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Woodward helps Cowgirls to an 18-4 overall record

Feb 12, 2013 - The Associated Press

University of Wyoming women's basketball coach Joe Legerski was honest in his evaluation of sophomore forward Kayla Woodward's performance Saturday against Boise State.

And it showed just how good Woodward has played this season and since Mountain West play started.

Woodward scored 13 points and added five rebounds and five assists in Wyoming's 77-60 win over Boise State. The Sheridan product was 4 of 12 from the field and missed two free throws, which, for her, is rare.

"I thought she had a little bit of an off-day Saturday," Legerski said. "But she still found a way to score, whether that's with a timely three, a put-back or getting to the free-throw line."

Woodward has been doing that all conference season for the Cowgirls (18-4 overall, 7-2 Mountain West).

Woodward has scored in double figures in all seven conference games for the Cowgirls while averaging 17.4 points in those games. The only other two Mountain West players who can boast scoring in double figures in every conference game are Fresno State's Ki-Ki Moore and San Diego's State Chelsea Hopkins.

And Woodward's 17.4 ppg in MW games is second only to UNLV's Kelli Thompson at 19.6 ppg.

Both Moore and Hopkins are in the conversation for player of the year honors in the MW. And likely so is Woodward.

"I'm glad she's on my side," Legerski said. "Kayla's a tremendous offensive player. She can put the ball on the floor and score, she shoots the ball well from three. She puts so much pressure on a defense.

"She's playing with confidence, and her numbers reflect that."

In both in her freshman and now sophomores seasons, Woodward's scoring average has increased once conference play has started. This year, Woodward is averaging nearly five more points in MW play than in the nonconference.

"To be averaging 17 points a game in conference play, scoring in double digits each and every night out when people are trying to slow you down, she still gets it done," Legerski said. "We expect double-digits from Kayla. I think every shot she shoots is going in, which is the confidence I have in her as a coach and the confidence she has a player."

Poll love

For the first time this season, the Mountain West has two teams receiving votes in the latest Associated Press women's basketball poll.

Both Wyoming and San Diego State received two poll points in Monday's poll.

Wyoming received one vote in last week's AP poll, the first time the Cowgirls had been mentioned since the 2007-08 team. This week also marks the first time since that season that UW has received votes in a national poll. SDSU continues to lead the conference in the RealTimeRPI.com rankings.

The Aztecs were No. 43 on Monday, while the Cowgirls were No. 67. Only one other MW team (Fresno State at No. 97) is ranked in the top 200.

Nance is day-to-day

No news is not necessarily good news for the University of Wyoming men's basketball team when it comes to the condition of sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr.'s injured wrist.

Nance missed Saturday's 68-61 loss at Boise State after testing the wrist in pregame warm-ups. The 6-foot-9 forward injured the wrist late in UW's nonconference win last Wednesday at Cal State Bakersfield.

On Monday, UW coach Larry Shyatt said Nance is still day to day when it comes to whether he'll play in Wednesday's home game against Nevada.

"It's day to day, and I'd be speculative if I answered the question any better than that," Shyatt said during Monday's Mountain West coaches teleconference.

"We're just going day by day, and that's the most logical way to approach it."

Wyoming (16-7 overall, 2-7 Mountain West) not only missed Nance's 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in Saturday's loss, but his defensive presence inside as well.

Boise State shot 55.6 percent in the first 20 minutes in building a 37-19 lead, the largest halftime deficit for the Cowboys this season.

UW did respond in the second half, limiting the Broncos to 44 percent from the field as the Cowboys mounted a comeback, getting as close as five points in the final seconds.

Torrington freshman Jason McManamen replaced Nance in the starting lineup Saturday and had two points and one rebound in 15 minutes of playing time.

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