Digging itself an early hole too large to crawl out of has been the story of the CSU women’s basketball season and Sunday’s home game against Fresno State proved to be no exception.
The Rams were first to put points on the scoreboard, but they spent the following seven minutes watching the Bulldogs go on a 17-0 run.
This created a deficit they wouldn’t be able to recover from, and Fresno State triumphed 69-58.
“It got off to a very timid start with a lot of turnovers, and that was the key,” CSU coach Ryun Williams said. “They made us pay early.”
Fresno State took advantage of CSU’s early mistakes, scoring 22 points off of 13 CSU turnovers before entering halftime with a 40-22 lead.
“I’d love to say that they were just that good, but if we would have played both halfs like our second half, we would have been in that game,” junior forward Sam Martin said. “That’s something we have to get better at and realize we have the players to match these people.”
The Rams came back from the halftime recess looking like a completely different team than the squad that played the first half.
CSU outscored Fresno 36-29 in the second half, and only turned the basketball over twice compared to Fresno’s eight.
“That’s the team we need to show up more consistently,” Williams said. “They were tough to crack, that zone you know they just extend that thing so much, and when we did crack it, we did get some shots.”
Fresno’s extended zone coverage presented difficulty for the Rams as soon as they hit the half-court line, forcing them to pass the ball backwards and at one point creating a backcourt violation.
While CSU relied heavily on its bench to keep the game within reach, Fresno State did not. The five starters for the Bulldogs all scored in double figures and produced 64 out of Fresno State’s 69 points.
“We’re still definitely working on our depth, and having our depth be something that we can consistently count on,” Fresno State coach Raegan Pebley said. “Colorado State is a good team that will hit wide open shots, and we gave that to them on the perimeter.”
Despite its second half push, CSU lost for the third time in its last four games, falling to 5-13 on the season, and 1-4 in MW play. Fresno State picked up its third straight victory, improving to 13-6 and boosting it to a tied first place MW position with San Diego State.
“We knew coming in that when playing on the road, it’s great to get out to a good start,” Pebley said. “I don’t think Colorado State gets intimidated, we just made some tough shots.”