UNC bears down in the final frame to stifle Rams at home

Luke Zahlmann

Most things for Colorado State women’s basketball are new this year.

The Rams have endured the integration of more than half of their roster posing as new faces, including three in the starting lineup alone on Tuesday night.

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With the roster turnover came reversed results as the Rams fell to the University of Northern Colorado, 53-47, just a year after beating the Bears by double-digits.

In the second game of their cold streak after shooting 26.9 percent from the field against the University of Colorado, the Rams once again faltered from the field down the stretch. In the matchup, the Rams shot 36.2% percent, with a 29.4-percent mark from outside.

“You hold em’ to (53) points, that’s a really nice job defensively,” Coach Ryun Williams said. “(We) battled quite well, but offensively, just a huge struggle for us right now. It’s been that way for three games.”

On offense, the Rams were once again led by sophomore Lore Devos, a common trend on the year for the team’s leading scorer. After leading the Rams in scoring in last year’s opener, Devos struggled for much of the year, finishing in the middle of the pack in scoring (7.1). 

CSU player shoot
Lore Devos(35) pulls up, shoots, and scores during CSU’s game vs Eastern NM on November 6th, 2018. The Rams win 72-46(Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

An offseason spent between the Rams and the Denmark national team has paid off for Devos thus far as the forward leads the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game. That development has been headed by an increased reliance to shoulder the load.

“I just know I need to be there every night,” Devos said. “I (know) I gotta do it for the team, I can’t have an off night.”

For the Bears, redshirt senior Savannah Smith was enjoying a similar resurgence coming into the year. Through a trio of games, Smith had registered 22 points per game, led by a 32-point showing against the aforementioned Buffs in their opener.

Against the Rams’ mix of zone and man-to-man defense, Smith’s scoring depressed. On a mere 1-15 mark from the field, the fifth-year guard accumulated only three points, a marginal improvement to last year’s matchup between the two squads when she scored only two.

Right before halftime, the Rams went on an 11-2 run, fueled by Devos who scored seven on the spree, all inside the paint.

Similarities were in abundance from the first half to the second, with the Rams’ defense once again playing the role of enforcer. That was until the fourth quarter came about.

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Held back by a 9.1-shooting percentage in the concluding quarter, the Rams went 8:02 without a single field goal. In the quarter’s entirety, the hosts scored only three points, with the Bears countering with 16 of their own.

“I don’t think our kids ever really showed any panic,” Williams said. “But (I just wanted them to) set some things up, facilitate the offense.”

The teams’ struggles were highlighted once again by junior Mollie Mounsey, who after a hot-shooting exhibition season has failed to garner a footing through three games. Despite the sharpshooter’s average of 21 per game in the team’s pair of preseason games, Mounsey has only accumulated 11.3 points per game in the early going.

A slow start from their leader on offense has hindered the entire Rams’ offense. After scoring 150 points in two games in the preseason, the offense has registered only 149 through three regular-season contests.

“You hold em’ to (53) points, that’s a really nice job defensively. (We) battled quite well, but offensively, just a huge struggle for us right now. It’s been that way for three games.”Ryun Williams

Off to a 1-2 start, the Rams will once again have multiple days to get ready to host Cornell University on Sunday.

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