The Wyoming women’s basketball team picked up a pair of road wins late last month by finishing well, winning by two points at San Jose State and one point at New Mexico.
But the Cowgirls weren’t able to carry that theme through the end of their season. Wyoming led by eight points Friday with less than 7 minutes separating it from its first conference championship. But a 15-3 Boise State run denied the Cowgirls that opportunity.
Wyoming had a chance to make a dramatic comeback, trailing by two points in the game’s final 30 seconds. But Clara Tapia’s shot did not fall, Boise State’s Marta Hermida made both her free throws after the ensuing foul, and the Broncos handed the Cowgirls a 67-63 loss. After winning six straight, Wyoming lost its final two games of the regular season, and instead it was Boise State celebrating a Mountain West regular-season title Friday night at the Arena-Auditorium.
“You had (numbers) one and two preseason playing, and give Boise State credit,” Wyoming head coach Joe Legerski said. “They’re tremendous champions of this league. They’ve come back, they’ve won games, and like I said, it was a battle all the way through. We just came up short.”
The Cowgirls now enter the conference tournament as the No. 3 seed. UNLV defeated Utah State 68-58 to finish tied with Boise State atop the conference. The Broncos hold the tiebreaker over the Rebels because of their win over Wyoming.
Marta Gomez scored a season-high 19 points, including 14 in the third quarter on 4-of-4 3-point shooting. Wyoming (20-9 overall, 13-5 Mountain West) trailed by as many as five in that quarter before Gomez sparked a 20-7 run.
Braydey Hodgins led the Broncos with 24 points, 16 of which came after halftime. She hit three 3-pointers to lead Boise State’s late run.
“We had the big third quarter to get up, they had the big fourth quarter, and we just needed to make a couple more shots and needed to make a couple better plays,” Legerski said. “We broke down at times tonight, and that was unfortunate. Because you break down against Boise State and they make you pay when you break down.”
Wyoming missed all three of its fourth-quarter 3-point attempts and hit just 2 of its final 11 attempts.
“Our shot selection down the end, we had open shots, the ball didn’t go down, and that’s all you can ask for,” Legerski said. “And I’ll take those shots again. I thought Liv (Roberts) and Marta both had great looks from the corner, but we made a lot of plays and a lot of things.”
Roberts, Natalie Baker, Marleah Campbell and Skyler Snodgrass were honored at the game for Senior Night. Baker scored 13 points, Campbell did not score in 3 minutes of play, and Snodgrass did not attend the game because of a death in her family.
The Cowgirls retain their first-round bye at the Mountain West tournament. They begin play at 9:30 p.m. Mountain Time against the winner of Monday’s New Mexico-San Jose State game.
“When I look back on this and say we’re 20-9, 13-5, what a year this has been,” Legerski said. “Yeah, when you get this close, if it doesn’t hurt — I always say you’ve got to be a competitor, and if you’re a competitor, then it does hurt. Now, we’ll take tomorrow off. We’ll travel on Sunday, and then we’ll see who we play on Tuesday.”