LAS VEGAS — After defeating San Jose State 65-60 in the second round of the 2017 Mountain West Tournament on Tuesday, the Colorado State women’s basketball team is set to take to take on Boise State in the semifinals Wednesday night.
“I think our poise was good,” senior guard Ellen Nystrom said of the narrow victory over the Spartans. “Our defense was really good, rebounding. But I think –we’ve got a taste of what the tournament is like, and all the people that are new to our team got a taste of what it’s like, and how it’s like. So now we’re in it.”
Coming off a two-point victory over the University of New Mexico (64-62), the Broncos are looking to claim their second victory in three match ups with the Rams this season. Boise State handed the Rams their only home conference loss of the season Dec. 31, beating CSU 51-45 in a New Year’s Eve showdown. The Rams would get revenge roughly one month later, defeating the Broncos on their home floor 60-53.
After beating the Lobos at the Thomas and Mack Center, Broncos head coach Gordy Presnell raved about the Rams senior duo of Elin Gustavsson and Ellen Nystrom and explained what it would take to defeat the conference’s perennial powerhouse in the post-season tournament.
“Extremely well coached,” Presnell said of the senior duo. “Two of the best players probably ever in the Mountain West, they’re do-it-all players; they can post and pass. They do a great job. And they’ve been there and they’ve made critical shots at critical times. They’ve also been really, really blessed. Those two kids I don’t think have even had a cold in four years.”
Both Nystrom and Gustavsson recorded double-doubles in their quarterfinal match against San Jose State. Gustavsson finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds on 10-of-21 shooting. Nystrom struggled in the first half, however managed to finish the game with 17 points, 12 rebounds and three assists.
Presnell continued on the Rams, comparing their seasons.
“We went through the month of January where it was really difficult,” Presnell said. “We went three and six, Brooke (Pahukoa) was hurt and out, Sha Shaw was out. They’ve been fortunate. But also, they’re very talented and very well coached…They run the right stuff for their personnel. So we’ve got to hopefully get second-chance opportunities. And we’re going to have to defend their isolations. They play like an NBA pro team. And they’re very good defensively. We’re just going to have to do the best job we can with all that switching.”
Collegian sports reporter Justin Michael can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @JustinTMichael.