The Colorado State women’s basketball team (11-1, 1-0 MW) stretched its winning streak to eight games and started off Mountain West play on a high note with a nail-biting 68-64 victory over Boise State (7-5, 0-1 MW) Saturday afternoon.
Boise State, who entered Saturday’s contest on a three-game win streak of their own and is the reigning MW tournament champions from a year ago, gave the Rams all they could have wanted and more.
“We knew this was going to a difficult basketball game,” head coach Ryun Williams said. “We’ve always had competitive games against Boise the last few years.”
Senior guard Jamie Patrick, who came in averaging 9.9 points per game, went off for 27 points, the second highest total of her career. Patrick made five 3-pointers, none bigger than the go-ahead three to give CSU a 67-64 lead with 0:22 to play in the game. Elin Gustavsson added 14 points, including a game-tying three of her own with 1:42 left.
“(Elin Gustavsson) gave me that shot,” Patrick said of the go-ahead three. “She had that awesome drive. They all closed in on her, she saw the open shot and I took it. As a shooter you know you can make those shots.”
After 13 days without playing a game, CSU appeared rusty early on, trailing the Broncos 16-10 after the first quarter while only shooting 4-of-14 from the floor. The Broncos came out shooting well from behind the 3-point line, converting four of their nine attempts. Patrick kept the Rams in it early, knocking down two 3-pointers in the first quarter.
That all changed in the second quarter as CSU found their rhythm, outscoring Boise 25-10 and shooting 43 percent. Keyora Wharry led the charge by scoring 11 of her 12 points in the quarter, and Patrick added eight more.
At the 6:58 mark in the quarter, with CSU trailing 18-14, Wharry knocked down a short jumper to cut the Bronco lead to two. On the following possession, Wharry converted a bucket plus the foul to give CSU a much-needed 19-18 advantage. The Rams then closed out the quarter on a 6-0 run, aided by two layups by Patrick, and a Wharry layup with seven ticks on the clock.
“Once I settle down and get going I can see a lot better, “Wharry said. “I noticed they were hugging so there was a wide-open gap every time and I started driving it.”
CSU came out of halftime carrying the momentum it had to end the second quarter. The Rams extended their lead to as much as 15 points with 3:50 to play in the third quarter. But Boise State would answer, closing the final 3:32 of the quarter on a 12-2 run that cut the Rams lead to 51-46 heading to the fourth.
After trailing by as much as four points in the fourth quarter, a pair of Gustavsson free throws with 4:08 left cut the Broncos’ lead to two. A nearly 2-minute scoring drought ensued before Gustavsson once again stepped to the line and made 1-of-2. With 1:42 left, Gustavsson, who was shooting 1-for-11 at that point, drained a game-tying three to knot it at 64.
That set the stage for Patrick, who buried the go-ahead 3-pointer off of a drive-and-kick by Gustavsson to seal the victory.
In addition to the game winner and 27 points, Patrick locked down Boise State’s leading scorer Brooke Pahukoa, who came in averaging nearly 16 points per game. Pahukoa was limited to four points and zero field goals.
“We asked Jamie to guard their leading scorer tonight,” Williams said. “The 27 (points) is special but that four points (Pahukoa’s total) is rock-star status right there. That’s a big-time day at the office by Jamie Patrick. Can’t be more proud of that young lady.”
Boise State had three players score in double figures, led by Yaiza Rodriguez who finished with 19.
CSU will continue Mountain West play on the road Wednesday night when the Rams take on UNLV at 8 p.m. MT.
Collegian Sports Reporter Michael Roley can be reached by email at email@example.com and on Twitter @michael_roley.