LARAMIE – Bailee Cotton said Saturday that her 0 of 7 performance from the field during Wednesday’s loss at Boise State hit her hard.
The University of Wyoming senior made sure to be the one doing the stinging Saturday against UNLV.
Cotton scored a career-high 20 points – including making the second and third 3-pointers of her career – and freshman Quinn Weidemann hit seven 3-pointers for a game-high 24 points as the Cowgirls blew out the Rebels 90-62 before a season-high crowd of 3,008 at the Arena-Auditorium.
The 90 points were the second-most scored by UW (8-3 overall, 1-1 Mountain West) against UNLV and the 28-point margin of victory is the fourth-highest in series history.
“We expected to come out strong in this game, but I didn’t expect it to be this powerful,” Cotton said. “UNLV is a good team and being able to take them out of it is really big for us.
“In the first quarter they were getting tired and we just kept running and running. That’s when I thought, ‘We got this,’ and just ran them into the ground.”
UW led 18-9 after the first quarter, one in which Cotton hit her two 3s and had eight points.
The Cowgirls then blitzed the Rebels (2-11, 0-2) for 28 points in the second quarter and a 54-30 halftime lead. The lead ballooned to as much as 36 points early in the fourth before Cowgirls coach Joe Legerski called off the dogs.
“We came out and played with a great deal of intensity, the competitiveness was there and we made a few more plays (than Wednesday),” Legerski said. “Our transition game was really good. We were able to get up and down the floor and made a few more good decisions.”
Cotton was 8 of 11 from the floor in just 22 minutes to break the career high in points she set earlier this season against Pacific.
“(The Boise State game) stung a lot,” Cotton said. “The real issue I had was that some of the shots I didn’t feel bad on. (Legerski) just kept telling me to relax and let the game come to me.”
As a team UW shot a season best 58.9 percent from the field (33 of 56) and from the 3-point line (14 of 23, 60.9 percent).
The biggest contributor to the 3-point barrage was Weidemann, who torched UNLV all game.
The freshman guard from Omaha, Nebraska, was 7 of 8 on 3-pointers and has now made at least one 3-pointer in each of the last five games. Weidemann’s seven 3s are the most by a Cowgirl in a game this season.
Weidemann said her teammates make shooting from behind the arc easy by driving the lane and passing the ball out to her.
“I’m pretty sure all of (the 3s) were off of assists,” she said.
Cowgirls freshman Karla Erjavec added 14 points and four assists while junior Taylor Rusk had 12 points and tied a career high with eight assists.
“I really wanted 10 assists,” Rusk said with a big laugh. “It’s really fun to play that way when you’re passing the ball and they’re making the shots.”
UW senior Marta Gomez had eight points, the first time this season she hasn’t scored at least 10 points in a game.
“It’s not about one person,” Legerski said. “We picked up for Marta the way (Cotton) shot the basketball, the way Quinn, Taylor and Karla played. We got a big lift from Rachelle Tucker (five points, three rebounds) and Sladjana Rakovic off the bench. The depth of our team showed up today.”
Added Cotton: “This team is special because we have so many people that can score on any given night. It doesn’t matter if it’s (Weidemann) one night or (Gomez) one night, somebody is going to score and it’s really tough to guard that.”
UNLV got back to full strength Wednesday after missing starters Katie Powell and Paris Strawther for the majority of the season. Powell scored 20 points, while Strawther added 14.
Rakovic played 12 minutes Saturday after turning an ankle early in Wednesday’s game. The senior forward had four points, seven rebounds and two assists. … UW took over the all-time series lead with UNLV at 24-23 and has won three of the past four. In the Cowgirls’ last six wins against the Rebels – all at home – the average margin of victory has been 25.5 points. … The 54 points scored by UW in the first half were the most this season. The Cowgirls scored 53 against UC-Colorado Springs. … UW senior guard Clara Tapia had five assists to move into a tie for eighth place all-time at UW with 330. … The Cowgirls remain at home to host San Diego State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Scott Nulph is the WyoSports assistant editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or 307-755-3324. Follow him on Twitter at @ScottNulph.