Cowgirls Will Play For A Title and NCAA Bid Wednesday
For the first time in school history, the Wyoming Cowgirls will play for the Mountain West Conference tournament championship Wednesday.
Wyoming (22-7) needed overtime but beat San Diego State 75-70 in the semifinals Tuesday night.
Marta Gomez scored 25 points, including 13 in overtime to lead the Cowgirls to the victory. Her three-pointer with 2:26 left in the extra period gave UW a 63-62 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Gomez said in a release from the University of Wyoming,
“Once I heard the buzzer-beating, I was like, ‘we’re getting this. I don’t know what it’s going to take, and I don’t really care, but we’re going to get this because our team deserves to play in the championship game tomorrow.”
Karla Erjavec added 16 points, while Bailee Cotton contributed 12 points and seven rebounds. Wyoming overcame a poor shooting night, as they made just 37 percent from the field.
The game was tight throughout. It featured 15 lead changes, and the game was tied 15 different times.
UW head coach Joe Legerski even referenced how close it was in a release from the university.
“As far as the game tonight, neither team was going to give an inch. You take a look at it, the lead changed hands 15 times. The score was tied 15 times. And you play that again, add two more minutes, and who knows what the outcome is?”
The Cowgirls had an 8-0 run that gave them a 15-6 lead. The Aztecs battled back within 17-12 at the end of the first. San Diego State opened the second with a 7-0 run and a 19-17 lead. It was eventually 32-32 at halftime.
Three-pointers by Gomez and Quinn Weidemann gave UW a 40-35 lead with 7:15 left in the third. Back came the Aztecs, who tied it at 42-42. The Cowgirls converted a five-point play after another Weidemann triple and Cotton was fouled. She made both free throws and made it 49-46. It was 49-48 after three.
In the fourth, both teams struggled through scoring droughts. It was 54-51 when Taylor Rusk made a floater in the paint for a 56-51 lead. San Diego State made a three, and then tied it with a basket with 1:20 left. The Aztecs hit the go-ahead shot with 19 seconds left for a 58-56 lead.
The Cowgirls missed a three for the lead with 11 seconds left in regulation, but the rebound was knocked out of bounds by San Diego State. UW got the ball to Erjavec, who was fouled on a drive to the basket. She made two free throws with 5.7 seconds left. The Aztecs failed to get a shot off before the buzzer.
Erjavec came back in OT and made a jumper and a pair of foul shots after Gomez’ key triple. Then, Gomez added eight free throws and sent UW onto the tournament title game.
San Diego State (14-18) shot 50 percent for the game. Sophia Ramos led the Aztecs with 16 points. They scored 46 points in the paint but also had 13 turnovers that led to 19 points for Wyoming.
The Cowgirls will play top seed Boise State (27-4) in the tournament championship. The Broncos defeated Fresno State in the other semifinal, 89-77. The game starts at 8 p.m.