There was 3:26 remaining in CSU’s game Wednesday night when the Moby Arena crowd stood on their feet as the Rams started to pull away from Nevada for a Mountain West win.
“When the crowd got up during the last three minutes, we strung a couple stops together,” head coach Ryun Williams said. “That was crucial. That was absolutely crucial, and we needed them tonight.”
With the energy from the announced attendance of 1,202 at its pinnacle, senior Sam Martin put up two quick layups, pushing the Rams out to a 63-59 lead.
“I think the crowd was huge,” Martin said. “We built off the crowd and we built off each other and I think that was big for the team.”
After struggling the majority of the second half in what was a chase for the lead by the Rams, CSU managed to come out victorious, 71-64. The win lifted the No. 1 conference-ranked Rams to extend their winning streak to five, winning 11 of their last 12 match-ups.
However, it was by no means a “give-me” game for the Rams. During the second half, the Wolfpack increased their field goal percentage from 29.7 to 40.5 and extended their rebounds by 22, 12 of them coming on the offensive end.
“I felt like when they got going, it was contagious,” junior Gritt Ryder said. “It wasn’t just one player. They’re a really good team, and that’s hard to guard.”
With the Rams being out-rebounded and out-scored for much of the second half, they found themselves frustrated and needing a spark.
“It’s frustrating when you’re having to guard 25 seconds and then another 25 seconds,” Ryder said. “Rebounding isn’t a skill, i’ts a toughness and I think that’s something we really need to do.”
Fortunately, that spark and toughness came in the form of Martin’s offense. Sinking the last four shots of the game, Martin was able to put away the win and lead CSU women’s basketball to their first winning season in over a decade.
“I think we calmed down a little bit. We got on a little bit of that run on offense and we started getting stops and getting rebounds and just got in our groove. We started playing together, so it helped at the end,” Martin said.
With another win under their belt and the best season the program has seen in years, the Rams are satisfied with their win but are not calling the season a success just yet.
“That was a character win by our kids,” Williams said. “But we’re here to turn this into a winning program, and we’re doing that.”
Collegian Reporter Hannah Cornish can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breakout: Win loss record since 2005
05-06 season: 9 W 20 L
06-07 season: 8 W 21 L
07-08 season: 4 W 28 L
08-09 season: 10 W 21 L
09-10 season: 13 W 17 L
10-11 season:14 W 16 L
11-12 season:13 W 17 L
12-13 season: 11 W 19 L