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Women’s basketball looks to dominate Border War

Photo illustration show an image of both male and female basketball players with the text "In the Paint, Collegian Basketball Coverage"
(Graphic Illustration by Colin Crawford | The Collegian)

Atop the Mountain West Conference, the Colorado State University women’s basketball team will look to continue their winning ways in this year’s Border War.

While there may not be a rowdy crowd at Moby Arena to cheer on this Ram team, they will certainly have everything to play for as they look to continue their reign over the rest of the conference.”

The Rams are on a five-game win streak and have swept Utah State University and Boise State University in their two most recent series. The University of Wyoming is on a two-game win streak after sweeping San Diego State University in their last series. With both teams coming in confident, the stakes will be high as the Cowgirls will look to topple the conference leaders.

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This will be no easy task, as Colorado State has looked dominant in conference play and is currently undefeated at home. It is easy to point to specific players on this CSU team and highlight some of the individual brilliance going on, but the most daunting element of CSU coach Ryun Williams’ squad is their ability to play together.

Three players on the Rams’ roster are averaging double-digit points a game, but nothing says “teamwork” like assists. CSU currently has a team total of 234 assists — the most in the Mountain West. Three dominant offensive players are hard to guard, but a team that is able to move the ball at will and trust each other’s offensive capability is a nightmare for defenses.

The green and gold offense will need to be firing on all cylinders, as they will be up against, statistically, the best defense in the conference. The Cowgirls are holding opponents to an average of 59.5 points a game — four fewer points than the next best defensive team. Despite this, they are just 6-6 in conference play and currently sitting at sixth place in conference standings. Wyoming may dominate on the defensive side of the ball, but it is quite another story looking at their offensive efficiency. 

Wyoming ranks last in the Mountain West in average points scored per game with just 59.7. For context, the Rams are second in the conference in this category, putting up an average of 83.6 points a game. So what will be the deciding factor for this series as a hot offense is pitted against some lockdown defense? Look beyond the arc to see where dominance will be asserted.

In this category, the Rams will have the edge. Totaling 136 made 3-pointers this year, the most in the conference, and only allowing opposing teams to shoot 28.4% from deep, CSU has shown that not only do they have the confidence to attack from deep, but they can fiercely defend it as well.

Wyoming finds itself more toward the middle of the pack with 99 made 3-pointers this year, but what may be their downfall this weekend is their lack of ability to defend the perimeter. Opponents are shooting 36.4% from beyond the arc when playing the Cowgirls, putting them at the bottom of Mountain West teams in this category.

This series will be a chance for the Rams to not only continue their win streak but distance themselves from their competition. The second-place team in the conference, California State University, Fresno, will be playing last-place Utah State. Should the Rams split or lose this series, first place could be up for grabs for the Bulldogs.

While there may not be a rowdy crowd at Moby Arena to cheer on this Ram team, they will certainly have everything to play for as they look to continue their reign over the rest of the conference. 

Scott Nies can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @scott_nies98.

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