Rams falter from deep in second loss in as many contests

Luke Zahlmann

Colorado State women’s basketball suffered another barn-burner gone awry against the Boise State Broncos as they fell late in Boise, 55-49, and failed to capitalize on another opportunity to rise in the conference standings as the season comes to a close. 

The Rams once again led the Broncos after the first quarter with a spread scoring output among the team. Junior Annie Brady led the way with four points on two inside buckets after the opening quarter. The Rams failed to extend their lead further than a pair due to shoddy shooting and the lack of a single trip to the charity stripe.

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A player looks up to the refs after falling on the ground.
Hannah Tvrdy looks to see if the ref called a foul on a play that caused her to fall during the pink out game agaisnt Fresno State on Feb. 17. The Rams fells to the Bulldgos 75-64 in overtime. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

Relying on the outside shot early kept the Rams in the game while also serving as a hindrance to their momentum. Three separate players had a make from beyond the arc in the first, but the Rams became reliant on the shot, forcing themselves into a jumper-heavy offense.

“We made some mistakes,” coach Ryun Williams said. “They had 12 points off of our turnovers in that first half. We made a couple subs and, voila. It was more us and they got in that double bonus.”

Stalwart senior Hanna Tvrdy hit the Rams’ first pair of attempts from the free throw line midway through the second, another example of the Rams’ inability to get inside against the Broncos. A team that usually feeds on driving and cutting to the basket, the Rams hoisted up over half of their overall attempts from outside in the opening half.

The reliance from deep led to a juxtaposition of first-half results for the Rams as they trailed by seven after leading by eight at the half in their previous matchup with the Broncos. With 15 attempts in the first half, the Rams had already beat their first matchup total of 14 with a half to go.

“You gotta go make some baskets, there’s another end of the floor,” Williams said. “We chart how many shots we miss inside the restricted arc, we missed 13. That’s a 3-foot shot.”

Coming out of the locker room, the game plan for the Rams stayed true with their first three attempts after the break coming from deep. Fortunately for the streaky squad, they hit two of the three to gain ground on the Broncos.

The fouls built up quickly for the Rams in the third, sending the Broncos into the bonus with a considerable amount of clock left before the final quarter.

Despite foul trouble for much of the third quarter, the visitors trimmed the Broncos’ lead to three with the final quarter remaining. The Rams’ 38 points in the first three quarters were made up of 25 from the trio of Tvrdy, Stine Austgulen and Brady. Outside of the three, the Rams did not get much of an offensive rhythm going, missing multiple looks inside as the game drew closer to the final whistle.

The Rams held the Broncos without a field goal for over five minutes in the final quarter but failed to expel the deficit as they shot a combined 1-for-10 during the shutout. A failure to hit one of their many attempts from deep served as the catalyst for the Rams’ misfortunes. They finished the contest with a 23.1 percent clip from deep, with 29 percent shooting overall.

“We had some crucial misses at the foul line in that stretch when we could have maybe really closed the gap,” Williams said. “That’s stuff that we can control and that’s probably why we’re beating our heads against the wall.”

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The contest served as one of the most glaring offensive cold streaks in a season full of lulls for the Rams’ offense.

The Rams will look to end their two-game losing streak at home as they host Nevada in Moby Saturday in their second to last game of their season. Virtually out of contention for the first seed in the conference tournament, the Rams will look to gain momentum in their final two contests.

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