Jamie Patrick wasn’t willing to share this time. Neither was the rest of Colorado State’s 22nd-ranked women’s basketball team.
The Rams, known for their unselfishness on and off the court, had no intentions of sharing their third-consecutive Mountain West regular season title with second-place Fresno State.
They weren’t willing to give up their shot at an undefeated conference season, either.
Led by Patrick, who buried the Bulldogs single-handedly in the fourth quarter, CSU pulled away to late to beat the Bulldogs 68-55 and clinch yet another Mountain West crown, becoming the first team in the league’s 17-year history to win three outright league titles in succession.
The senior from Hutchinson, Kansas, who spent two years at her hometown junior college, struggled to find good looks for the entire first half as she was harassed by Fresno State defenders. CSU’s leading scorer coming into the game was little more than a footnote in the first 20 minutes, registering just two points on a pair of free throws.
The third quarter was only slightly better for Patrick, who doubled her first-half performance with four points coming on a pair of free throws and a layup with 2:55 to go in the quarter.
Something clicked when the quarter number on the scoreboard switched to four though, and Patrick, known for mile-wide grins every time she splashes a 3-pointer, turned it on at just the right time, scoring 15 of her game-high 21 points in the final 10 minutes, outscoring the Bulldogs 15-10 on her own in the final frame.
Whenever the Rams needed a bucket, Patrick was there, hitting three clutch 3-pointers and all six of her fourth quarter free throws to help the Rams turn a two-point deficit to start the quarter into a lead that grew to as many 14 points with 40 seconds to go.
Patrick’s smile grew to maybe the biggest it has ever been when CSU head coach Ryun Williams called a timeout with 26 seconds to go to sub out all five of his starters to a standing ovation. And finally, when the Moby Arena clock hit triple-zeroes, Patrick’s million-kilowatt smile exploded as the Rams stormed onto the court to celebrate with their teammates yet again.
It was the perfect ending for a player who wasn’t sure if she would ever be here.
“That was quite a senior moment, and quite a senior half right there,” Williams said after the game. “You don’t have the season that we’ve had, and you don’t have the second half (we had tonight) without champion seniors, and Jamie was that tonight.”
Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.