The CSU women’s basketball team (9-17, 4-9 MWC) travels north to Laramie, Wyo., to take on the Wyoming Cowgirls (13-12, 5-7 MWC) for the second Border War of the season.
“We got down to them (Wyoming) the first time and our defense was so poor that I would think we could play better than that. If we can play with the intent and the energy we had against Air Force I think we will be fine in the game,” head coach Kristen Holt said.
The Cowgirls won the first Border War on January 24 in Moby Arena 64-61 after a late comeback attempt by the Rams fell short.
“We should have won that game and that makes it more like we have to win this game. We have to come out aggressive like we did against Air Force and be ready to play,” freshman Kim Mestdagh said. “No open threes because that is what killed us last time.”
The last win for the Rams against the Cowgirls was on Jan. 28, 2005 in Moby, where CSU came away with a 61-51 win. At the time the Rams lead the all-time series, with 40 wins over Wyoming in 75 meetings between the two schools.
The Cowgirls comes into tonight’s game after a loss to TCU Saturday afternoon that ended a two-game winning streak for them.
Sophomore Hillary Carlson leads the Cowgirls in scoring this season, with an average of 11.5 points per game. Carlson also is fourth in Mountain West Conference in shooting percentage, connecting on 50 percent of her shots this season.
In the last matchup between the two schools, Emma Langford came off the bench to lead the Cowgirls in scoring with 18 points and five rebounds and Carlson was second with 17 points.
In that game Wyoming connected on seven of 22 three-point attempts and the Cowgirls were also sent to the line 32 times, sinking 17 of their free throws.
“They (Wyoming) are good shooters and the game-plan is to keep them off the three-point line. If they are going to beat us they are going to beat us off of twos,” coach Holt said. “I think we are quicker than they are defensively and in running in transition.”
“This time we have to play better defense but not foul them (Wyoming),” senior captain Kandy Beemer said. “It is fun to play there and I want to win there really bad. We will give it our best.”
Senior forward Britney Minor and junior Juanise Cornell were the only Rams to have productive games on Jan. 24. Minor and Cornell scored a total of 41 points and 16 rebounds, while no other Ram scored more than five points.
After a 65-54 win last Saturday night over the Air Force Falcons, the Rams are set to end Wyoming’s eight game winning streak against CSU.
“I thought our defense was good in that game,” coach Holt said about Saturday’s performance. “If we can shut down Wyoming from shooting threes and not put them at the line, I think we will be in good shape.”
Saturday night Minor led the Rams in scoring with 15 points against the Falcons’ defense. It was Minor’s first time coming off the bench this season, as she went down with a knee injury the previous game in Utah and was held in reserve.
Cornell was second in scoring against Air Force with 10 points, giving her an average of 10.9 points per game on the season. Since scoring 19 points in the first matchup against the Falcons on Jan. 20, Cornell has hit double figures in seven of the Rams last nine games.
Mestdagh received the start in the last game after impressing coach Holt in practice. After connecting on two three-pointers last game, Mestdagh now sits second behind Beemer with 43 three-pointers on the season and is fourth on the list of most threes made by a CSU freshman in a single season.
“It was exciting. It has been a while since I started,” Mestdagh said.
The Rams are looking for their fifth win in conference play, which could give CSU a better seed heading into the conference tournament.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. tonight in Wyoming’s Arena Auditorium.
Women’s basketball beat reporter Justin Warren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.