* University of Wyoming press release

FORT COLLINS, Colo., – It was a battle until the very end, but the Wyoming Cowgirls came up just short Saturday on the road at CSU, dropping a 75-70 tussle with the Rams.

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The Cowgirls got the first hoop of the game before the turnover bug hit and CSU took an early 6-4 lead. The Rams led 12-8 at a late first quarter media timeout as UW had four early turnovers. Out of the timeout, Colorado State extended the lead out to 18-8 after one as the Cowgirls continued to turn the ball over and couldn’t get a shot to fall from the outside.

Wyoming was able to get the lead down to five points, 20-15 after CSU got the first points of the second quarter. After Emily Mellema buried the Cowgirls’ second 3-pointer of the game, the deficit was trimmed to just 22-20. The Rams led 24-20 at the media timeout. The rest of the half saw the two teams trade a couple of baskets as Colorado State led 28-24 at halftime.

The two teams traded 3-pointers back-and-forth to open the second half as Tess Barnes hit both of Wyoming’s. The Rams wouldn’t allow the Cowgirls to get over the hump however and led 41-35 at the media as UW struggled to get a stop defensively. Following the timeout, the Cowgirls hit back-to-back 3-pointers and things were tied at 41-41. After that, Wyoming took its first lead since early on, as the hot shooting from the outside continued. Mellema’s third three of the game pushed the Cowgirls in front, 48-41, forcing a Ram timeout with 2:33 left in the quarter.

CSU came out swinging after the timeout though, scoring the next eight points and surging in front, 49-48. The Cowgirls led 51-49 heading to the fourth after three made free throws to end the quarter. Despite being hit with some tough whistles in the third, UW still had its highest-scoring quarter of the season with 27 points.

Barnes again opened the scoring for the Cowgirl to begin the fourth. After UW went up by five, the two teams started trading baskets before the Rams would reclaim the lead, 60-56 with a run of their own. After a Wyoming timeout, the Cowgirls answered right back with five-straight of their own before the two teams started trading hoops again from there.

The Rams would respond again after that though and pushed out in front 66-61 at the media timeout. UW would get another 3-pointer from Barnes to cut the deficit down to two. CSU and Wyoming would keep exchanging points late, as an Allyson Fertig layup with 32.7 seconds left, brought the Cowgirls tow within one, 71-70. The Rams would never let the Cowgirls get over that final hump though in the final two-plus minutes and hung on late for the win.

Mellema led all scorers with 25 on the day and hit four 3-pointers. In two games this season against CSU, Mellema is averaging 26 points and has 11 made threes. Barnes closed with 21 points on 8-of-14 from the floor and 5-for-9 from beyond-the-arc. The duo become the first Cowgirl teammates since Alba Sanchez Ramos and Quinn Weidemann to score 20-plus in the same game. Those two each had 21 against UCLA in the 2022 Women’s NIT. Fertig closed the game with eight points and eight rebounds.

Both teams ended up shooting the ball well on the day, as UW shot 26-of-55 and CSU shot 27-for-55. The Cowgirls went 10-for-26 (38-percent) from 3-point range while Colorado State made 4-of-13. The Rams, who were called for nine fewer fouls in the contest, went 17-of-19 at the free-throw line while the Cowgirls went 8-of-11. CSU also had a 38-26 advantage in paint points and outscored the Cowgirls 25-9 in points off turnovers.

Next up for Wyoming, is a Wednesday night meeting with UNLV at 6:30 as the Cowgirls play both at home next week.

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