In a season that showcases 29 competitive regular season match ups over the course of less than five months, the wear and tear of playing game after game eventually starts to show, even on some of the toughest teams.
On Tuesday night, the CSU women’s basketball team (22-6, 14-3 MW) took an unexpected fall to the conference’s ninth-ranked San Jose State Spartans (11-17, 5-12), losing 65-64 on the road.
Even though the Rams have made a point of establishing themselves as the most dominant team in the Mountain West, as of late they have found themselves in come from behind situations. On Tuesday night at The Events Center in San Jose, CSU’s comeback effort fell just short at the hands of forward Elin Gustavsson, whose game-winning attempt didn’t fall at the game’s final buzzer.
“If you don’t play a solid game, anyone can beat you and that was proven tonight,” head coach Ryun Williams said.
From the early minutes of the game, the Rams struggled to get their shooting going. After having a scoreless first few possessions, guard AJ Newton came out and sunk two big 3-point shots, quickly followed by another 3-point shot by guard Caitlin Duffy.
Even though the Rams’ perimeter shooting was impressive throughout the course of the night, shooting an overall 36 percent from behind the arc, their 14 of 47 shooting from inside the 3-point line is ultimately what cost them the game.
For the entire night, the Ram’s field goal percentage was 31 percent, sinking just 23 of their total 72 shots. They were missing easy layups along with wide open jumpers and ultimately paid for their missteps.
“It just became contagious, all those misses right there in the paint and around the rim,” Williams said. “We weren’t tough enough around the rim. We played with a tremendous amount of softness in that area tonight and we needed all of those.”
Forward Sam Martin made great strides throughout the course of the night to keep the Rams in the game, ending the evening as the team’s leading scorer with 17 points and eight rebounds. However, it wasn’t enough to stop the Spartan’s offense.
With this game being their second to last of the season, the Rams recognize that they are indeed a mortal team that is just as susceptible to losing a game as the next best team.
However, with this matchup preceding the rematch against Wyoming and foreshadowing the much anticipated senior night, this loss doesn’t look to dampen the spirits of the regular season conference champions.
“We don’t have a choice, we have to bounce right back,” Martin said. “We didn’t play CSU basketball tonight and thats what hurt us. This loss hurts a little bit and we didn’t expect that but we’re going to have to come together and not dwell on it too much. We have a big game on Friday and we want to go into the tournament with a win and keep rolling like that. I think it’s going to help us come out even stronger and harder for Friday.”
Collegian Reporter Hannah Cornish can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @HMCornish.