True freshman Lore Devos posted 25 points in her debut for Colorado State women’s basketball, but the Idaho Vandals put on a clinic from beyond the 3-point line to bury the Rams 83-69 on opening night in Moby Arena.
On Wednesday, CSU head coach Ryun Williams said Idaho’s 3-point proficiency made them perhaps the toughest opening night opponent he has faced since arriving at CSU. The Vandals finished second in the NCAA last year in 3-point shooting and picked up right where they left off by sinking 18-of-36 attempts from deep in the 2017-18 season opener.
“That’s pretty impressive what Idaho did as far as their shot making ability,” Williams said. “We knew coming that they have three kids who can really stretch you and any break down that you have as far as too much separation or you help off a shooter when you shouldn’t- all of those mistakes really got exposed tonight.”
Before Idaho got hot from three, Devos opened the scoring with a pair of buckets on the Rams’ first two possessions, while senior Veronika Mirkovic scooped up rebounds on Idaho’s first two shots to put the Rams up 4-0 early. CSU looked poised to make a run out of the gates, but failed to mount a lead larger than four the rest of the night.
Down a point midway through the first quarter, Idaho’s Geraldine McCorkell made her first 3-pointer to give Idaho their first lead and the Vandals never relented. Idaho guard Taylor Pierce finished the first quarter 2-of-4 from deep and Allison Kirby drilled her lone attempt to put the Vandals up 21-8 after 10 minutes.
The Rams tried to keep pace with Idaho’s shooting, but missed all five attempts from beyond the arc in the first quarter. Pierce opened the second quarter with her third 3-pointer to give the Vandals their largest lead of the half. The Rams remained composed, though, and Stine Austgulen sunk a three before time expired to make it a six-point game at the break.
Although the Rams battled to make it a two-possession game, their inexperience and lackluster defense carried into the second half and allowed Idaho to pull away.
“Obviously they had a great night shooting, but that doesn’t excuse our defense,” redshirt senior Hannah Tvrdy said. “I know I am not happy with how I defended and with the team as a whole, I think there’s a lot we need to work on.”
The Vandals continued to take advantage of Rams’ lapses on defense and added another five threes in the third quarter to take a 12-point lead into the final 10 minutes.
Although the Rams struggled with consistency on defense and from 3-point range, Devos provided steadiness on offense by constantly putting herself in scoring positions and setting up her teammates.
“I’m sitting here thinking that offensively I didn’t mind what we did,” Williams said. “The ball moved, we were aggressive and we have a really good playmaker in Lore (Devos).”
Devos scored 12 of her 25 points in the third quarter and Tvrdy netted nine, but no other Ram was able to produce and the Vandals expanded their lead to 20. Austgulen netted a three midway through the fourth to cut the deficit to 10, but that’s the closest the Rams got before the final whistle blew on an opening night 83-69 defeat.
“We’re still figuring this young group out and that’s what this season is going to be all about,” Williams said. “Who really, really wants to compete? How important is it you? We’ll figure that out.”
The Rams are back in action for a Monday night clash with Gonzaga at Moby Arena at 6 p.m.
Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChristianHCSU.