The Colorado State women’s basketball team carried the momentum from Monday’s come-from-behind victory over Gonzaga into a wire-to-wire 75-35 thrashing of Eastern New Mexico at Moby Arena on Thursday night.
Coming off a strong 12-point performance on Monday, junior guard Sofie Tryggedsson picked up right where she left off with a pair of threes in the first five minutes of action and the Rams never looked back. Redshirt senior Hannah Tvrdy scooped up five defensive rebounds in just 10 minutes and the Rams took a convincing 13-3 lead into the second.
After falling behind by 11 after the first quarter versus Gonzaga, the Rams approached Thursday’s opening quarter with a more aggressive mindset.
“We know we want to be more aggressive offensively and not settle for threes a lot,” Tvrdy said. “Just coming out and having that attack mindset and trying to get to the hoop and it was there and we were getting it and so I think that’s something we need to continue to do.”
ENM struggled to get anything to drop from the field in the first quarter and ran into even more trouble from the stifling Rams defense in the second stanza. Of the Greyhounds’ 13 first-half points, nine came from the free throw line. According to head coach Ryun Williams, the Rams’ remarkable defensive effort was a result of playing with energy and executing the game plan.
“I think our kids were really locked into the plan,” Williams said. “A big part of the plan tonight was to run them off of the three-point line, to shut down their ball-screen game and I thought we doubled really well on the post with our guard play.”
While the Greyhounds mustered just a 10 percent shooting percentage in the first half, CSU sunk 15 of their 29 opportunities for a 51 percent mark from the field. Leading the Rams’ first half scoring surge was Lore Devos with a perfect 3-of-3 mark from the field and Tryggedsson’s nine points exclusively from the 3-point line.
With all but two Rams registering points in the first half, CSU took an enormous 40-13 lead into the break. Despite the massive margin, Williams was not concerned about his team loosing focus on the task at hand.
“We have a standard at which we want to play. You have to honor the game,” Williams said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Uconn, or the Boston Celtics. It doesn’t matter. You have to play the same way very single time.”
The Greyhounds found some success driving the paint at the end of the third quarter, but the Rams had already built a 52-23 advantage for the final frame. Despite a 29-point lead and another victory all but locked up for CSU, the Rams, led by players off the bench, didn’t relent until the final whistle.
CSU shot 58 percent from the field in the fourth quarter and it appeared as if the Rams couldn’t miss a shot if they tried. With the shot clock winding down midway through the quarter, junior Callie Kaiser sunk an underhand layup high off the glass, generating one of the loudest responses from the Moby Arena crowd all night.
Kaiser, who didn’t see the floor against Gonzaga, brought the Ram faithful to their feet throughout the fourth quarter with 12 of her team-leading 14 points coming in the final 10 minutes.
“Kaiser was really good all night. She had the best motor on the floor,” Williams said. “Callie didn’t play in the game before. That just shows the maturity of this young lady.”
“I was (motivated),” Kaiser said. “I don’t know if I’m going to play zero minutes, five minutes, or twenty minutes. I’m just going to take advantage and do what I do.”
With eight seconds on the clock, Kaiser stole the ball from Amari Joseph to lock up a decisive 75-35 win over the Greyhounds.
The Rams continue their five-game home stand on Tuesday at 7 p.m. versus No. 21 Oklahoma.
“It’s just another opportunity to go out and compete against a really good basketball team,” Williams said. “We’re going to play against the highest level on Tuesday.”
Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChristianHCSU.