LARAMIE, Wyo. - Outside, negative temperatures and raging winds chilled Laramie, Wyo., but inside the Arena-Auditorium, the No. 11 Colorado women’s basketball team burned a fire in the second half to power them to a 63-59 victory over the Wyoming Cowgirls.
Colorado, 7-0, wins its 31st straight regular nonconference game and improves its all-time record against Wyoming to 36-9, winning the last four in the series.
Brittany Wilson led the Buffs and finished the game with 19 points. Arielle Roberson added 13 points and 12 rebounds, her fourth career double-double and the Buffaloes’ first of the season. Kayla Woodward recorded 17 points for the Cowgirls.
Wyoming (4-2) tied the game up at 57 with 57 seconds left on the clock after a dribble-drive through the lane by Chelan Landry. Lauren Huggins missed a shot on the Colorado end, but Wilson came up with the rebound in a crowd in the paint and scored on a layup to give the Buffs a two point lead with 35 seconds remaining.
From there, the Buffs and Cowgirls traded free throws. Tough defense disallowed a shot from by Kaitlyn Mileto and brought Lexy Kresl to the charity stripe. She made both free throws to give the Buffs a 61-57 lead.
A foul on the other end put the Cowgirls at the line, and Fallon Lewis capitalized to cut the Buffs lead to two once more. Jasmine Sborov was fouled with five seconds left on the clock, and she went to the line and made both free throws to seal the 63-59 victory.
“You got to give our players a lot of credit,” Colorado head coach Linda Lappe said. “We figured it out, we bared down, and I think Arielle [Roberson] and Brittany [Wilson] got some key shots. We were resilient again. It's nice to be able to pull out with wins. Lot of things to take away, but I’m proud of the way we stepped up.”
The Buffs got off to a rough start and struggled to drain a bucket. They fell behind and could not match Wyoming’s quick four points. Rachel Hargis made both of her free throws to narrow the Cowgirls’ lead to 4-2. Just before the first media timeout, Huggins gave the Buffs their first lead at 5-4 after draining a big three.
From there, Colorado continued to maintain its lead in the first half with some big plays. Hargis gobbled a ball up defensively at half-court, and the Buffs turned it around to add a three from Kresl. A Wilson 3-pointer put the Buffs ahead 13-8 at the 12:10 mark.
Colorado held the lead for a majority of the first half, but the Cowgirls closed on a 10-2 run in the final 4:26, capped off by a Kaylee Hoffman 3-pointer at the buzzer, to take a 27-21 lead at the break.
The Buffs shot 26.7 percent from the field in the first half, their lowest in a half this season and were outrebounded 21-19.
In the second half, Wyoming opened the scoring with a Woodward 3-pointer. Soon afterward, the Buffs went on an 11-0 run, including Huggins’ 18th trey of the season. The Buffs took a 32-30 lead with 16:44 remaining in the half, but the Cowgirls evened the score once more. Huggins let another three fly to give the Buffs a 35-32 advantage going into the media timeout.
“We talked at halftime,” Lappe said of the spark in the second half. “I just thought we were playing fearful. I felt like there was a lot of fear in everything we did. We told them to cut it out and play aggressively. We have to be aggressive, attacking the paint, taking care of the fear. There are a lot of things to take out of this game. We just have to do what we do.”
Wilson added another three from the left corner to give the Buffs a 40-32 edge with 14:06, their largest lead to that point.
But Wyoming came back strong. After a Woodward missed free throw, Hoffman grabbed the rebound to keep possession. Mileto then drilled a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 40-36.
Roberson stopped Wyoming’s momentum with a jumper that sparked an 11-2 Colorado run ended by five straight points from Wilson.
The Buffaloes kept their lead near double digits until one final run by the Cowgirls in the final five minutes. Wyoming embarked on a 10-0 run, including a pair of tough shots by Landry that tied the score at 57 leading to the Buffaloes final clutch shots.
“We have to come out and play tough every single game. We want to play how we play, we want to get the ball moving, and we just want to play. We are going to take the punches, the good, the bad, and we are going to make it a great year,” Wilson said.
The Buffaloes will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. by hosting Illinois at the Coors Events Center.