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Grace Colaivalu shines in tough conference loss

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Colorado State women’s basketball opened Mountain West play with a disappointing loss to Boise State Thursday night. The Rams were defeated by the Broncos 62-58 in Moby Arena, despite leading by as much as 12 in the game. 

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While it did not result in a victory for her squad, redshirt freshman guard Grace Colaivalu was dominant for head coach Ryun Williams.

Colaivalu, who wears No. 23 like Michael Jordan and LeBron James, looked a lot like LeBron in Moby Arena. Colaivalu was everywhere for the Rams early, starting the contest 7-of-7 from the field and finishing the first half with 17 points.

Whether squaring up for a 3-point attempt or cutting through the lane, the Broncos simply had no answer for Colaivalu. In total, Colaivalu did not miss a single field goal attempt until four minutes into the third quarter and finished the night with a game-high 26 points.

“We had to have an aggressive mindset coming into this game,” Colaivalu said.

Colaivalu was an extremely effective scorer but she also displayed a willingness to lay it all on the line for her teammates. Three separate times in Thursday’s game, Colaivalu dove head first for a loose ball on the floor. That effort did not go unnoticed by her coach and teammates.

Coming out of halftime with an eight point lead (32-24), the Rams struggled to keep their momentum, as they were outscored 20-10 in the third quarter by the Broncos. By the end of the quarter, the Rams’ comfortable lead had turned into a 44-42 deficit.

Things did not get any easier for the Rams in the fourth quarter. After scoring a couple of quick buckets to open the fourth, CSU was held scoreless for over five minutes and lost both Annie Brady and Colaivalu, both of which fouled out.

“It sucks to be taken out of the game because of silly fouls,” Colaivalu said. “A lot of those fouls were on me and just because of decisions I made poorly.”

CSU ultimately kept things close and had an opportunity to tie the ballgame, but Hannah Tvrdy’s 3-point attempt fell short of the rim with 6 seconds left and Boise State proceeded to put the final nail in the coffin at the free throw line.

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Following the tough loss to begin the Mountain West portion of the schedule, the team will look to get back on track against San Jose State on Saturday.

Collegian sports director Justin Michael can be reached at jmichael@collegian.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.

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