An opportunity for revenge presents itself Wednesday night for Colorado State’s women’s basketball team when the Boise State Broncos come to Moby Arena. Colorado State (14-4, 6-1 MW) was handed its only loss in the Mountain West at Boise State (13-5, 5-2 MW) in its conference opener.
And the Rams are eager for a chance to even the season series.
“We’re super excited, this is something that we work for,” sophomore forward Elin Gustavsson said.
“It’s probably just human nature for them to get up,” CSU head coach Ryun Williams said of his team’s excitement. “This team took it to us, so (our players) remember that and they want to play better this game.”
According to forward Ellen Nystrom, the Rams were perhaps unprepared offensively for the looks the Broncos’ defense gave them.
“It was our first game after the (winter) break last time, and I don’t think we played the way we should have,” Nystrom acknowledged. “We watched the film after the game last time, and we saw that we created a lot of shots, we just didn’t make the pass. So now we know what kind of shots we’re going to get and what type of drives.”
More informed preparation will assist the Rams on the defensive end of the floor, as well. Now with a game against Boise State under their belts this season, the Rams recognize the Broncos’ firepower from beyond the 3-point line. Boise State leads the Mountain West in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 37.2 percent from beyond the arc. Senior guard Deanna Weaver leads the Broncos, scoring 14.1 points per game while shooting a Mountain West best of 45.6 percent from three. Weaver dropped 17 points on 5-for-7 shooting from downtown against CSU.
“We definitely have to guard her better, be closer to her, because she can get the shots up even if you have a hand in her face,” Nystrom said of Weaver, who was selected as 2013-2014 Mountain West Newcomer of the Year and All-Mountain West First Team last year after transferring from the University of Oregon.
According to Nystrom, a key to guarding Weaver will be to chase her off the 3-point line and make her put it on the floor, allowing the Rams’ help defense to pick her up on the interior.
“(We want to) make her drive, because we have all these people in the gaps so we can stop her,” Nystrom said.
A product of Boise attempting 3-pointers at a high rate is long rebounds, what Williams calls “50-50 balls.”
“That’s the shot we seem to give up, a contested three pointer — which we’re okay with — so there are going to be those long rebounds, and our ability and our will to chase those down to win a majority of those 50-50 balls is always critical,” Williams said.
Boise dominated CSU on the boards in Idaho, snatching a whopping 15 offensive rebounds on their way to outrebounding the Rams 44-30 overall.
Containing 6-foot-4 center Camille Redmon, who grabbed 12 boards previously against CSU, and 6-foot-3 Miquelle Askew will be key for the Rams, according to Williams. But it might not necessarily start with the size on CSU’s lineup.
“They’ve got size, they’ve got strength, they’ve got athleticism, they’ve kind of got it all across the board, so it can’t be just our bigs rebounding,” Williams stated. “Obviously they’ve got some challenges, Redmon and Askew are really good rebounders … but our guards have to rebound. Our bigs always seem to get a body on (Askew and Redmon), our guards have to rebound down and get in the fight.”
CSU leading rebounder Victoria Wells will be active Wednesday after sitting out the past month with concussion-like symptoms.
With Boise State sitting in third place in the Mountain West behind second-place CSU and leader Fresno State, which the Rams play Saturday following the rematch with the Broncos, a win for the Rams over the Broncos will provide some separation for CSU and Fresno State from the rest of the conference. A Boise State loss ensures every other team has three or more conference losses.
“I’m just excited to get revenge and I know that we’re going to beat them,” Nystrom said.
The contest between the Rams and Broncos is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on the Mountain West Network at csurams.com/videos.
Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @samlounz.