Gov. John Hickenlooper last week proclaimed March 17 “Buffs and Rams are Dancing Day” in recognition of the CSU women’s basketball team and the University of Colorado men’s basketball team both earning well-deserved spots in the NCAA Tournament.
The Rams won 28 consecutive games and were ranked No. 22 going into the NCAA Tournament, but their first trip to the “Big Dance” ended abruptly Saturday night in a 48-45 loss to South Florida in a first-round game at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion.
A tip of the hat to hoops in Colorado
“We hereby proclaim today ‘Buffs and Rams are Dancing Day’ in the State of Colorado. The entire state is excited and proud to see student-athletes from CSU and CU compete on a national stage; CSU and CU fans of all ages should wear school colors on the days their team plays,” the proclamation stated.
The Rams were making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002. The Rams established school and Mountain West records with their 28-game winning streak, and their overall winning percentage (31-2 record, .393) established a school record.
And the Rams very nearly extended what has been a dream season. Trailing by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter, they mounted a furious comeback to climb within three points and had three shots to tie in the final 90 seconds. But when freshman Sofie Tryggedsson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer spun out of the basket the Rams had suffered their first defeat in nearly three months.
Despite the loss, fourth-year coach Ryun Williams had nothing but praise for his Rams, who have won three consecutive Mountain West titles and came within a heartbeat of the school’s first NCAA win in 15 years.
“I love my basketball team,” he said. “For 33 nights this year, these kids have showed up and put themselves in a position to win. Not one bad night, not one time did they not put themselves in a position to win. That’s hard to do; that’s how competitive they are.
“I’m a proud basketball coach. These kids represented Colorado State big time.”