Revenge is sweet – and even more so in a game of this magnitude.
The CSU women’s basketball team erased bitter memories of a Feb. 1 overtime loss at Wyoming with an emphatic 73-50 victory Friday night at Moby Arena. And in burying the Cowgirls, the Rams not only exacted their revenge; they took the first step toward securing a higher seed for the all-important Mountain West Conference Tournament.
“I’m really happy about this one,” senior forward Ashley Augspurger said, “because of what happened up there, because we lost a game in overtime that we know we should have won.”
The Rams were spearheaded by Augspurger, whose 23 points led CSU and her presence on the court caused problems for the Cowgirls all night long. Augspurger hit 75 percent of her shots from the field. The three shots that missed their target were all three-point attempts.
“(Augspurger) has been struggling a bit of late but she snapped out of it in a big way,” head coach Chris Denker said. “In practice this week, the look on her face was that of business.”
The attention that Augspurger drew down the stretch allowed center Shannon Strecker to get some favorable match-ups and score eight of her 14 points in the last 10 minutes of the second half. Pair that with her 10 rebounds and Strecker had the seventh double-double of her career.
“They absolutely shut down our post,” Wyoming head coach Cindy Fisher said. “I mean, they out-rebounded us by 10 in the second half.”
Strecker hadn’t practiced all week because of back problems, but that didn’t stop her from dominating beneath the basket. Four of Strecker’s 10 rebounds were offensive, which allowed the Rams to get vital second-chances.
One of the differences between this game and the one against Wyoming in Laramie was the ability for CSU to take sophomore guard Ashley Elliott out of the game. While Elliot still managed to put nine points up on the board, it was a far cry from the 24 points she racked up the last time that these two fierce rivals met.
The defensive victory was, for the most part, thanks to the relentless play by seniors Katie Borton and Jackie Campbell.
“Needless to say, we talked about Elliot before the game,” Denker said. “We did a great job on Elliot. Katie Borton and Jackie Campbell worked really well on her.”
Wyoming was led in scoring by senior forward Carrie Bacon, who put up 13 points and went three for four from behind the arc.
“CSU is very good at home,” Fisher said. “But so is everyone in this league; that’s why it’s such a tight race.”
The victory moves CSU to a tie for fifth place with the Cowgirls and puts the Rams in a position to climb up further with the last two games of the regular season coming at home. If the season ended today, CSU would be seeded lower than Wyoming because the Cowgirls’ overall record is better, which is the tie-breaker.
“The seedings in a conference tournament are really important,” Augspurger said. “Utah is going to finish first and it would be tough to have to play them in the second round.”
The Rams will return to action on Wednesday when they take on UNLV at Moby Arena. CSU will look to avenge its 90-71 defeat at the hands of the Rebels earlier this season.