CSU women’s hoops prevails over Prairie View A&M 71-59 at Moby

Christian Hedrick

In their first game in over a week, the Colorado State women’s basketball team jumped right back into action with a 71-59 victory over the speedy Prairie View A&M Panthers on Monday night at Moby Arena.

Despite the double-digit final score line, the visiting Panthers gave the Rams fits and little room to breath throughout the penultimate non-conference test of the season.

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“Their (PVAM) quickness bothered us. They shot the ball a lot better than they’ve been shooting it on the year,” head coach Ryun Williams said. “They played well, but when it became winning time, it became winning time.”      

The Panthers flashed their speed right out of the gates when PVAM leading scorer Shala Dobbins collected the opening tip and raced down the lane for an uncontested layup to spark an up-tempo opening quarter in the Rams’ return to Moby Arena.

After quickly falling behind 5-0 in the first minute, Stine Austgulen netted her team leading 18th 3-pointer in front of the PVAM bench to tie the game at five. Austgulen finished the night with an 11-point, 10-rebound performance.  

“Stine (Austgulen) was really rock solid all night and defensively she played her wing really well,” Williams said. “All Stine does is help you win basketball games.”

Upon falling behind early in the second, Junior Callie Kaiser put CSU back in the driver’s seat with a 3-point jump shot. Though three different Rams sunk a three in the first quarter, Kaiser’s hoop wound up being the extent of the Rams’ 3-point production for the half.

After missing their next two field goals, the Rams relied on their strength in the paint and drove the net for the next 12 points to go up 32-27 at the break.

“That’s our strength,” Williams said. “That’s where we want to go. We want to fast-break and if not, we want to throw that sucker back inside and play and facilitate from that spot.”

With Moby arena on their feet cheering on the CSU defense coming out of the break, Talisha Pressley silenced the Ram faithful with her first field goal of the evening. On the ensuing PVAM possession, Dobbins, in the midst of a 21-point performance, left the game momentarily with an injury. Despite the absence from the game’s leading scorer, PVAM remained hot from the field to take a 40-39 lead.

While the Panthers’ 43 percent shooting percentage in the third quarter marked their most effective quarter, CSU’s five third-quarter turnovers did the home team no favors either.

“I just think we had some inconsistencies in our focus,” Williams said. “Our point guard play for three quarters was not good. We played two freshman at that spot, so we’re going to go through some growing pains there.”

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Colaivalu led the Rams on an 8-0 run at the end of the third, but the Panthers refused to go down without a fight and kept it a three-point game heading into final frame.

With the Rams up five and under four minutes remaining, the dangerous Dobbins picked off a CSU pass at midcourt and drove for an open layup. However, a trailing Colaivalu never gave up on the play and blocked Dobbins’ attempt with authority. The redshirt freshman’s big block proved significant, as the Panthers never cut the deficit to within five for the rest of the night.

The Rams’ defense finally got ahold of PVAM’s speedy guards, limiting the Panthers to just four field goals in the fourth quarter and none in the final five minutes. Despite the slow start, the Rams pulled away for a convincing 71-59 win.

“Im not going to make the excuse that Christmas and break is coming up. We have to be here mentally. And I think it just came late in the game like, “We’re here, we have to play,” Colaivalu said.

The Rams have one last tune-up at Moby Arena on Thursday at noon before Mountain West Conference play begins.  

Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ChristianHCSU.

Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ChristianHCSU.