CSU women’s basketball team guts out 44-38 win over New Mexico

Sam Lounsberry

2015 began with a win for Colorado State women’s hoops, but it wasn’t a pretty one.

The Rams squeaked by New Mexico Saturday afternoon 44-38 for their first Mountain West win of the season after dropping their conference opener against Boise State on New Year’s Eve.

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The game began with Elin Gustavsson leading the Rams with five early points for an initial lead, but the Lobos scored a couple quick baskets to tie the game at seven. From there, a seven-minute scoring drought ensued for both teams as they entered a sloppy turnover fest. The Rams and Lobos combined for 15 turnovers in the first 10 minutes alone with neither team shooting over 25 percent.

Alana Arias checked into the game for the Rams to make an immediate impact and clean up the game slightly. The center was the one bright spot of the first half, scoring nine points on 4-4 shooting to help CSU take a two point lead 17-15 into the locker room. CSU ended shooting 33 percent for the first half while UNM shot just 21 percent. The Lobos scored 11 of their 15 first half points off CSU’s 12 turnovers.

Arias came out of the locker still hot for CSU, scoring a jumper in the paint and then drawing a foul for two free throws to put CSU up 22-17 in the opening minutes of the second frame.

Another bucket by Arias plus a Jamie Patrick 3-pointer and an Ellen Nystrom jumper built an 11-point lead for the Rams midway through the second 36-25. But the Rams began throwing the ball away again, allowing UNM to tie the game at 36 behind more points off turnovers and a string of free throws from Antieshea Brown.

But Elin Gustvsson responded with a drive to the basket she finished through contact and converted the and-one at the free throw line to recapture the lead for the Rams with under five minutes to play. Victoria Wells then got a layup to extend the CSU lead to five, but New Mexico’s Bryce Owens hit a jumper with under three minutes to go to bring the Lobos back within three, 41-38.

The Lobos had a chance to cut it to just one with just over a minute to go, but missed a layup over the long arms of Gustavsson and Nystrom.

Gustavsson missed a layup on the Rams’ next possession, but Wells kept it alive for CSU by snagging her fifth offensive rebound of the day. She then kicked it to Nystrom at the top of the key from where the sophomore buried a jumper to put the Rams up five with under a minute to play. Gritt Ryer chipped in one more free throw to secure a CSU victory.

With the win, CSU moves to 9-4 on the season and 1-1 in the Mountain West, while New Mexico slides to 4-9 and 0-2 in the conference.

The Rams next game is Wednesday in Laramie against the rival Wyoming Cowgirls. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. and the game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.

Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @samlounz.

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