Words can not do justice to the experience in Moby Arena on Wednesday night, though lyrics to “We are the Champions,” by Queen is the easiest way to describe the CSU women’s basketball victory over UNLV and first Mountain West regular season title in 12 years.
With the sound of the buzzer, the Rams defeated the Rebels 84-64. That point in the night was when the tears began to flow. It was not just the team that was emotional — fans, alumni of years past, cheerleaders, dance team, coaches, players, pep band and even several of the youngest in the arena began to cheer, cry and come together in time of triumph.
If this does not demonstrate the passion Fort Collins and the state of Colorado has for CSU Athletics, I don’t know what does.
The picture of seniors Sam Martin, Alicia Nichols and Hayley Thompson hugging at half court was heart wrenching. Tears poured down their faces as they knew they had just cliched a share of the conference crown.
While fans normally leave the arena after announcing the heart of the game, Wednesday night was different. Fans fled to the court decked out in green and gold, screaming with excitement, hugging those around them as if they had known each other for years because they knew what they had just witnessed. When you are a Ram fan, everyone knows one another. It’s one team, one family. That is the best way to describe Ram Country.
At the end of the game, CSU had only clinched a share of the title and were forced to wait for the final buzzer between Boise State and Fresno State. With a couple hundred fans lining the court and the stands, everyone inside Moby Arena waited to see if the Rams would gain the title.
In order to take the title, Boise needed to lose to Fresno. All eyes were glued to a live-stream on the megatron, fingers refreshed Twitter pages on cell phones while players huddled around an iPad screen watching the clock tick down.
Tension reached new heights when the Broncos and Bulldogs went into overtime tied at 68. All waiting inside Moby Arena knew that after five more minutes of over time, they would know if CSU would be champions.
With 34 seconds remaining between Boise and Fresno, the Bulldogs led 74-72. Even with a two point team, the redness in players faces came back. Tears began to fill the eyes and fall down the faces of the entire CSU women’s basketball team with 13 seconds left as Fresno began to pull away with a 76-72 lead.
Head coach Ryun Williams shouted into the crowd, “Three seconds left,” and at that point it was nearly history. CSU clinched the title. With scissors at hand and a ladder many would have thought was gold, players and coaches took turns cutting the championship net from its own basket.
It was not only a surprise from Willaims that he was shouting in triumph about the soon to be title, he exhibited one natural function Wednesday night — a smile. From ear to ear, Williams face lit up alongside his team. No words can put into perspective the joy he must have been feeling in that moment and the accomplishment he made happen in the turn of a year.
My hat goes off to you.
In all the games I have seen in Moby Arena from my first volleyball game as a first-year student to a sold-out crowd between the CSU men’s basketball team against New Mexico, nothing compared to the dedication for the CSU women’s basketball team.
If there is any doubt in the minds of CSU students about attending a women’s basketball game, think about this moment because you are never going to be able to relive an experience like this for another year.
Or possibly 12.
Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.