Throw out the record books, and especially the recent results.
Colorado State and Wyoming face off Saturday in Laramie in the annual Border War, and despite CSU’s 23-1 record and 20-game winning streak, the Rams are adamant they aren’t overlooking their northern rivals.
CSU is fresh off of a 91-64 demolition of Utah State in which the Rams broke the school record for consecutive wins, which was previously held by the 1998-99 Becky Hammon-led team.
The Cowgirls, on the other hand, sit at 5-9 in league play and 12-12 overall, good for eighth place in the Mountain West standings. After major losses due to graduation and an injury to senior Jordan Kelley, Wyoming has fell on hard times and has now lost its last five meetings with CSU.
Still though, players insist the recent history doesn’t mean anything.
“It’s a special game,” junior forward Ellen Nystrom said. “There’s lot of emotion and it just gives more energy and gets us more hyped for the game. It’s always hard playing there, and it’s always a tough place to play, but I think we’re ready and we’ve proved that.
Maybe unlike any other fan base in the Mountain West, Wyoming had a rabid interest in women’s hoops, and the Cowgirls rank near the top or at the top of the league each year in attendance. Though they’ve struggled this season, the Cowgirls still manage to have the second-best home attendance in the league behind New Mexico. That kind of attendance, according to CSU head coach Ryun Williams, is why Wyoming is so hard to beat at the Arena Auditorium.
“Laramie and New Mexico, they outdo the rest of the league,” Williams said. “Hopefully someday they’re asking the question of who rivals the Rams’ atmosphere. Those two environments are just so difficult. You don’t want those two places to get momentum and to get loud, so that’s why you’ve got to be on your game. You have to really go in there and concentrate and do things right. It really gives them an added advantage, and we have to be able to take that away.”
For most of CSU’s roster, when they showed up the Border War was just another game on the schedule. Of the Rams’ 15 players, just two hail from the state of Colorado and just six come from the United States. But as players have become accustomed to the rivalry, it has begun to take on more and more meaning. It is no longer just some game against Wyoming, it’s the Border War, with an emphasis on the war.
“When you first come in to the program, you see ‘Border War’ on the schedule and you wonder what it’s all about,” said senior guard Jamie Patrick, a transfer from Hutchinson Community College. “Then (your teammates) tell you about it and before you even play them, you hate them because it’s the Border. That’s how it’s always been, and now that we are a part of CSU, it’s definitely a game we have a lot of respect for and take very seriously.”
Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.