The CSU women’s basketball team avenged their lone conference blemish by defeating Boise State 60-53 on the road in Taco Bell Arena Wednesday night.
Bench play was the key to success for the Rams (17-5, 9-1 MW) as Amanda Kantzy and Myanne Hamm combined for 21 points while going 8-of-13 from the field. Ellie Gustavsson and Callie Kaiser also reached double-digits, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Though every starter scored, the Rams lacked the dominant offensive performance they have received as of late. With his team still hampered by injury, head coach Ryun Williams used a seven-player rotation for the entire game. The 28 minutes from Kantzy and Hamm were enough to make the difference.
“Myanne Hamm and Amanda Kantzy, just outstanding off the bench,” Williams said. “When we need those kids the most, they seem to always step up.”
The Rams led by 12 at halftime and seemed poised to run away with the victory after a first half that featured San Antonio Spur-like ball movement and smothering defense. But Boise State’s full-court press caused issues out of the break, including a stretch where the Rams turned the ball over three times in a matter of minutes.
With under seven minutes remaining in the game, the Broncos cut what was a 13-point lead down to one.
As has been the case a multitude of times this year, the Rams relied on gritty defense to finish off their opponent. The Broncos would go on to score just seven points for the remainder of the game as the nation’s fourth-ranked scoring defense certainly proved its mettle.
“Everything seemed pretty darn contested,” Williams said. “Our kids were pretty locked into the plan all night. We did a good job on Brooke (Pahukoa), we did a really good job on (Marijk) Vanderchaaf.”
The Broncos’ two leading scorers were held to 12 points in 61 combined minutes of action. Despite having opportunities to flip the momentum and climb ahead, CSU stayed true to its defensive approach. The Broncos shot an abysmal 4-of-27 (15 percent) from behind the three-point line, preventing them from mounting a late comeback.
And when the Rams were pressed to get some baskets late in the game, they found a way to get it done.
“I thought the key for us tonight was timely baskets,” Williams said. “It was timely in the first half when we had a little bit of a lead. The second half, they came out and made a run early. They made baskets, but so did we, and we never allowed them to get the lead. We always got good shots and made some free throws down the stretch.”
CSU returns home for a weekend showdown against the UNLV Rebels. Moby Arena will play host to the game at 2 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 4.
Collegian sports reporter Colin Barnard can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_