LARAMIE, Wyo. — Linda Lappe is used to seeing ugly basketball when her team visits Wyoming.
She's also used to seeing her players figure out how to win despite the lack of style points.
On Monday night, the Colorado women's basketball team played ugly again, but this time lacked the positive result, falling 77-68 to Wyoming at Arena-Auditorium.
"I hate to say it but this is one of the best my teams have played at Wyoming," said Lappe, who fell to 4-1 against the Cowgirls. "It's a tough place to play, and we never play well (in Laramie), but we've always found a way to win ugly, and that's what this team has to learn how to do is win ugly.
"There's a lot of times where things aren't going to go your way and you just have to find a way to do it. We're not ready to win ugly yet."
Senior Jamee Swan had a sensational night, tying her career high with 28 points and pulling down 13 rebounds, but not much else went CU's way.
The Buffaloes (5-6) finished nonconference play with a losing record for the first time in 10 years and had a five-game winning streak against the Cowgirls (7-3) snapped.
After building a nine-point lead late in the first quarter, the Buffs fell apart.
Wyoming went on a 10-2 run late in the second quarter to send the game into halftime tied at 29-29. Then, the Cowgirls went on an 11-0 run late in the third to bury the Buffs, putting them in a 62-46 hole.
"Our defense just kind of fell apart," Swan said after Wyoming went 13-for-18 in the third quarter. "We work a lot on defense. We are a defensive team; that is what we want to do, and our defense just kind of fizzled out. We started really, really slow coming from halftime. We just slowed down on defense and we lost our mental focus."
The Buffs did rally with a 9-0 surge early in the fourth quarter, "but it was too big of a lead to close," freshman Kennedy Leonard said. "That (third) quarter really hurt us."
CU's struggles began in the first half. The Buffs dominated the boards, 28-18, including 16 on the offensive glass, but came away with just five second-chance points in the half.
"We missed a lot of layups," Swan said. "For us, it's just focusing. That's a focus thing."
In the second half, the lack of focus shifted to defense, as Wyoming seemingly did what it wanted. On the night, six Cowgirls scored in double figures, led by Liv Roberts' 13 points.
"We were in mud, it looked like, and they were executing on offense," Lappe said of the third quarter, when Wyoming out-scored the Buffs 33-19.
At this stage of the season, Lappe is seeing her team have too many bad stretches.
"We have to have sustained, focused energy," she said. "You see lapses of unfocused basketball - missed assignments, not executing plays and all those sorts of things."
Now, instead of taking some momentum into Pac-12 play, which starts Jan. 2, the Buffs will look to regroup between now and then.
"There's always a lesson in losing," Swan said. "The lesson from this one would have to be we started pretty fast, we got to the rim and we did what we wanted, but we need to learn to finish.
"Going into Pac-12, this is a great lesson to learn. I wish we would have learned it a little earlier."
Swan's double-double was the 13th of her career and second in a row. ... Swan added three blocks and three steals. ... Leonard finished with 18 points. ... CU finished with a season-high 20 offensive rebounds. ... The Buffs will take the next five days off for the holiday break and resume practice on Dec. 27. ... CU is 37-12 all-time against Wyoming.
Wyoming 77, Colorado 68
At Arena-AuditoriumCOLORADO (5-6)
Huggins 2-9 0-0 4, Swan 12-18 4-6 28, Thomas 2-6 0-0 5, Leonard 6-16 4-4 18, Smith 2-7 2-2 7, Ellis 1-3 1-2 3, Robinson 0-5 1-2 1, Watts 0-0 0-0 0, Correal 1-5 0-0 2, Beard-Fails 0-3 0-0 3. Totals 26-72 12-16 68.WYOMING (7-3)
Gomez 5-9 1-2 12, Campbell 3-4 3-4 11, Dent 2-10 7-10 11, Roberts 4-8 4-6 13, Kelley 6-9 0-0 12, Kujala 0-0 0-0 0, Baker 4-11 2-2 11, Snodgrass 3-5 0-1 6, Ligocki 0-0 0-0 0, Tucker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-57 17-25 77.Score-by-quarters
Colorado 20 9 19 20 — 68
Wyoming 12 17 33 15 — 77
3-point goals - CU 4-12 (Leonard 2-4, Thomas 1-1, Smith 1-1, Huggins 0-6), Wyoming 6-14 (Campbell 2-3, Roberts 1-1, Snodgrass 1-2, Baker 1-3, Gomez 1-4, Dent 0-1). Rebounds - CU 42 (Swan 13), Wyoming 39 (Kelley 7). Assists - CU 11 (Leonard 4), Wyoming 18 (Dent 8). Total fouls - CU 21, Wyoming 11. Fouled out - Robinson. A - 2,539.