Video by Sam Lounsberry
Apparently, one half is all Jamie Patrick needs to lead Colorado State’s women’s hoops team to victory.
The junior scored a game-high 17 points, all in the first half, in CSU’s 65-42 win over San Diego State Saturday at Moby Arena.
After going 6-for-7 from the field that included 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point line in the first frame, Patrick never attempted another shot in the final half of action.
The guard was due for a hot game. Patrick had connected on just 6-of-28 over the past six games dating back to the Jan. 24 matchup at San Diego State for a clip of 21 percent. But upon receiving a spot in the starting rotation Saturday, she was confident as could be.
“As a shooter, you just have to come out and shoot when you’re open,” Patrick said. “When your point guard gets you the ball they have faith in you to shoot that and that’s what I did tonight.”
CSU shot an incredible 11-of-22 from behind the arc on the game, but the Rams’ defense was what dominated the Aztecs.
Ryun Williams put CSU in a 2-3 zone defense that the Aztecs failed to break. SDSU was unable to force CSU to guard its shooters from deep as the Aztecs shot just 27 percent from three. Better looks were tough to come by for the Aztecs as CSU forced them into four shot clock violations and 20 total turnovers. SDSU scored just 13 points in the second half.
“They were really active in (the 2-3 zone) tonight,” Williams said of his team’s defense. “13 second half points, what else can you say? That’s just an outstanding effort on that end of the floor.”
While the Rams extended their lead rapidly in the second half to put the game away early, the Aztecs stayed in it the first frame with some streaky shooting. Lexy Thorderson made 4-of-4 from the field for SDSU in the first half, including a 3-pointer to answer back-to-back Patrick treys to keep the Aztecs within five, 32-27 with 3:02 before halftime. But Patrick followed with her fourth trey of the day, and drained her fifth at the halftime buzzer on an assist from Keyora Wharry to give the Rams a 38-29 lead at the break.
Coming out of the locker room, CSU struck first with a bucket from Ellen Nystrom created by a spin move in the post. That was the start of a 6-0 CSU run that put the Rams up 15, 44-29, before the Aztecs scored in the second. SDSU made one more push to keep it a game, though, as it responded with 6-0 run of its own to pull back within single-digits.
Another big shift in momentum proceeded, though, as CSU retaliated with another 6-0 run off back-to-back and-ones from AJ Newton and Victoria Wells that pushed CSU’s lead back up to 15, 50-35, just after the midway point of the second.
“I thought Victoria in both halves really sparked us,” Williams said. “Her energy was contagious when we needed it the most, those were big, big plays.”
The Rams allowed SDSU just 11 field-goal attempts in the final 10 minutes of playing time, just three of which found the net for only seven more points. According to Gritt Ryder, the 2-3 zone that frustrated the Aztecs is a defense CSU keeps in its back pocket to use in certain games against teams with athletic players that can get to rim for points inside.
“We haven’t been practicing it that much, but against a team like SDSU where they’re great drivers and great athletes, we have to play a 2-3 zone most of the time,” Ryder said. “It just depends on the matchup.”
Ryder notched eight points as well as eight assists while Newton was the only Ram besides Patrick to reach double-figures scoring with 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting. McKynzie Fort led the Aztecs with 13 points and Thorderson finished with 12.
With the 23-point-win, CSU achieved a big bounce back after dropping one 67-40 at New Mexico (14-10, 10-3 MW) Wednesday. Additionally, CSU will move into a tie with New Mexico for first place in the Mountain West Conference as Fresno State (17-6, 9-3 MW) dropped one 75-66 in overtime to Boise State during the Rams win in Moby, effectively putting the Rams and Lobos up half a game over the Bulldogs.
Saturday’s Mountain West action sets up a momentous showdown for Wednesday night in Moby Arena when Fresno State comes to Moby Arena to play CSU. The game will surely shape the conference standings as the regular season crown has come down to a tight race with the top four teams separated by just two games in the loss column. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday night.
Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @samlounz.