Fifteen down, three to go.
Facing maybe its toughest remaining test this season, the Colorado State women’s basketball team gutted out an ugly, yet crucial 49-48 win Wednesday night on the road at New Mexico.
New Mexico had a chance to win it in the final seconds, but Khadija Shumpert’s turnaround jump shot banked off the glass and bounced out, allowing the Rams to steal a rare win at one of the toughest venues in the Mountain West.
CSU improved to 25-1 overall and 15-0 in Mountain West play, all while extending its school-record winning streak to 22 games with three Mountain West games to play.
Senior forward Keyora Wharry led the Rams with 15 points, while Elin Gustavsson pitched in 10 points and six rebounds, and Alana Arias added eight points and 11 rebounds.
The Rams opened the game just 2 for their first 11 while falling behind by as many as eight points in the first quarter. CSU was able to cut the deficit back down to three before halftime, but Cherise Beynon, who led all scorers with 11 points in the first half, kept the Lobos in front, scoring their last five points of the half.
Despite holding the Lobos to just seven points in the second quarter, CSU couldn’t capitalize on its defense, scoring just 12 points of its own in the second quarter.
CSU came out firing in the second half, quickly tying the game before taking their first lead of the game with 5:56 to play in the third quarter. After trading baskets for the next few minutes, CSU made its run, scoring 10 unanswered points to take a 38-29 lead with 8:08 to play.
The Rams extended their lead to 45-33 on a 3-pointer by Stine Austgulen with 5:43 to go, and it seemed as though CSU would cruise to another win. Beynon and Shumpert had different plans, and the duo scored New Mexico’s final 13 points as the Lobos chipped into CSU’s lead, cutting it to just one point with 49 seconds to go.
CSU tried to run the clock out and get a shot late in the clock, but Keyora Wharry was unable to get one off, and New Mexico took over with 19 seconds to go.
Beynon got a good look from about 15 feet out, but her shot bounced off the front of the rim and after a scramble for the loose ball, referees ruled the ball out of bounds off of CSU. That set up Shumpert’s last-second shot out of a sideline out of bounds.
CSU now faces tenth-place Nevada Saturday at Moby Arena with a chance to secure a share of its third Mountain West title in a row.
Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.