Joe Legerski hasn’t used the word “revenge.”
But it fits.
The Wyoming women’s basketball team (10-2) has been on a tour of sorts this non-conference season. Five of the Cowgirls’ wins have come against teams UW lost to last year.
Yes, teams change from year to year. And yes, comparing previous seasons to current ones is not a favorite activity for college coaches.
But even Legerski admits the games are a sign of his team’s turnaround.
“For this group, this year, there were still some doubts,” he said after the Cowgirls beat Loyola Marymount on Saturday. “Because you still experienced the year that we lost. We added some players … And this team wanted to come back and be better for themselves, and represent themselves. And I think they’ve been able to do that.”
They’ve done it by winning all but one — Bowling Green beat the Cowgirls last month — of their rematches from last season, a year that finished with a disappointing record of 12-17.
First came a win against Idaho, then victories against Denver, Eastern Michigan and Montana followed. And then there was the latest, Loyola Marymount, by a score of 84-68. Last season, the Cowgirls lost to the Lions 57-54.
The win was a nutshell of the Cowgirls non-conference season, which ends Thursday when UW plays South Dakota Tech in Laramie.
Against Loyola Marymount, senior forward Chaundra Sewell set career highs in points (34) and rebounds (17).
After the performance, she spoke about the difference between this year and last.
The Cowgirls failed to score in the final seven minutes in their previous loss to Loyola Marymount, a drought that gave the game away. This year, Sewell scored five consecutive points when the Lions cut UW’s lead to three late in the second half. Then sophomore forward Kayla Woodward sank a 3-pointer that shut the door.
“It’s a sign of how far we have come from last year,” she said. “It goes to show much more mature this group is.”
From the sideline, Legerski came to the same conclusion.
“This is a completely different game than we played a year ago,” he said.
A completely different season, too.