The first 23 minutes of Saturday’s Border War at Moby Arena were 23 minutes no one other than the CSU women’s basketball team saw coming, as that was the amount of time, minus the two minute stint near the end of the first half, the Rams held the lead over the 18th-ranked Wyoming Cowgirls. Unfortunately for Ram faithful, when Wyoming took its second lead at the 16:27 mark in the second half, they never looked back and went on to win 68-55.
In many ways, Saturday’s game was a tale of two halves.
The Rams (2-16, 0-5) were tied at 26 at halftime and made few adjustments between periods, doing a lot of the same things that allowed them to hang with the first-place. Cowgirls: slashing the lane, taking advantage of low post mismatches and converting inside hook shots.
Wyoming (18-1, 6-0), on the other hand, made halftime adjustments that helped increase its shooting percentage by seven percent and its free-throw attempts by 21.
“It takes a toughness to compete for 40 minutes.” Wyoming coach Joe Legerski said. “We didn’t give in and made them make difficult shots.”
For the Rams, this marks their ninth-consecutive loss this season and eighth-straight conference loss dating back to last season.
But while the losses keep adding up for the Rams, Saturday marked a first for one member for the team, as junior center Amaka Uzomah made her first start as a Ram.
Uzomah went 6-11 from the field with 12 points, two blocked shots and 18 rebounds-seven of which came on the offensive glass.
“Amaka keeps coming into practice and blowing everyone away,” said senior guard Sara Hunter, who had three points on Saturday. “She’ll keep this up-she’s fun to play with.”
While Uzomah’s teammates may find she’s fun to play with, it’s safe to bet that her opponents think the opposite.
“I think I’m physical.” The 6-footer said. “I’m a haus, I don’t let no one push me around. I’ll be danged if someone is gonna push me down and I don’t push back.”
Push and push is what the Rams and Cowgirls did for more than 36 minutes, but when Wyoming’s Jodi Bolerjack hit a 3-pointer well beyond NBA range with 3:12 remaining to deepen the Rams deficit from seven to 10, it clear that is was the knock out blow.
“Air Force was a difficult one, I felt we weren’t ourselves.” Rams coach Jen Warden said. “This was an effort I’m proud of. I think it’s ever important that [our team] keeps searching for that elusive victory.”
CSU heads to San Diego State on Wednesday to take on the Aztecs at 8 p.m. The game can be heard on 90.5 KCSU.
Sports writer Matt L. Stephens can be reached at email@example.com.