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NCAA Women's Basketball: Wyoming vs UNLV

Wyoming forward Taylor Rusk looks for an open teammate in the Cowgirls' game against UNLV on Feb. 10 at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Troy Babbitt, UW Media-Athletics

LARAMIE — The Wyoming women’s basketball team had an emotional start to this week. After beating Fresno State on Saturday, the Cowgirls’ leading scorer Liv Roberts came down with an illness that sidelined her for Tuesday’s game at Air Force. The Cowgirls lost that game to the last-place Falcons but found out shortly thereafter they would remain tied for first place because UNLV also lost Tuesday.

“We got to the locker room, and it was really disappointing,” Roberts said. “Of course, Coach was disappointed in us, and then all of a sudden we look at the scores, and we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, UNLV’s losing. Hopefully this one can hold out.’ So it was a little bit of an emotional roller coaster.”

One way or another, Wyoming’s week will come to an emotional end Friday. The Cowgirls host Boise State, which is now tied for first place along with Wyoming and UNLV, for their regular-season finale. The game will determine the Mountain West’s regular-season champion.

“The goal from the beginning of the year was to win a regular-season conference championship and win a tournament championship,” Marleah Campbell said. “And we’ve definitely set ourselves up to do both, which is really exciting.”

If Wyoming wins, the Cowgirls will be champions, regardless of what UNLV does against Utah State, because Wyoming has the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rebels.

Wyoming defeated Boise State in Idaho the first time the teams played.

“We defended really well up at Boise,” Campbell said. “We knew the scout going in. We watched film, knew what we were going to do, and then we hit shots, which is big for us. We were on fire. Boise is a tough place to play. It’s a tough place to win, so that was a big game for us. I think that gives us a little confidence going into Friday here.”

If Boise State and UNLV both win, the Broncos would hold that two-way tiebreaker because of the win they would have over third-place Wyoming. (Boise State and UNLV split their two games this season.)

As if that weren’t enough, Friday is also Wyoming’s Senior Night. The Cowgirls have four seniors: Roberts, Campbell, Natalie Baker and Skyler Snodgrass, though Snodgrass will not be at the game because of a death in her family, Roberts said.

“It’s been a special group,” Roberts said. “We’ve stayed together this whole time. Bailee (Cotton) did drop down because of her knee injury, so that was kind of a bummer, and it kind of still feels like we should be celebrating her, because we were the Fab Five who all came in together. So that’s kind of upsetting.

“... But this senior group has been amazing, and I think we’re tremendous leaders, and I think that our underclassmen can look up to us and see what we’ve left behind here.”

Roberts, who returned to practice Wednesday, doesn’t expect to miss a second straight game.

“I actually was just talking to Coach (Joe Legerski) down there that I didn’t play my Senior Night of high school, because I was so sick,” Roberts said. “So it’s something I’m used to and trying to battle through. ... I’m definitely going to be out there whether I feel good or not.

“That’s what I told my parents. ‘It’s my last time at home, so no matter what I’m going to be out there, even if I’m deathly sick.’”

Follow University of Wyoming athletics reporter Brandon Foster on Twitter @BFoster91


College Sports Reporter

Brandon Foster reports on University of Wyoming athletics. He joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 after graduating from the University of Missouri and covering Mizzou athletics for two years. A St. Louis native, he lives in Laramie.

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