By Scott Nulph

Semester grades vary for UW teams


December 16, 2015

Blaine McCartney/WyoSports

Marquelle Dent and the Wyoming Cowgirls received the highest mark of the UW sports programs for the fall semester after a 5-3 start to the season.

It's Finals Week for all University of Wyoming students. It's that time of year when the days (and nights) of studying are long, the tests are hard and the nerves of students are about on their last legs.

As everyone finishes up their classes for the fall semester, it's also a good time to look at how Wyoming's athletic teams did during the fall semester as well.

Some had a good semester ... some did not. And some head home for the holidays knowing there is a lot of work to be done when classes begin again in January.

Wyoming men's basketball

Grade: C+

The Cowboys had an up-and-down fall, one that should have been expected for a team that lost six seniors off last year's NCAA tournament team.

The semester started with a practice test and it didn't go well, losing to Fort Lewis in an exhibition. When the real tests started flying, the grades gradually improved as the semester moved along. The Cowboys even got a solid grade in a loss (an overtime loss at home to California).

UW then showed the typical ups and down of finals week with a home loss to Southern and a road win at New Mexico State, where very few students pass.

Overall, the Cowboys (6-4) sit with a solid average and have plenty of opportunities to climb the grade ladder over the winter.

Individually, senior Josh Adams has been nothing short of sensational, acing almost every test thrown at him.

The biggest tests, however, are yet to come with conference play. How these young Pokes will handle the stress and constant grind of the MW schedule will be the ultimate testing ground. It appears there might even be some additional tough quizzes thrown in that weren't on the original class schedule.

A top-half finish in the MW would move the Cowboys from simply passing this season to the head of the class.

Wyoming women's basketball

Grade: B+

Like the Cowboys, the Cowgirls started the fall semester young, inexperienced and searching for answers.

Wyoming (5-3) knew it had a star pupil returning in senior Marquelle Dent and a GPA lifter in fellow senior Jordan Kelley.

The rest of the class was as green as a teacher's Granny Smith apple.

So far Wyoming has done just about everything the teacher has asked for. The Cowgirls have passed the easier quizzes while just failing in the harder ones (Saint Mary's, Gonzaga, Idaho).

But before the group gets too comfortable in its seats, the long winter quarter awaits. The good news is it appears the Cowgirls won't face quite the tough tests that the UW men's hoops teams will see when it comes to conference play.

But several big tests - Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico - will likely help determine the Cowgirls' overall grade come March. A postseason spot come March would certainly earn this group an A.


Grade: D –

The fall semester hit the Cowboys hard. Real hard.

No matter how much studying and extra work the team did, it simply kept falling further and further behind in its class work.

The only reason UW didn't suffer a grade of F was that, to be honest, not a ton was expected from this group in the first place.

The new semester starts with the team doing a lot of out-of-classroom work in terms of recruiting. The verbal commitment list for 2016 looks solid on paper. Will the extra study work be enough to erase all the red ink of the fall?

We'll likely have to wait until next fall to see for sure.

But we do know another classroom performance like this fall won't sit well with anyone, least of all the teachers. Even a C performance would be a big upgrade for a program stuck in the bottom half of the curve the last two seasons.


Grade: C

Maybe the best work done here was actually accomplished without school being in session. Wyoming graduated to the premier class in the country in July, earning an invitation to attend the Big 12 wrestling academy.

It was a big jump from the type of school work the program had been doing, and early fall semester results show the Cowboys have been right around average so far.

The winter semester will b where this group is truly judged.

The schedule consists of most of the tough tests and assignments coming this winter, with this class having its major final - the Big 12 tournament - waiting for it in early March.

A few passing grades in some quizzes before the final would give the class plenty of confidence. But if the group struggles this winter, the finals in March might be nothing more than a formality with summer school on the horizon.


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