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The University of Wyoming women’s basketball team held off a late rally at New Mexico on Wednesday to escape with a 63-62 win and remain atop the Mountain West standings.

The Cowgirls (19-7, 12-3 MW) led 25-24 at the half and increased their margin to nine points at 40-31 midway through the third quarter.

UW took a 45-37 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Lobos (20-8, 8-7) took advantage of some missed opportunities by the Cowgirls at the free throw line to make it a two-point game three times in the fourth quarter.

“We knew it was going to be tough coming in,” UW head coach Joe Legerski said in a release. “We needed to shoot free throws better, but this is a tough environment ... and it seemed like we hit enough to keep it a two-possession game.”

Marta Gomez hit 1 of 2 from the line with 34 seconds remaining to give the Cowgirls a 59-55 lead and Clara Tapia made 2 of 4 on Wyoming’s next two possessions. Her last free throw gave the Cowgirls a 61-57 lead with 10 seconds to play.

After the Lobos scored inside, Gomez knocked down two free throws with 2 seconds remaining to make it 63-59. New Mexico’s Jaisa Nunn banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer but it wasn’t enough.

Wyoming has now won five in a row and remains tied with UNLV atop the conference standings, although the Cowgirls own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Selale Kepenc was 4-of-4 from behind the arc and finished with 15 points to lead Wyoming, while Natalie Baker added 11 and Gomez finished with 10.


Sports Editor

Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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