebounds. The Gauchos were 27-of-54 (.500) from the field and 5-of-12 (.417) from beyond three.
A quick basket out of the break made it a four-point contest, 34-30. The Cowgirls scored seven of the next eight to extend it back to a ten-point advantage, 41-31. Over the next five minutes, Wyoming continued to maintain a solid lead at one point holding an 11-point lead, 51-40. An 8-4 run made it a 55-51 for UW after three quarters. Seven straight points to begin the fourth pushed the margin back to 11, 62-51, for the Cowgirls. Despite being outscored the remainder of the game, Wyoming held on for the 76-67 win.
Sparked by six first quarter points from Dent, Wyoming built a double-digit lead, 12-2. UCSB closed the gap to six, 15-9 with a small run. A basket by Gomez gave the Cowgirls an 18-9 lead headed into the next period. UW increased its advantage to 15, 27-12, with a 9-3 run to begin the second quarter. The Gauchos responded with nine straight to pull within six, 27-21. Kujala hit one of two free throws ended a two-minute scoring drought by Wyoming. The teams played even the rest of the half as the Cowgirls took a 34-28 advantage into the lockerroom.
Gomez led all Cowgirl scorers with 12 points followed by Dent with six. Roberts finished with a team-high five rebounds. UW shot 11-of-20 (.550) from the field and 8-of-11 (.727) from the free throw line. UCSB was led by Miller with 15 points and Mi’Chael Wright with six. The Gauchos shot 12-of-26 (.500) from the field and had 14 points off turnovers.
Wyoming will return to the court on Thursday night against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The game is set for a 7 p.m. MT tip-off in Spokane.