After reaching second place in the Mountain West standings, the Ramsâ€™ hopes of winning the regular season conference title for the first time since the 2001-02 season took a step back on Saturday, as the Rams fell in Wyoming 66-62 in overtime.
CSU (13-13, 8-3 MW) traded scores with Wyoming (11-13, 7-4 MW) throughout the second half, with neither team getting a lead of more than four points within the last nine minutes of regulation.
The Rams were able to get a two-point lead and possession of the ball with 18 seconds left in the second half, when Wyoming fouled Hayley Thompson, sending her to the line for two shots.
Thompson made one of two free throws, and then Wyomingâ€™s Chaundra Sewell made her first three-pointer of the season to tie the game with six seconds to play.
â€œI, like, never thought that she wouldâ€™ve shot it in her life,â€ Thompson said of Sewellâ€™s three-pointer. â€œI thought I was close enough to deter the shot, like I fell down to contest it, but she just made it. Itâ€™s a clutch shot that she made.â€
Sewellâ€™s three eventually sent the game to overtime, when the Rams could not survive a 7-3 Wyoming run in the last two minutes of overtime.
With victories from Wyoming and UNLV, which beat New Mexico 65-60 on Saturday, CSU now holds a one-game lead for second place in the conference and are two games behind conference-leader San Diego State.
The Rams will need to improve their interior defense in order to finish the season near the top of the conference standings. Wyoming had all three starting forwards reach double-digits in scoring on Saturday, partially due to a season-high 25 fouls committed by CSU.
In order to improve defensively, the Rams need to stay out of foul trouble both collectively and individually, as two of their key players, Meghan Heimstra and Kim Mestdagh, fouled out on Saturday in the second half.
â€œIt certainly doesnâ€™t help when we have those key players getting into foul trouble,â€ CSU coach Kristen Holt said. â€œWe need them in the game, and when theyâ€™re not then we have people in there that maybe donâ€™t play as many minutes or are playing at a different position.â€
With only three games left in the season, the Rams will now travel to play New Mexico on Wednesday, before a showdown with San Diego State at home on Saturday afternoon.
â€œWe want to go into the conference tournament ranked as high as possible in conference,â€ forward Kelly Hartig said. â€œNow every game that we play, since we only have three left, is gonna be that much more important.â€
Womenâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Result: CSU: 62 Wyoming: 66
Up Next: CSU vs. New Mexico
Where: Albuquerque, N.M.
When: Wednesday at 7 p.m.