It didn’t matter who had the ball or where they were on the court. When the CSU women’s basketball team put up shots, it was all net.
With every basket, turnover and San Diego State timeout, the crowd of 1,688 inside Moby Arena rose as the Rams continued to dominate in every minute.
Saturday was the final matchup of the season between CSU and Mountain West rival San Diego State. With a four-game winning streak on the line for the Rams and a chance to even the series for the Aztecs, it became clear early on that CSU’s desire to extend its win streak was greater.
With a 55.6 shooting percentage, a 54.3 percentage from the 3-point line and 36 total rebounds, 23 of which came from the defense, CSU defeated SDSU 95-48, improving its record to 16-4, 8-1 MW.
“Our kids were pretty locked in from the get-go,” head coach Ryun Williams said. “We did not see this coming either, but it was just a really nice performance by our kids.”
Unable to compete against the numbers of CSU, the Aztecs quickly found themselves playing catch-up with the Rams. SDSU trailed by 21 points going into halftime, though that number more than doubled to 46 with 7:54 to play in the second period.
All around, the CSU bench players were hitting baskets and forcing turn overs. AJ Newton was the firecracker-motivation that held the offense together. Newton went 7-10 on 3-pointers and 8-13 inside the line, earning 23 points in 27 minutes.
“It felt pretty good. I knew they were going to play 2-3 (defense), and that Gritt (Ryder) was going to be at the top while I was at the wing. It gave me the freedom to pull it,” Newton said.
Newton was not only a game-changer at the basket, but she was also able to force turnovers and make pivotal plays with Ryder, forward Sam Martin and guard Ellen Nystrom. The Rams’ leading shooters of the game were Martin, who finished the game with 14 points, and Nystrom with 10.
Hayley Thompson, Elin Gustavson and Caitlin Duffy collected nine points each as Thompson marked her 100th game as a Ram during Saturday’s game.
“We knew they were a great team and we were confident that we could win this game, but we never thought it would be like that,” Thompson said. “Since we’ve been winning, we definitely have a target on our back.”
The spotlights for the Aztecs were Danesha Long and Ariell Bostick, who held the team together with over half of its overall points. Long posted 16 points and Bostick had 15.
“The more momentum we had, the more they gave up,” Newton said. “I felt like our energy was so much better than theirs and our confidence was up. I don’t think anyone could’ve brought us down today.”
In the last appearance between the Rams and Aztecs, the game came down to the wire and was decided by only three points (64-61). With the unseen numbers for CSU this season, the Rams shattered their record for 3-point baskets with 19 and earned their largest win of the season with a 51-point victory.
“We won the pain — that was the bottom line,” Williams said. “And that was our No. 1 goal tonight.”
Game: 35-63: 55.6 percent
3-Ptr: 19-35: 54.3 percent
Ft: 6-7: 85.7 percent
Newton,AL : 8-13 FG-FGA, 7-10 3-Ptr, 3 total rebounds, 23 points, 6 assists, 2 steals
Martin, Sam: 6-8 FG-FGA, 2-4 3-Ptr, 2 rebounds, 14 points, 2 blocks, 1 steal
Nystrom, Ellen: 3-5 FG-FGA, 4-4FT-FTA, 3 rebounds, 10 points, 3 assists, 1 steal
San Diego State:
Game: 17-59: 28.8 percent
3-Ptr: 5-16:31.3 percent
Bostick,Ariell: 5-8 FG-FGA, 2-3 3-Ptr, 3-4 FT-FTA, 5 rebounds, 15 points, 1 assist, 5 turn overs
Long,Danesha: 6-15 FG-FGA, 2-6 3-Ptr, 2-2 FT-FTA, 5 rebounds, 16 points, 1 assist, 1 steal
Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.