Rams put up a fight in second loss to Fresno State

Ashley Potts

In the midst of a less successful season than they’re used to, it seems the Rams still have some fight in them.

Despite their 7-10 (1-5) record, and a winless record in five tries on the road this year, Colorado State went into their game at Save Mart Center confident. 

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In the first quarter the Rams executed on both sides of the court. They held Fresno’s Candice White to a scoreless first quarter.

Limiting White was a big part of the game plan coming into the game; she finished non-conference play as the Mountain West scoring leader and has been named an Ann Meyers Drysdale Award—for the nation’s best shooting guard—player to watch. 

“I saw a team that was really fighting, really tried to execute and offensively, really did a lot of good things,” Coach Ryun Williams said. “Defensively, we did a lot of good things. We did a great job on (Candice) White. Some of those other kids (from Fresno State) were making plays because we dedicated a lot of attention and space to (White).”

But defense can’t win games alone, as the Rams have shown often this year.

The Rams converted their chances well in the first quarter alongside their stout defensive efforts. They shot 50 percent from the field and held onto the lead for more than six minutes, ending the first up by three.

The second quarter saw the Bulldogs get some of their game back. White started scoring and her team gained the lead. After scoring 17 points in their successful first quarter, the Rams only managed nine in the second, eliciting flashbacks from their previous game against Nevada in which they scored single digits in two separate frames.

Fresno held onto the lead until the end of the third. After trailing by single digits the entire third quarter and outscoring Fresno 14-7, the Rams eventually tied things up at 40 at the buzzer, leaving the game up to the winner of the final frame. 

The fourth quarter was very evenly matched.

The finals stats sheet shows each team having 12 turnovers and 58 possessions with the lead changing hands five times. The lead bounced back and forth, with no one holding on to it for long. It continued that way until Fresno’s Aly Gamez got a steal that turned into a fastbreak and extended her team’s lead to four with only two minutes left to play.

That play seemed to give the Bulldog’s the final burst of energy they needed as they would go on an unanswered six-point streak to extend their lead to 56-50.

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Lore Devos managed another score, but the Rams were still behind by four with under a minute left. 

PLayer dribbling ball
Lore Devos dribbles the ball down the court in their January 23, 2019, game against the University of Nevada. (Alyse Oxenford | Collegian)

Both teams applied a lot of pressure in the final seconds, and tried to use their remaining team fouls strategically. But unfortunately, there just wasn’t time for the Rams to come back from the six-point deficit.

Tatum Neubert and Lore Devos both reached double-digit scoring in the game, scoring 18 and 12 points respectively.

The team-high 18 points was the first time this year Neubert accumulated a team-best scoring figure. 

The Rams also held White to a team-high 13 points, followed by Aly Gamez scoring 12.

The Rams dominated the game in the paint, outperforming Fresno 30-6 in the restricted area. However, Fresno performed nearly 15% better on 3-pointers and beat the Rams at the charity stripe as well. 

While still disappointing, the game is an improvement over the Rams’ last meeting with the Bulldogs, in which White lit the Rams up for 28 points and ended in a 66-55 loss.

CSU will look to continue that improvement and tough play in their next matchup on Wednesday at defending conference champions and current second-in-the-league Boise State. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m.

Ashley Potts can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ashleypotts09.