Wyoming upsets No. 1 CSU in Border War

022214_WbballBorderwar1_NLOn a snowy Saturday afternoon in Laramie, Wyoming the CSU women’s basketball team fell to the University of Wyoming in the Border War for the 12th straight year in a row.

In what was predicted to be another solid CSU win, the Rams were beat on virtually every play by the No. 5 conference ranked Cowgirls, 75-49.

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Saturday’s game is the first loss the Rams have suffered since January, officially breaking its 10 game winning streak.

“We were just out of sync and we were that way from the get go,” head coach Ryun Williams said. “But give Wyoming credit. They ambushed us early and got us on our heels but we didn’t respond like we are used to responding.”

In what would have been the game the Rams clenched the Mountain West playoff spot, CSU looked slow on both offense and defense from the get go and was never able to find their rhythm.

The past two games for the Rams were come behind wins in which CSU was able to recover from its deficits. However, winning wasn’t in the cards for the Rams in this much anticipated rivalry CSU still has the opportunity to defeat the Cowgirls on its home turf.

“We let them go off and they started getting momentum and we didn’t respond like we should have,” forward Sam Martin said. “I think that showed. They kept rolling and we never responded and we just got down on ourselves.”

Wyoming was hot from the perimeter the second that the game tipped off. Guard Marquelle Dent of Wyoming hit all of her shots in the early minutes of the game, putting the first 12-points on the board for the Cowgirls.

When the first half came to a close, the Rams were down by four points 25-29 and still looked as if they were still in the game. At the start of the second half, guard Ellen Nystrom put another two points on the board for the Rams, attempting to get the momentum of the game swinging in CSU’s direction.

However, whatever progress the Rams attempted to make in the early minutes of the second half were immediately shut down by the Cowgirl’s unstoppable perimeter shooting.

In a period of just four and a half minutes, Cowgirl guard and deadly shooter Kayla Woodward scored 10 points. Putting wyoming up by 11 points and officially closing out the Rams for the

“Woodward came out at the beginning of that second half and she was just crazy,” Williams said. “She showed why she was preseason player of the year in the conference. Thats a big time shooting guard right there and you give her a little room or break concentration a little bit and she’ll make you pay and thats exactly what she did. They all got going and we never recovered”

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In addition to Woodward’s performance, Wyoming guard Kaitlyn Mileto contributed to the Cowgirl’s lead by sinking three 3-point shots.

At the end of the night, Wyoming’s shooting was nothing less than on point, shooting 49 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line. These stats clearly outshining the Ram’s 32 percent field goal shooting and 15 percent 3-point shooting.

With this loss, Wyoming celebrated a huge upset by knocking off the No. 1 team in the conference, but took this win with humility and a grain of salt.

“The biggest thing I think about and tell our team is, it always counts one win or one loss and that is the biggest thing I look at.” Wyoming head coach Joe Legerski said. “To have a great season you need to find a way to win a number of games, and this is just one game that is on our schedule. It is very important for this program to defend home court and continue to talk about having breakthroughs on the road.”

But with this loss, comes personal experiences that will leave a mark on some CSU players. This Border War marks the fourth and final Border war for senior Sam martin, ending her CSU career without a rival win against Wyoming.

“It’s disappointing,” Martin said. “This was the year that we definitely could have done it and we just didn’t come out and play like we should.”

In addition to a loss that is all too familiar, there are many girls on CSU who are experience the pain of a rival loss for the very first time.

“I knew the importance of this game but I think to fully understand it you have to be here and you need to see it,” guard AJ Newton said. “It is really disappointing because we were the group to come here and win but I think we have a chance to beat them at Moby and we’re still doing ok, but we just need to bounce back.”

In two week’s time, the Rams will face the Cowgirl’s again for a rematch at Moby, and saying that the Rams will have something to prove is nothing short of an understatement.

In the mean time between these two games, the Rams look to correct the flaws that cost them a win in Laramie.

“We just need to respect everyone and just realize that thats a really good team and they’re all capable players,” Newton said. “We can’ just focus on Mileto on Woodward because they’re all capable players.”

Even though this loss disrupts the Ram’s winning streak and attempt at clinching a conference playoff spot, they look to re-establish themselves against Wyoming in their rematch that is a short two weeks away.

“I think this is a humbling experience,” Martin said. “We really didn’t want to lose this but to lose a game like this right now is a learning experience going into the Mountain West Conference Tournament and post season.”

“This one’s going to hurt,” Newton said. “But I think its the fuel we need to get us back in it.”

Break Out: Wyoming Top Performers

Kayla Woodward: FG: 6-15, 3-Ptr: 4-6, FT-FTA: 2-2 7 Rebounds, 18 Total Points

Kaitlyn Mileto:FG:4-12, 3-Ptr:3-6,FT-FTA:2-2 3 Rebounds, 13 Total Points

Marquelle Dent:FG:6-15, 3-Ptr. 1-3, FT-FTA:3-4, 1 Rebounds, 28 Total Points

Collegian Basketball Beat Reporter Hannah Cornish can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter at @Hmcornish.