Offensive struggles catch up to CSU in loss to Utah State

Michael Roley

Colorado State women’s basketball team has proven that they can win even if their offense is not firing on all cylinders.

Saturday’s 44-41 win over UNLV was a perfect case-in-point of that. The Rams shot just 33.3 percent from the floor, including a 3 of 18 mark from 3-point range. They committed 22 turnovers and were held to their lowest point total of the year.

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But, they were rock solid defensively, stifling the Rebels’ offensive attack and holding them to a nearly equal shooting percentage of 32 percent while turning 19 turnovers into 13 points on the other end.

Fast forward to Wednesday night, and a similar script played out against Utah State at The Spectrum in Logan, Utah. The offensive woes continued for the Rams, shooting just 27 percent. However, the Aggies found more offense than the Rebels could, shooting 42 percent and knocking down timely shots to snap CSU’s nine-game winning streak with a 55-48 upset.

“You hold somebody in their home arena to 55, you probably should have a chance to win,” coach Ryun Williams said in a statement. “Obviously shooting the ball the way we shot it tonight, you’re not going to do that.”

 The shots did start fell late in the game as CSU staged a rally, it was just too little, too late. The Rams (18-6, 10-2 MW) never led in the contest and struggled from the outset, starting out 1-for-7 in the first five minutes of the first period. Meanwhile, Utah State shot 43 percent in the quarter and knocked down three 3-pointers, including a last second heave at the buzzer.

“They were more urgent. We played tired and we played flat. They played with a greater purpose than us,” Williams said. “We’ve been hanging by a thread, let’s face it. You could see that with UNLV. We had it coming.”

Myanne Hamm appeared to inject some life in the offense with two early 3-pointers in the second quarter, but that was short-lived as the sluggish shooting continued into the intermission as the Rams managed only nine second quarter points and entered halftime at a 19 percent shooting clip from the field.

In the second half, Utah State pushed their lead to as much as 16 at one point in the fourth. An Ellen Nystrom 3-point play cut the Aggie deficit to 11 but Utah State kept their lead in double-digits most of the quarter. The Rams were trailing by 15 with less then three minutes to go and then proceeded to knock down three 3-pointers in a minute’s time span to trim the deficit to five with just under 40 seconds to play before Utah State put the contest on ice by converting clutch free throws.

27 of CSU’s 48 points came from 3-point territory while Utah State outscored CSU 24-10 in the paint.

No Rams reached double-figures as Ellen Nystrom led with nine. Stine Austgulen and Callie Kaiser both added eight apiece. Only one player, Sofie Tryggedsson, had more than two made field goals. Hamm paced the Rams in the first half with all seven of her points coming in the first 20 minutes.

CSU will continue its road swing at Fresno State on Sat. at 3 p.m.

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Sports Reporter Michael Roley can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @michael_roley