CSU women’s basketball falls to Buffs in Showdown

Mack Beaulieu

Just about everything that could go wrong for Colorado State did in this year’s women’s basketball edition of the Rocky Mountain Showdown, resulting in a 59-40 loss.

About the only bright spot in the game was that they didn’t all come at once. The Rams were flush with turnovers and allowed multiple offensive rebounds in the first half to cancel out everything they were doing right on defense, spoiling a strong shooting first half.

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In the second half, the Rams’ offense vanished even while mostly rectifying those problems.

“The rebounding and turning it over were two huge things,” Coach Ryun Williams said. “It’s amazing that we held them to 59 points. Our zone was good and they performed the plan well, but we just have to finish plays. They played a little better the second half, but you’ve got to convert.”

It was a high-intensity matchup at the start as the Rams saw a pressing defense almost immediately from the University of Colorado and with the Buffs getting their hands in the passing lanes, bodies from both teams were hitting the floor.

The Rams were playing strong defense to start in terms of shooting, holding the Buffs to under 27 percent shooting in the first half.

“The rebounding is a huge Achilles’ heel for us, but we’ve just got to figure out how to rebound better than we did tonight.” Ryun Williams, coach

The Rams were neck and neck with the Buffs until a couple of minutes into the second half when their turnovers and the offensive boards they were allowing started to catch up to them.

The Rams had the height to contest shots but were consistently outmuscled on the board by the Buffs in the first half.

Lore Devos, 35, runs around Colorado Christian University during the exhibition game Nov. 2. (Tony Villalobos May | Collegian)

“Our ball handling has to be able to perform under pressure, and it didn’t do that tonight,” Williams said. “(Grace Colaivalu) and (Lore Devos) need to be able to handle the ball for us and get us into what we need to get into and tonight they just didn’t have very good nights and when that happens, we’re going to struggle.”

By the time the second quarter had wrapped up, the Rams were down by nine, but had already committed 15 turnovers and allowed 14 offensive boards. Sophomore Grace Colaivalu was pestered by junior guard Quinessa Caylao-Do for the entirety of the first half and had four steals by the end of it. 

All the Rams’ ballhandlers seemed to struggle with the pressure from the Buffs’ guards, but it was junior Mollie Mounsey who handled it best as she led the Rams with eight points, an assist and at least one pass-to-assist that led to a wide-open three from Devos in the first half.

“They were really up on us trying to rattle us,” Mounsey said. “We just need to calm down and really take control of our game.”

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The Rams tried to answer their turnover struggles in the second half with a slower pace and a ton of screens, but it did little to help the offense as they didn’t score until just under four minutes remained in the third quarter. The teams’ shooters started the quarter 1-13 and saw that first-half deficit almost double, getting down by as many as 17 in the third before a little spark in the form of a finish through contact by sophomore guard Lore Devos and a Mounsey three.

Immediately following the spark, the Buffs went back to the boards, earning themselves three extra possessions and resulting in four points to briefly have a seemingly-manageable deficit extended back to 15.

“I don’t know if we had the height or the size,” Williams said. “But they’re more athletic and a little more physical, that’s just something we have to figure out how to address that. The rebounding is a huge Achilles’ heel for us, but we’ve just got to figure out how to rebound better than we did tonight.”

From there it didn’t get any better for the Rams as the Buffs got hot from three-point range, even getting them high off the glass, and didn’t let up on the boards. Sophomore Mya Hollingshed was particularly impressive for the Buffs as the forward put up 15 points, seven boards and two blocks in the game. Mounsey led the Rams with 14 and Devos followed with 9, but it was much too little this time around.

Mack Beaulieu can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Mack_Covers.