CSU women’s basketball begins practice leading up to 2017-18 season

Colin Barnard

The Colorado State women’s basketball team began preparations for the 2017-18 season with its first practice of the season on Sunday.

The practice marks the first of many in the team’s five weeks leading up to an exhibition against UCCS on Nov. 1. Nine days later, the Rams will begin regular season play at home against Idaho.

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CSU comes into the season as four-time defending Mountain West champions. They are the only team, men’s or women’s, to win the MW title in four consecutive years. Though the Rams failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament last year, they did record their first postseason win since 2003 after defeating St. Mary’s in the WNIT.

The Rams return 11 players from last year’s roster, including a trio of seniors in Stine Austgulen, Hannah Tvrdy and Veronika Mirkovic. Tvrdy and Austgulen ranked third and fourth on the team last year in scoring, respectively.

Newcomers on the team include freshmen Lena Svanholm, Lauren Brocke and Lore Devos in addition to junior college transfer Annie Brady. When including players who redshirted last year, the Rams boast six freshmen on their roster.

While there is plenty of talent returning, the Rams will be without their lethal duo of Ellen Nystrom and Elin Gustavsson for the first time in four years. The Swedish tandem finished their outstanding careers as the winningest players in Mountain West history.

Entering his sixth year as CSU’s head coach, Ryun Williams’ .795 winning percentage is the highest clip in conference history. In his five years at CSU, Williams has won the Mountain West four times and earned Mountain West Coach of the Year honors twice.

Practice will continue on a nearly daily basis leading up to the exhibition on Nov. 1. The Rams will not play a road game until Nov. 30 at the University of Denver and will not leave the state until Jan. 3 against San Diego State.

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