Mar 022003
 
Authors: Reed Saunders

By

A CSU battle with Wyoming in any sport is always special from a “Border War” perspective. But when the women’s basketball teams from the respective schools go to battle, more than athletic competition drives players from both schools.

The Rams and Cowgirls have a bond perhaps not shared by any other teams in the Mountain West Conference: friends off the court, enemies come game time.

Last summer, Wyoming players made the hour-long trek south to Fort Collins to assist in working an annual CSU camp for younger players. In the process, members from the rival squads began to know each other on a personal level and became friends off the court – heading out to the same night spots, exchanging burned mixed CDs, and other things.

That experience has given a sometimes-tense rivalry an added interesting dimension and made for some friendly trash talk on the floor during the Rams’ 73-51 victory Friday night.

“Any of the jawing you saw on the court was all in good fun,” said the Rams’ Ashley Augspurger. “There’s always a lot of pride involved when it’s CSU versus Wyoming. The fact we can hang out and be friends, I guess, just makes it that much more competitive.”

The looks on the faces of Augspurger and fellow senior Shannon Strecker after the game said they had thoroughly enjoyed beating their friends and rivals, who earlier this season had downed the Rams in overtime in Laramie, 69-64.

Asked about the inspiration for her game-high 23-point performance, Augspurger said it wasn’t so much the fact she had struggled recently in a game at New Mexico, but rather, “I just really wanted to beat Wyoming.”

The feeling was mutual for the Cowgirls, whose win in Laramie on Feb. 1 was their first over the Rams in six seasons. Wyoming star Carrie Bacon, who led the Cowgirls with 13 points and seven rebounds Friday, said once the ball is tipped, the friendships disappear.

“Anytime you play CSU, because we know each other like we do, it’s going to be tough and very competitive,” Bacon said. “We want to battle with them. It’s unique, but once you step on the floor, you’re not friends anymore.”

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