Hot shooting from 3-point range sparked the Wyoming Cowgirls past the UNLV Rebels 69-56 Saturday in Laramie.

The victory put the Cowgirls back into first place in the Mountain West standings. Liv Roberts scored 21 points, while Natalie Baker and Marleah Campbell added 11 points apiece.

UW head coach Joe Legerski said in a release from the university, that with a 40 minute game there’s going to be runs and lulls.

“I thought in the first half we shot the ball exceptional from three. With that, we were able to defend, hold them to one and out then we were able to get in to our transition game. With the transition and motion, we got some good looks at the basket which was important. We still had to come through with making our shots and going 12-of-15 from beyond the arc in the first two quarters was tremendous.”

Wyoming (16-7, 9-3) knocked down 12-of-15 from beyond the arc in the first half. Roberts and Marta Gomez made three apiece, while Baker and Campbell added two each from deep.

An early 16-2 run helped the Cowgirls take control. UNLV pulled within single digits a couple of times, but a late 9-2 spurt by UW gave them a 44-24 lead at halftime.

An early second half 10-0 run by Wyoming put them in front 54-27. After three’s by Campbell and Roberts made it 62-37, the Cowgirls began to struggle. The Rebels went on 18-4 run and got within 66-55, but UW held on for the victory. In fact, Wyoming went the final 8:20 without a field goal.

Legerski added, “In the fourth quarter, we put them to the foul line a great deal which took away our transition game and we had to go to a half-court game. UNLV is very good defensively when they force you in to a half-court game. They make it difficult to move and enter the ball, plus we got out of our rhythm. I also look at the numbers from the free throw line and I really thought we lost our focus. I knew we couldn’t maintain the intensity level we had in the first half, you just have to manage the second half and find a way to win. We did that for the most part.”

The Cowgirls shot 50 percent for the game, which included 14-for-24, 58 percent from deep. The 14 three’s tied a season-high from Nov. 21 against Drake. UW finished with 21 assists on 23 field goals and scored 27 points off the bench.

UNLV (14-9, 9-3) shot only 33 percent from the floor. They were led by Nikki Wheatley with 18 points.

It was the only meeting between the two schools this season.

Wyoming returns to action Wednesday night at home against San Diego State. The game starts at 6:30 p.m.

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