A devastating loss at Fresno State has long since passed the mind set of the CSU women’s basketball team. With the mentality of taking the season one game at a time, the Rams prevailed over Utah State in an offensive drive from five pivotal scorers.
“I don’t think we came out with any fear. We came out wanting to play basketball and wanting to play together,” senior Sam Martin said. “We stuck with that the entire game and it was awesome to come out like that and get ahead.”
In its fifth Mountain West game of the season, CSU had two choices: bounce back on its home court or fall in its second conference match of the season. From the first five minutes of the game the Rams had no intention of repeating last weeks struggle leading 34-16 with 6:28 remaining in the first half.
From the support of the defense and the drive of the offense together CSU improved its record to 12-4, 4-1MW after a 88-78 victory in Moby Arena in front of a crowd of 1,091 on hand.
“I don’t think we were even looking at the score, we were just playing basketball,” Martin said.
What led to the Rams second-highest scoring first half of the season of 53 points came from a strong hold on defense in the entire first half and majority of the second. While the defense forced turn overs, the hands of Elin Gustavsson, Gritt Ryder, Sam Martin, Caitlin Duffy and Ellen Nystrom contributed to an early lead and three double-doubles.
“It was just about playing togehter. I think we had an assist for every single basket made in that 13-0 run,” Ryder said. “It was just easy stuff; finding the open man, not forcing anything and playing really good defense had us going offensively.”
Matin concluded the night with 17 points, Gustavsson with 16, Gritt with 10, Nystrom with 16 and Caitlin Duffy leading with 20.
Though the defense last season would have struggled with allowing USU leading scorer Jennifer Schlott to 24 points, CSU played the fundamentals in order to limit the Aggie offense. Stephanie Bairstow and Franny Vaaulu had the second-highest total with 10 points each.
“We had her (Schlott) bottled up, I thought our kids were really locked up on how we needed to guard her and I think sometimes our length bothered her,” head coach Ryun Williams said. “Once again, this is fairly unexpected — this is just a really good win. Utah State is a really good basketball team and we controlled for 30 minutes tonight.”
Sports reporter Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org