CSU heads to Reno to defend their winning streak against Nevada

Luke Zahlmann

From up north to the west side of the country, Colorado State women’s basketball will continue their traveling ways in hopes of gaining further traction in the conference standings against Nevada (11-9, 4-5 Mountain West).

Riding the wave of a three-game win streak that included a victory over top dog Wyoming, the Rams roll into Reno on a high note. In their win streak, the Rams have locked in on both sides, averaging 70 points per game, a figure almost 10 points higher than their season average.

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a player runs toward the basket, ready to jump, with an opponent trying to block her
Grace Colaivalu drives to the basket, defended by a University of New Mexico player, during the State Pride game on Saturday, Jan. 27. The Rams beat the Lobos 74-71 in overtime. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

On the other side, defense has continued to hum for the Rams as they have averaged near their season average of 55 points allowed per game, first in the conference and tied for 12th in the nation.

“Knowing that we will defend the other team well gives us an advantage,” Stine Austgulen said.

Directly juxtaposing the Rams is the Wolfpack who come into the matchup riding the lulls of a two-game losing streak, the most recent by double digits. Unfortunately for the hosts, they have yet to beat the Rams since their inclusion to the conference, an eight-game losing streak overall.

“We just have to take it one game at a time,” Hannah Tvrdy said. “No matter if it’s Wyoming or Nevada or anyone, that game is most important. We’ve learned from past games already that anyone can beat anyone, so I think that every game, (we have to) have that focus of giving our all.”

Nevada poses an offensive threat that is similar to the Rams. The Wolfpack spread the scoring around and allow their points to be distributed, rather than housing a frontrunner in the department. Though the Rams have relied on big nights from Tvrdy during their win streak, they continue to push a community narrative on offense, both inside and outside the arc.

In their win streak, the Rams have embraced several different lineups and looks for other teams, allowing players that rarely played early in the season to embrace their role on the court. The new game plan has worked out well for the Rams who are outscoring their opponents by an average of nearly 15 points per game in their streak.

“That’s been our biggest strength as of late,” coach Ryun Williams said. “We don’t just have to rely on a couple of kids, we have everybody playing with a freedom and the ball is moving.”

As a team that has been nearly outscored in the year as a whole, the Wolfpack have been unable to string together several good games in a row on both sides of the ball. Allowing nearly 15 more points a game than the visiting Rams will be a large hurdle for the Wolfpack still in search of a victory over their conference foes.

Leading the underdog effort for the home team will be senior Teige Zeller, who is the leading scorer and rebounder for the team averaging a near double-double with 13.6 points and 8.2 boards a game. Coming off several games against elite guards, the Rams will be tasked with a new challenge in the 6-foot-2-inch forward, size that nearly rivals the tallest of the Rams’ players.

The Rams matchup against the Wolfpack is the first of three against teams in the bottom half of the conference, a streak of games that can push the Rams from the middle to the top of the conference in one fell swoop.

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The game will take place at 3 p.m. in Nevada on Saturday before the Rams return home to host Air Force the following Wednesday.

Collegian sports reporter Luke Zahlmann can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @lukezahlmann.