In an unusual Friday night time slot, San Jose State Spartans women’s basketball played the Event Center’s last scheduled basketball game of the season and lost 68-59 to the visiting Wyoming Cowgirls. Heading into the Mountain West Conference tournament that begins on Monday, the regular season ended on a four-game losing streak.
Prior to the game, Paris Baird, Dezz Ramos, Jasmine Smith, and Rachol West joined their families, head coach Jamie Craighead, and interim athletic director Marie Tuite on the court in a senior honors ceremony. Ramos scored 22 points, and Smith added 12. Baird had eight points and eight rebounds, and West contributed five points.
“I’m really proud of our seniors and the time that they’ve spent here,” said Craighead after the game.
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For Wyoming, five players scored in double figures, led by Hailey Ligocki with 14 points. Two others had double-doubles: Natalie Baker with 13 points and 14 rebounds and Bailee Cotton with 11 each of points and rebounds. Off the bench, Taylor Rusk scored 11 points.
Taking advantage of Wyoming lacking a true point guard, San Jose State’s full-court press forced three early turnovers. San Jose State also forced a few shot clock violations in the first half.
“They don’t have someone who can really control the floor and bring the ball up the floor, so we knew that pressuring full court was going to force turnovers,” commented West about Wyoming.
However, Wyoming got a 15-8 lead halfway through the first quarter off three-point plays from Ligocki and Baker.
San Jose State opened the second quarter on a 9-0 run to go up 23-19, during which West hit a three for San Jose State’s first lead. The two teams exchanged baskets heading into a 34-30 San Jose State halftime lead.
Because of efficient Wyoming shooting, San Jose State could not lead by more than six in the third quarter. Wyoming scored seven unanswered to lead 48-44 in the last minute, before a Ramos layup stopped that run. In the closing seconds, Ramos picked off a pass from Clara Tapia and beat the buzzer with a half-court shot to put San Jose State up 49-48.
However, that play did not carry over any momentum in the fourth quarter, as Wyoming took a lead after a Tapia free throw and Rusk layup and never looked back. While Wyoming shot seven for 11 in the final quarter, San Jose State made just three of 16 field goal attempts.
“We learned a really hard lesson today,” said Craighead. “We need to play this hard on defense all the time, and our offense was a little stagnant.”
Craighead also acknowledged that coaching her last home game with her four seniors made her emotional before the game, and she even choked up during the postgame press conference.
All four seniors have been in the starting lineup throughout the season, so next year’s team will introduce many newcomers to the roster.
“They come from [high school] programs with as much tradition and history as the best basketball programs in the country on the Division I side,” said Craighead. “They’re winners, and they will compete for 40 minutes.”
“I hope that people doubt our ability to win with sophomores and freshmen, because we’ll prove people wrong,” added Craighead.