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Colorado State wins triple overtime thriller vs. Cowgirls

Mar 17, 2014 - From staff reports

LAS VEGAS -- The history of the Border War for both men's and women's basketball spans more than 100 years and 300 games.

But never has a game between the University of Wyoming and Colorado State played out like it did Friday with so much on the line. The story was reported by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle News.

The Cowgirls and Rams waged a battle for the ages in the semifinals of the Mountain West tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Forty minutes were not enough to decide one of two spots in the MW title game. Neither were 45. Or 50.

In a game that featured 15 ties, five lead changes and eight players fouling out, top-seeded CSU outlasted No. 5 UW 95-92 in triple overtime.

It was the first three-overtime game in MW tournament history on either the women's or men's side.

It was also the second triple-OT game in UW history. The other came in the semifinals of Wyoming's WNIT title season in 2006-07, an 89-79 win over Kansas State.

Friday's game set MW tourney records: for most overtimes played; most points scored by one team (both CSU and UW broke the old record); most combined points; most fouls; most free throws made and attempted; and most field goals made and attempted.

It left both players and coaches searching to explain what happened over nearly three hours of court time.

"The game just went up and down through every overtime," UW senior guard Chelan Landry said. "We were just trying to get over the hump. It seemed like we were ... always down two or three, trying to catch back up."

Added CSU coach Ryun Williams: "Wyoming made a lot of big shots, and our kids made a lot of big shots. You just saw a lot of courageous student-athletes out there tonight. Fun to be a part of it. Proud to be a part of it."

The Cowgirls (20-11) fell behind midway through the first half and trailed by 12 points at the half.

And CSU (25-6) still led by 11 points with just under 15 minutes to play.

But the Cowgirls, led by Landry, slowly started chipping away. The UW senior didn't score in the first half, but she finished with a career-high 21 points over the second half and overtimes.

UW trailed 61-56 with 25 seconds to go in regulation, but it got three points from Landry and two free throws by junior Kaitlyn Mileto with 4.8 seconds left to force overtime.

Wyoming held a brief 71-70 lead with 1:32 to play in the first OT, but it needed a basket by senior backup Kaylee Hoffman with 3.3 seconds left to force a second extra period.

UW trailed by as many as five points in the second overtime, but a great drive and pass from Landry found freshman Kaylie Rader alone for a layup with 1.9 seconds left to send the game into another five minutes. The Cowgirls led 88-86 early in the third OT, but they found themselves down by four with 12.8 seconds to play.

UW still had one last chance to tie, but Landry's long 3-pointer bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

The Cowgirls played the third overtime without four starters.

"There are plays to be made and there are plays that are left on the floor," UW coach Joe Legerski said. "We just needed the ball to bounce our way one more time."

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