Coaches and players often say that for a rivalry game, the two teams’ records can be thrown out.
Apparently, so can their rosters.
CSU women’s basketball, missing four players due to suspension, one to injury and another for unspecified reasons, suited up a pair of Rams volleyball players in a hard-fought 78-66 overtime loss to Wyoming.
Ashley Fornstrom, a sophomore setter, and Mekana Barnes, a sophomore middle blocker, traded in their volleyball uniforms for basketball shoes on Thursday in Moby arena.
Only Barnes got into the game, receiving a warm welcome from the crowd of 1,485 when she entered with 23 seconds to play in overtime.
“It was a good opportunity for us,” said Barnes. “It’s cool to see how you can compete against division-I college basketball players.”
Head coach Jen Warden was visibly frustrated after the team’s sixth consecutive loss overall.
“A day in the life,” she said. “We were one possession short of being good enough for CSU standards. But we’re getting closer.”
CSU was led by senior center Marilyn Moulton’s 17 points and eight rebounds. Junior guard Sara Hunter added 16 points and freshman forward Juanise Cornell had 15 points in the loss.
“Obviously we’re disappointed because we couldn’t get a win, but everyone fought hard,” Hunter said. “I’m just thankful for the effort everyone gave.”
Forward Hanna Zavecz led the Cowgirls with 23 points and guard Jodi Bolerjack had 20 points.
CSU opened the night on a tear, building an early lead as big as 14 at 24-10.
The Cowgirls shot poorly until they found their groove late in the half, using a 12-0 run keyed by several shots from guard Jodi Bolerjack to close the gap to 31-28 at the break.
After halftime, the two teams traded outside shots and the Cowgirls were able to tie the game at 36. CSU retook the lead and held onto it until Wyoming took a 51-49 lead with 7:58 to go.
Moulton then picked up a three-point play on a left-handed lay-in to give the Rams a 57-56 lead with just under five minutes to play in the game.
The two teams traded buckets for the next few minutes, until a Hunter baseline drive and two free throws on back-to-back possessions handed the Rams a 61-58 lead with two minutes on the clock.
Each team got a free throw in the next minute to make the score 62-59 with a minute to play. Zavecz then hit a three to tie it up at 62. Each team had an opportunity to win the game but each possession ended in a turnover, sending the game to overtime.
Wyoming owned the extra period, taking an early lead and never relinquishing en route to the eight-point victory.
A disappointed Warden was clearly not willing to settle with the effort.
“If you walked in our shoes for the last three weeks, there was no way we thought we were going to lose,” she said. “We were just one possession short.”