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Getting to know Wyoming

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN -- We haven't done a question-and-answer session with an opposing team's beat writer in quite a while. But since Robert Gagliardi of the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle made himself available this week, we asked him a few questions about the Cowboys. Read on for his answers.

...

Q: Could you give us a quick synopsis of Wyoming’s season, in terms of pre-season expectations and how they progressed compared to that?

Gagliardi: "There were not a lot of expectations for Wyoming after consecutive 10-win seasons the last two years. There was some excitement when Larry Shyatt was hired as the coach. He was at the school in 97-98 and won 19 games. But the team was picked sixth out of eight teams in the Mountain West. The team took advantage of a soft nonconference schedule, bought into playing good defense and exceeded most fans' expectations. They struggled down the stretch but have been tough and competitve in every game this season."

Q: Leonard Washington is a name WSU fans might recognize (former USC forward). How did he decide on Wyoming, and how does he impact the game?

Gagliardi: "The previous staff had a relationship with him, but more than anything he wanted to go somewhere small and quiet and just blend in after everything that happened at USC. He's thrived at Wyoming on and off the court."

Q: Are the Cowboys excited to be playing in this tournament?

Gagliardi: "I think so. There was some disappointment it didn't make the NIT and it may have showed in the North Dakota State game but now that it won I think its a little more energized to keep playing."

Q: What has Wyoming done well this season?

Gagliardi: "It's motto is ADU: Aggressive Discipline Unselfish. Wyoming has done that. But its staple is defense and has been one of the best scoring defenses all season in the nation. It's had its moments offensively, but defense is what this team wins and loses with."

Q: What would you say is their biggest weakness?

Gagliardi: "Depth and offensive fire power. Wyoming only can play seven or eight guys. Wyoming can score inside and out but neither is really hard to defend. Other than Washington, Wyoming has to work awful hard to get good looks at shots."

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple




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