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    Cowboys and Cowgirls basketball to begin conference play tonight

    Cowboys:

    The Cowboys welcome the Boise State Broncos to the Arena-Auditorium for the opener of the Mountain West portion of the schedule on Wednesday. The contest is set for a 7 p.m. start in what will be the first of two meetings between the teams this season.

    Tickets are available to Wednesday’s game by: going online at GoWyo.com/tickets, emailing [email protected],  calling 307-766-7220 or stopping by the UW Athletics Ticket Office on the west side of the Arena-Auditorium.

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    The game will be streamed by Stadium on Facebook. Fans can listen to the contest and follow stats on GoWyo.com. The game will be broadcast live on radio over the 25 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Dave Walsh and Kevin McKinney will call the action.

    A Look at the Matchup
    Wyoming closed out non-conference play on Saturday with a 65-63 win over Dixie State. The Pokes hold a 4-9 overall record and are 3-4 in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys are 8-11 all-time in MW openers and have won two straight.

    Wyoming continues to be an effective team at both getting to the free throw line and capitalizing on those opportunities. Wyoming ranks second in the MW in free throws attempted (315) and have connected on 232 of those for second in the conference and No. 28 in the nation. Wyoming ranks fourth in the MW in three-point percentage at 36 percent.

    Boise State heads to Laramie with a 5-8 overall record after falling to Oregon at home last Saturday by a score of 62-50. The Broncos have lost three of the last four and are 1-6 away from Taco Bell Arena.

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    The Broncos are shooting 47 percent from the field on the season ranking third in the MW. That number also ranks in the top-100 in the nation. Boise State is shooting 35 percent from behind the arc ranking seventh in the conference.

    Each Team’s Leaders
    Wyoming is led in scoring, rebounding and assists by senior Justin James. He adds 22.4 points per game to lead the MW. He also ranks third in the MW grabbing 9.2 rebounds per game. He adds 4.4 assists per night. He leads the nation in free throw attempts at 129 and is second in the nation making 97. He also ranks third in the nation in minutes played.

    Redshirt Freshman Hunter Thompson adds 12.5 points per game to go along with 3.9 rebounds. True freshman Trace Young added 16 points and six rebounds in the Pokes’ win over Dixie State. Senior Jordan Naughton has four blocks in three games played.

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    The Broncos are led in scoring by RJ Williams. He adds 14.4 points per game and leads the team grabbing 6.9 rebounds per night. He is shooting 56 percent from the field for the season. Justinian Jessup adds 12.6 points per game. One of the finest three-point shooters in the MW, he has connected on 2.5 per game to rank seventh in the conference.

    About the Series
    Wednesday’s game marks the 28th meeting all-time between the two schools. Wyoming holds a 14-13 lead in the all-time series. The Broncos have taken five of the last six meetings including the MW finale last year in Boise, 95-87

    Up Next
    The Cowboys hit the road for a pair of games. Wyoming opens at UNLV for a 8 p.m. start on ESPN on Saturday before heading to San Diego State on Tuesday.

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    Cowgirls:

    The Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team opens Mountain West play on the road against Boise State on Wednesday, Jan. 2, with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. (MT). The Broncos were picked first in the Mountain West’s annual preseason poll. Both teams enter the contest riding four-game winning streaks.

    The game will be broadcast live on the Mountain West Network and on Stadium, and can be heard across the 25 stations of the Cowgirl Radio Network with Reece Monaco on play-by-play and Wyoming Hall of Famer Margie McDonald with color commentary.

    A LOOK AT THE COWGIRLS
    The Cowgirls are 7-2 this season following a 77-70 win over a South Dakota State team that was earning votes in both national polls. The Cowgirls are led offensively by senior forward Marta Gomez who averages 16.2 points per game while shooting among the nation’s best from three-point range, 50.0 percent (27-of-54). Senior forward Bailee Cotton averages 11.7 points per contest and pulls down a team best 8.3 rebounds per game. Cotton has also taken a team-leading seven charges this season. Junior Taylor Rusk is scoring 9.9 points per contest while adding 31 assists and only nine turnovers. Senior guard Clara Tapia is in control of the Cowgirl offense, averaging a team-best 3.6 assists per game 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. Defensively, freshman guard Karla Erjavec has recorded 15 steals this season, while Cotton has six blocks and Gomez has five blocks.

    Offensively, the Cowgirls are shooting at a 45.7 percent (245-of-536) clip from the field while shooting 42.9 percent (81-of-189) from three and 76.9 percent (93-of-121) from the free throw line to average 73.8 points per game. The Cowgirls average 15.7 assists and just 10.8 turnovers per game. Opponents are shooting 42.6 percent (208-of-488) from the field, 36.4 percent (52-of-143) from three and 68.5 percent (74-of-108) from the free throw line to average 60.2 points per game. Cowgirl foes average 10.9 assists and 16.6 turnovers per game.

    Head coach Joe Legerski is in his 16th year at the helm of the Cowgirls, and he has compiled a 296-179 record as Wyoming’s head coach. He is the winningest coach in program history.

    SCOUTING BOISE STATE
    The Broncos own a 9-2 overall record, including a 5-1 mark at home and have won four consecutive games overall. Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year Riley Lupfer leads the way offensively with 11.9 points per game while adding 1.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds per contest. Brady Hodgins scores 10.6 points each game and averages 1.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds each time out. Defensively, Joyce Harrell collects 5.0 rebounds per game to lead the Broncos, while A’Shanti Coleman and Harrell each have eight blocks on the season. Coleman also has 21 steals to lead the Broncos, as five different players have double-digit steals this season. The Broncos were picked to finish first in the Mountain West in the annual preseason poll conducted by the league.

    Offensively, the Broncos are shooting 44.1 percent (319-of-724) from the field, 37.3 percent (100-of-268) from three point range and 72.2 percent (104-of-144) from the free throw line to average 76.6 points per game. Boise State averages 16.6 assists and 15.1 turnovers per contest. Defensively, opponents shoot 37.9 percent (246-of-649) from the field, 32.9 percent (72-of-219) from three and 71.2 percent (126-of-177) from the free throw line to average 62.7 points per game. Opponents average 11.3 assists and 20.3 turnovers per game against the Broncos.

    Head coach Gordy Presnell is 252-169 during his 14 years at the helm of Boise State and 647-296 overall in 32 years as a Division I head coach.

    SERIES HISTORY AGAINST BOISE STATE
    The Cowgirls and Broncos enter their eighth season as conference rivals, and the teams are an even 7-7 during their tenure in the Mountain West. Overall, Boise State holds an 11-10 lead in the series that dates back to 1989. Last season, Wyoming picked up its first ever win in Boise with a 66-51 victory over the Broncos. However, Boise State took the game in Laramie, 67-63.

    UP NEXT
    The Cowgirls will host their first Mountain West game of the season when the welcome UNLV to the Arena-Auditorium on Saturday, Jan. 5. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. (MT).

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