Record-setting performance propels Rams over New Mexico Highlands

Colin Barnard

Everything was clicking for the Rams on Sunday as they tripled up New Mexico Highlands, in more ways than one, to the tune of a 96-31 victory.

The three ball was falling all day long for the Rams (6-4) who finished an incredible 20-of-33 from deep. The 20 made three-point field goals set a program record for most three pointers made in a game. The Rams 21st straight victory at Moby Arena ties their longest home winning streak in program history.

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The three-point barrage came from many faces as six players contributed at least two made three-pointers. Callie Kaiser lead all scorers with 20 points, 4-of-5 from three-point range, and added nine rebounds, eight assists, four steals and two blocks, one of which was sent into the third row, setting the tone from the get-go. Hannah Tvrdy tied her career high in points with 17 (5-6 3FG).

“After you hit a few (three-pointers), that kind of gets everyone else going,” Tvrdy said. “I think our energy was a lot better this game. Once the shots were falling, we were really hyped for each other. That just spread throughout the team, and we fed off of each other.”

After scoring 17 points in the loss to Colorado on Thursday, Kaiser’s 20 points mark the second game in a row that she has led the Rams in scoring. Predominately a defensive spark off the bench to begin the year, her performance against CU caught the attention of head coach Ryun Williams, who gave her the start against NMHU.

“This is a game where we could get (Kaiser) a lot of run at the point, get her a little more comfortable there,” Williams said. “Callie really made the most of her opportunity in the CU game with the extended minutes, and obviously today. I’m really proud that she performed well, that she was ready to go.”

“I do feel more comfortable,” Kaiser said. “Honestly, I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team and do whatever I need to do.”

The zone defense that Williams has explored this season seemed to click on all cylinders Sunday afternoon, leading to 23 forced turnovers which the Rams converted into 39 points. Even after the first unit was replaced in the third quarter, the second unit looked comfortable playing in the zone.

“It’s something that fits some of our personnel,” Williams said. “We’ve got some kids that are pretty active in the zone and play pretty instinctively. To win games in our league, you have to play some multiple defenses. The zone can help us as the year progresses.”

With an early lead, Williams was able to rest some of his starters, explore the success of different lineups and watch his players shoot the ball better than they have all season long.

“We’re still figuring out the way we play,” Williams said. “We’ll probably have multiple starting lineups throughout conference season. The thing that I was most impressed with was just their mentality. They shot the ball to make it. They shot with some conviction, and you could see that. That was impressive.”

The Rams are not in action again until Sunday Dec. 18 when they host Seattle University.

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Collegian sports reporter Colin Barnard can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_