The Colorado State women’s basketball team struggled to find consistency on both ends of the court in its 53-49 defeat at the hands of northern rival Wyoming Saturday afternoon in Moby Arena.
The Rams (11-6, 3-3 MW) had a hard time getting open looks in the first quarter, often settling for jump shots late in the shot clock. It was the Rams’ defense that kept the game close in the early going holding the Cowgirls (11-5, 4-1 Mountain West) to 30 percent from the field in the first quarter, which ended in a 9-7 advantage for Wyoming.
Coming out of the break, CSU got into a rhythm on offense with a driving layup by redshirt freshman Grace Colaivalu and a 3-pointer by redshirt senior Stine Austgulen early in the quarter. The Rams would fight back to take a one-point lead halfway through the quarter. The Cowgirls answered back, however, ending the half on an 8-0 run to balloon their lead to 22-14 at half.
The Rams came out of halftime a different team, upping the defensive pressure and turning turnovers into points on the other end. Senior Veronika Mirkovic led the scoring in the quarter hitting a mid-range jumper and a pair of free throws. The Rams cut Wyoming’s lead to just one halfway through the third quarter. However, a serious of costly errors allowed the Cowgirls to extend their lead to seven heading into the final frame.
CSU once again started the quarter strong, this time led by sophomore guard Jordyn Edwards who converted a pair of contested layups and knocked down shots at the charity stripe. With three minutes remaining in the game, Edwards nailed a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one.
Despite the comeback attempt, Wyoming’s leading scorer and Denver native Bailee Cotton hit two free throws to clinch the Cowgirls’ victory.
After the game, Ryun Williams praised Wyoming as one of the best teams in the conference that is able to control the game’s tempo.
“Our second half was outstanding, the effort, the energy, we had some good shot making from our younger kids,” Williams said. “We just dug ourselves too big of a hole.”
Edwards led all Rams in scoring with 12 points including a pair of threes, followed by redshirt freshman Liah Davis who racked up 11 points and 6 rebounds with a strong performance in the post. The two young players were critical to the Rams’ late push in the fourth quarter.
“On defense is where I like to bring my energy,” Edwards said. “Letting my defense lead to my offense leads to more breaks”.
Williams believes that the team is maturing right in front of him and Edwards and Davis are a big part of that.
The Rams continue MW play as they travel to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force Wednesday, Jan. 17. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the broadcast can be seen on the Mountain West Network.
Collegian sports reporter Tyler Johnson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TylerGjohnson20.