Led by a career-high 19 points from Sofie Tryggedsson, the CSU women’s basketball team defeated the UNLV Rebels 57-37 in their first game of Mountain West play.
Getting the start for the injured Stine Austgulen, Tryggedsson made the most of her opportunity scoring 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and adding six rebounds in 33 minutes of action. Her 16 points in the first half created some separation for the Rams at the break. The team ended the first half on a 12-0 run with all 12 coming from Tryggedsson.
“Sofie Tryggedsson stepped into the starting role because of Stine’s injury,” head coach Ryun Williams said. “She performed like a rock star.”
Elin Gustavsson scored 13 points and Ellen Nystrom recorded her third double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds. The win marks the fourth straight for the Rams (9-4, 1-0 MW) and sets the tone at the beginning of conference play.
Coming into the game with the second best record in the Mountain West, UNLV was unable to generate much offense. Despite forcing five turnovers in the opening five minutes of action, the Rebels missed their first eight shots from the field. They converted 16 CSU turnovers into just two points while the Rams converted 12 turnovers into 15 points.
CSU stymied the Rebels with their zone defense all night long. Dakota Gonzalez and Brooke Johnson, the team’s two leading scorers, combined for just eight points on a dismal 3-of-24 from the field. CSU also outrebounded their opponent by a total of 40-30.
“Great job defensively tonight,” Williams said. “We rebounded really well. Great Win”
While the Rams rank 18th in the nation in three-pointers made, they relied more on the inside game in this one. CSU outscored UNLV 20-9 in the paint while shooting a very efficient 40 percent from three-point range.
During many instances in the third quarter, the Lady Rebels looked poised to mount a comeback. By playing physical and getting to the line, they hung around for the majority of the quarter. Costly turnovers, many of which appeared unforced, limited their offensive potential towards the end of the quarter. Add that to a miserable shooting performance and it becomes nearly impossible to mount a comeback against a team as fundamentally sound as the Rams.
“This is a big time road win,” Williams said. “Vegas is a good basketball team, they had a good non-conference season. To come in here and get a win is a great effort by our kids.”
The win marks No. 99 for Williams as the head coach at CSU. His first shot at No. 100 will come on Saturday Dec. 31 as the Rams host the Mountain West-leading Boise State Broncos at 2 p.m. in Fort Collins.
Collegian sports reporter Colin Barnard can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_