The Colorado State women’s basketball team picked up right where it left off.
Led by four players in double figures, the Rams rolled to a 90-62 win over Metro State Thursday night at Moby Arena in their exhibition opener. Swedish sophomore Ellen Nystrom led the Rams with 21 points and nine rebounds while junior college transfer Keyora Wharry added 17 points and eight rebounds. Senior guards Gritt Ryder and AJ Newton pitched in 14 and 11 points, respectively.
A sloppy start saw the Rams fall behind 9-8 with 17:27 to play in the first half, including an early possession where the Roadrunners got three consecutive offensive rebounds before finally getting a basket. The teams traded baskets early on before CSU took the lead on a layup by Emilie Hesseldal with 14:36 to play in the first half before leading the rest of the way. The Rams would lead by as many as 34 points late in the second half to cruise to their first win of the 2014-15 season.
“It’s always good to just get that first one under your belt,” CSU head coach Ryun Williams said. “I think you saw a lot of those first game jittery-type of plays on some passes. We weren’t secure on some rebounds but Metro is not a bad team.”
After finishing last season 25-8 following a loss to Southern Utah in the first round of the WNIT, Williams and Co. returned four of five starters while adding Wharry, sharpshooter Jamie Patrick and a host of other new players. After 19 practices together this fall, Nystrom admitted how nice it was to finally face someone other than her own teammates for a change.
“We go against each other every day so you know everyone and you know all their strengths and weaknesses,” Nystrom said. “It was so much fun.”
However, despite forcing 24 Roadrunners’ turnovers and leading in nearly every statistical category, Williams lamented that there is lots of room for improvement between now and the team’s regular season opener Nov. 15 against Hawaii.
“I liked the start of the second half defensively,” Williams said. “I didn’t like the start of the first half on the glass, their first six points were offensive boards. We have to be a little tougher on the defensive end, I think that was pretty obvious. But we’ve got some pretty skilled kids and we just have to connect it all and come with a tougher attitude.”
Collegian Sports Editor Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.