The Colorado State Rams women’s basketball team pulled away in the second half to improve to 23-7 on the year with their senior night victory over the Nevada Wolfpack, 64-51.
The Rams were led by their senior night stars Ellen Nystrom and Elin Gustavsson. Nystrom finished the regular season on a high note with a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds). Gustavsson provided her usual double-digit points after a slow start.
The Rams started slow but were led by their seniors and redshirt junior Hannah Tvrdy, who played from tip to final buzzer. Nystrom began the rally with her constant attacking presence and newfound home at the free-throw line in the second half.
Once the Rams began attacking and gaining presence down low with Gustavsson, overpowering her defender constantly, the game was soon out of reach for the Wolfpack.
The Rams began the game under the pressure of senior night and the final regular season game of the year, but overcame those emotions with stellar defensive pressure.
“I like how we defended, we just kept guarding until we got decent rhythm, made a few shots, so we could finally take somewhat of a breath.,” said head coach Ryun Williams.
Nystrom leaves a strong legacy at Colorado State as one of the best players in school history, finishing four points behind Heather Haanen for 9th all-time in scoring for CSU women’s basketball. Nystrom also finishes as the leader in assists in school history. Nystrom rounds out her resume with a top-10 spot in both rebounds and steals in CSU history.
Senior night for Nystrom was special as her family was in attendance and were proudly waving their Swedish flag throughout.
“It feels like we’re still gonna come back next week and play,” said Nystrom.
Gustavsson finishes directly behind Nystrom for 11th all-time in scoring. She also finishes her career as the as 8th all-time in shot blocks after passing Marilyn Moulton in her final game.
The duo both finish top-six in Mountain West history in games started as well.
Gustavsson also had the pleasure of having her family there in person as opposed to the usual facetime video.
“I wanna play well in front of everyone… I didn’t really think about that. Just wanted to focus on our teammates… [It] felt like home a little bit, having our family around us,” said Gustavsson.
Coach Williams had the privilege of enjoying the company and success of his seniors for four years and four titles among other accolades.
“Obviously a big night, family from all over the place here, so you can understand why these kids were pretty wound up tonight,” said Williams.
The Rams won their fourth consecutive conference title and will be playing in the conference tournament next week in Las Vegas, NV at the Thomas and Mack Center, with the winner automatically entering the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Rams sought to gain momentum and go into the conference tournament on a high note in their finale.
“We kind of treated it as the first round of the tournament so we need to stay aggressive and be in the same type of mentality that we have right now,” said Nystrom.
The Rams will enter the conference tournament winners of 14 of their last 16 and will be led by their minute’s leaders Gustavsson, Nystrom and Tvrdy.
Collegian sports reporter Luke Zahlmann can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @lukezahlmann