A sluggish offensive performance and untimely turnovers turned out to be too much to overcome for the CSU women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams (9-5, 1-1 MW) fell 51-45 to visiting Boise State, snapping a 22 game winning streak against MW opponents. It was also the first time CSU lost in Moby Arena in 22 games and their first conference loss at home since 2013.
It was a tale of missed opportunities and what ifs for the Rams. Boise State (12-1, 2-0 MW) led for most of the game, but only by as much as seven. Several times the Rams appeared poised to make a run, including cutting the Bronco deficit to two with 26 seconds left on an Ellen Nystrom layup. They just couldn’t close the final gap.
CSU struggled offensively, shooting only 30.8 percent from the floor and converting 3-of-21 attempts from behind the 3-point line, which included an 0-of-10 mark in the first half. Interestingly, the Broncos shot just 26.5 percent from the field. But, they did make six 3-pointers in the first half.
That, combined with holding the Broncos to 51 points was a testament to a solid defensive outing. But, the offensive end was the bugaboo of the New Year’s Eve afternoon for the Rams.
“If you had told me we were going to hold Boise to 51 points I’m telling you we’re going to have a really good chance to win that basketball game,” coach Ryun Williams said. “Outstanding defensively, the other end of the floor– some poor-decision making and just didn’t make enough plays, a lot of turnovers. With that said, there was a lot of opportunities.”
…”This will be a tough one to watch on film because the opportunities were there and we just didn’t make the plays.”
CSU surrendered a costly 17 turnovers, 10 of which came in the second half. A product of this, in addition to the low shooting clip was a bit of impatience on the offensive end, Callie Kaiser said after the game. But, they also got plenty of nice looks at the rim and just couldn’t convert.
“I think our patience was lacking today,” said Kaiser, who had 13 points and six rebounds. “We just got to stay patient. We got good shots. We just couldn’t throw it in the ocean today.”
The Broncos’ Brooke Pahukoa led all-scorers with 20 points. She came in averaging 14.7 points per game. She knocked down a couple three’s in the first half, but most of her damage came at the charity stripe where she went 12-of-15.
“Brooke’s a good player. She’s a really good player. She’s tough to keep out of the lane, she’s really springy and bouncy with a good pull-up jump shot,” Williams said. “When you play a team that has a lot of bullets like Boise, you make a little mistake they’re going to find it. If you don’t get out to a shooter in time, usually that thing’s going in and that was the case in the first half. Not so much the second, I thought we really cleaned that up the second.”
CSU has been battered by injuries to this point, they only had eight players active for Saturday’s contest and only seven of them saw the floor. Afterward though, Williams insisted this didn’t play a factor, nor will they use it as an excuse. Stine Austgulen, Veronika Mirkovic, and Jordyn Edwards were all sidelined.
Nystrom had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Hannah Tvrdy and Elin Gustavsson both chipped in six apiece.
At the beginning of the season, Boise State appeared to be a team with a good chance to unseat CSU’s run of three consecutive MW titles. And they got a leg-up on the Rams Saturday, but the conference season is still young with 16 conference games still to play. And Williams is confident his team will respond.
“These kids will bounce-back. We have a really competitive group. They’ve been sore-losers in the right way,” he said. “You’re not going to win them all. We aren’t going to win every game at home. You’re going to have nights kind of like this sometimes. You don’t want them to happen, but we have 16 games in front of us, yet.”
CSU will be back at home on Wednesday against San Jose State at 7 p.m. MT.
Sports Reporter Michael Roley can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @michael_roley