Cowgirls Battle Past Jaguars and Advance In WNIT
Marta Gomez scored 22 points to lead three Cowgirls in double figures, as Wyoming beat South Alabama 78-71 in a second-round WNIT game Sunday in Laramie.
Gomez scored 18 of her 22 in the second half to lead the Cowgirls to the WNIT third round for the first time since 2011.
Karla Erjavec had a career-high 19 points, while Bailee Cotton added 16 points and nine rebounds.
Wyoming (24-8) trailed 35-33 at halftime. Behind the veteran play of Gomez, Cotton, and Taylor Rusk, the Cowgirls outscored the Jaguars 22-13 in the third quarter. That trio combined for 15 points in that period. A jumper by Gomez gave Wyoming a 43-42 advantage. It was a lead they wouldn’t give up. The score was 55-48 going in the fourth quarter.
South Alabama (25-11) scored the first six points of the fourth and pulled within 55-54. Finally at the 5:34 mark, a Gomez 18-foot jumper got the Cowgirls on the board. Gomez and Cotton scored the first 10 points of the final period. A three-point play by Gomez at the 3:23 mark gave UW their biggest lead, at 64-54.
The Jaguars didn’t go away. They climbed back within five points a few times, but couldn’t get any closer. Quinn Weidemann made a key 3-pointer with 45.3 seconds left that made it 71-63 Cowgirls. Wyoming made seven-of-eight free throws in the last 37 seconds to preserve the win.
The Cowgirls shot 48 percent (26-54) for the game. They had 18 assists on 26 field goals. UW was also 7-18 (39%) from three. They capitalized with 20 points off 13 Jaguars turnovers and went 19-25 (76%) at the free throw line.
South Alabama shot 44 percent from the floor. They 8-18 (44%) from deep. The Jaguars held a 38-31 advantage on the glass. Shaforia Kines had 15 points to lead four South Alabama players in double figures.
Wyoming got off to a good start with an 11-5 lead that forced a Jaguars timeout with 5:39 left in the first. Erjavec and Cotton combined for all 11 points. The teams traded baskets after that. It was 18-14 UW at the conclusion of the period.
Gomez scored her first points on a jumper early in the second, but South Alabama responded with a 17-3 run. All of it happened with Cotton on the bench in foul trouble after she picked up her second personal foul late in the first. Wyoming slowed the Jaguars and got key three’s from Sladjana Rakovic and Erjavec. A driving lay-up by Erjavec with seven seconds left in the half trimmed it to 35-33 South Alabama at the break.
The Cowgirls will host a third-round WNIT game Thursday at 6:30 p.m.