In front of 3,268 fans, the Wyoming Cowgirls (14-2, 6-7 MWC) handed the CSU women’s basketball team (9-18, 4-10 MWC) their 10th conference loss of the season in the second Border War in Laramie, Wyo.
“Their (Wyoming’s) crowd was into it. This is a good environment for us to play in because this is an environment you have to be able to win in,” head coach Kristen Holt said. “We didn’t shoot well in the first half. We did not look too sharp against their zone defense.”
Wednesday night’s game, which the Rams lost 71-62, mirrored the first contest between the two rival Mountain West Conference schools on Jan. 24, when CSU attempted a late comeback but fell at the end.
The Rams ended the game with four three-point shots, three by sophomore guard Bonnie Barbee and one by freshman guard Kim Mestdagh.
“Basically any open shot you can get goes at that point. I got a little hot at the end and I got lucky,” Barbee said.
The final play of the matchup was a blocked jumper by Hilary Carlson of Wyoming. The Cowgirls ended the night with 10 blocked shots against CSU, with Carlson leading the way with five blocks.
The Rams pulled to within five, their closest margin since trailing by five at the 10:50 mark of the first half, after Mestdagh’s last three-pointer.
“I totally thought we were going to get it. I thought they were going to miss their free throws and we were going to claw our way back in,” Barbee said.
“I thought we had a very good chance of coming back, we just ran out of time. We can always rely on Bonnie to take those shots and she always nails them,” senior forward Carine Reimink said.
Wyoming led CSU by 16 twice in the second half, once at the 11:43 mark and again with 14:09. The Rams entered the locker room at the half trailing Wyoming by 13 when Emma Langford hit a jumper with a minute left in the half.
The first half turned into an all Cowgirl performance as Wyoming sank seven threes against the Rams defense. Six minutes into the first half, the Cowgirls began a 13-0 run on CSU and never looked back.
The biggest killers for CSU were the seven shots the Cowgirls made from beyond the arc in the first half. However, CSU’s defense did not allow a single three in the second half.
“If I could change something, it would be that we needed to be up on them (Wyoming) tighter. They did make threes in our faces and we talked about them not getting threes off,” coach Holt said.
The Rams ended the game shooting 35.4 percent from the field, while Wyoming sank 39.1 percent of their shots.
CSU sent the Cowgirls to the line 33 times, and Wyoming made the free ones count, as they went 28-33 from the line. The Rams fouled the Cowgirls 18 times in the second half.
Wyoming ended Wednesday’s game with four players scoring in double figures. Langford led the Cowgirls in scoring with a total of 17 points and six rebounds. Hillary Carlson was second in scoring with 16 points and led Wyoming in rebounding with nine boards, while Randi Richardson and Kristen Scheffler each scored 12 points.
For the Rams, Barbee was the leading scorer with 11 points and Reimink hit double figures with 10 points. Freshman guard Kim Mestdagh was the leading rebounder for CSU with nine rebounds.
Next up for the Rams will be this Saturday when the team travels to face off against the New Mexico Lobos (18-7, 7-5 MWC).
“It is going to be a really good game and they are a really good team. We have to respect their players,” Reimink said. “We have a chance to win just as good as anyone else and if we come out focused and play like we can we will have a good chance.”
Women’s basketball beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.