Rams make history with 4th straight Mountain West title

Justin Michael

Highlights provided by CTV Sports

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Colorado State will have its name attached to four straight Mountain West titles.

With a 58-55 win over New Mexico,the Colorado State women’s basketball team (21-6,13-2 MW) made their mark on history Wednesday night. With the win, at the very minimum, the Rams will own a share of the Mountain West regular season championship for a fourth straight year, something no other program, men’s or women’s, has ever done in the conference.

“I thought New Mexico was really tough tonight but we made some really timely shots,” head coach Ryun Williams said following the victory. “We have really been doing that all year and that is how you win a championship. You have got to have kids step up and make winning plays. I’m happy we got the win. Four in a row is really special.”

Donning pink uniforms in support of breast cancer research, the Rams were once again led by the senior duo of Elin Gustavsson and Ellen Nystrom, both of which finished the evening with a double-double. Gustavsson finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and Nystrom led all scorers with 22 points, while bringing down ten 10 boards of her own.

Following the win over University of New Mexico, Williams spoke of the massive impact these two have made on the program over the last four years, winning over 100 games and four straight league titles.

EJERGE_WBBALL_VSNEWMEXICO_SPORTS_022217__1509-1024x683.jpg
CSU Seniors Ellen Nystrom and Elin Gustavsson celebrate their 1000th career point during a post-game ceremony on February 22 at Moby Arena. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

 

“These two (Gustavsson and Nystrom) have a lot more responsibility with this one,” Williams said. “They had a ton of responsibility for all four, but let’s face it, we play through these two seniors right here. They are our heartbeat. This is their championship.”

Despite getting a pair of double-double’s from the Swedish duo, the Lobos fought the Rams to the buzzer and actually took a one point lead with two minutes remaining in the contest.

“I think our kids understand that this is how it is going to be this late in the season,” Williams said. “There is just nothing easy out there, especially when you see an opponent for the second time.”

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Then Nystrom took over like she has her entire career, making what would end up being the game-winning layup with 5.5 seconds, before securing the victory by blocking Alex Lapeyrolerie’s three-point attempt with just two seconds to go.

“I really wanted to win this game and I was not going to lose it,” Nystrom said, referring to the final block.

After defeating the Lobos and picking up their 13th conference win of the season, CSU will need to win just one of their final three games to secure the league title outright. Despite technically accomplishing their goal, the Rams are not taking their final three opponents lightly and have no intention of sharing the league title.

“You do not win the number of games they have won, without them keeping a level head,” Williams said. “They know this was one of our goals. They do not want to share it and they know what has got to get done in Las Vegas. That is probably the biggest goal, so we want to just keep moving this thing forward and keep getting better.”

Colorado State will be on the road next, as they travel to California to take on San Diego State on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Collegian sports reporter Justin Michael can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.