Jamee Swan, left, and the Colorado Buffaloes play their final test before Pac-12 play today against Wyoming in Laramie.
Jamee Swan, left, and the Colorado Buffaloes play their final test before Pac-12 play today against Wyoming in Laramie. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Facing Wyoming is never easy for the Colorado women's basketball team.

Visiting Laramie could be exactly what the Buffaloes need, however.

CU (5-5) will play at the Cowgirls (6-3) on Monday night in the nonconference finale.

"This will build character," CU head coach Linda Lappe said. "Whenever you play Wyoming, it builds character. You have to be tough. You have to figure out ways to win ugly. You just have to want it.

"It doesn't matter if it's home or away, playing them always builds a lot of character and really helps the toughness of our team."

The Buffs could use a jolt of toughness with Pac-12 play around the corner. CU doesn't open conference play until Jan. 2, but Monday's game is the last tune-up for the Pac-12.

"It's going to be imperative we get a win," junior Lauren Huggins said. "We need to get that mindset now. We have to go up there and attack. Of course you want to be above .500 going into Pac-12 play. Having that one last win, a little bit more momentum and that'll carry us over into Christmas break. It'll motivate us to work harder."

The Buffs are going to have to work hard just to get this win, though. Wyoming is 4-1 at home this season and the Cowgirls won't make life easy on the Buffs.

"If their crowd is loud, they're going to be loud and they're going to be energized," CU senior Jamee Swan said. "We have to figure out how to shut that down and bring our own energy. We have to be road warriors. It'll be a lot of fun, but it'll also be really challenging."


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Regardless of the crowd, the Buffs know the importance of this win as they look to avoid going into conference play with a losing record for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

"You always want to win the Front Range; you want to be the best, and we include Wyoming in that," Huggins said. "

"We've got to get a win. Getting to play in an environment like that for the very last (non-conference) game, it should inspire that competitiveness within us and be able to give us that last push before we go to Pac-12."

There's one other benefit to getting a win Monday.

"It's always nice to go into Christmas with a win," Swan said.

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.