3 Takeaways as Rams fall in Border War

Sergio Santistevan

In a game that the Moby faithful circled on their calendars at the beginning of the year, fans were left disappointed as the Colorado State women’s basketball team trailed early and often in the annual Border War matchup with the University of Wyoming.

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In their first out of two matchups this season with the Cowgirls, CSU (8-14, 2-9) was defeated in front of their orange out crowd 60-49.

Here are three takeaways from the Rams ninth Mountain West conference loss of the season.

Offense is still in search of an identity

Player drives
Liah Davis (34) drives in under the basket and looks to shoot during the Border War game. The Rams lost to the Cowgirls 60-49. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

The Rams’ season can be defined by a struggle to score the ball. CSU is the lowest scoring team in the Mountain West, averaging 55 points per game. With the defense often playing superb, the offense suffers three to four minute scoring droughts. The scoring woes were repeated against the Cowgirls when CSU didn’t make their first field goal until halfway through the first quarter and only ended the quarter with four points in total.

CSU shot 37.8 percent in the game, a lot of which can be attributed to their fourth-quarter shooting, where the Rams hit slightly over 60 percentage of their shots.

“(Its was) just a struggle all night offensively to find any rhythm in anybody we can play through,” Head Coach Ryun Williams said. “Offensively … not enough bullets, not enough playmakers to get anything going tonight.”

One bright spot on the offensive end for the Rams was redshirt Sophomore Liah Davis. Davis came into the game averaging three points and two rebounds a game but nearly recorded a double-double with 21 points and 9 rebounds.

Rams missing their ball-handler

Player shoots
Mollie Mounsey (24) shoots from the three point line, while the Rams battle the Cowgirls. The Rams lose 60-49. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

With starting guard Grace Colaivalu missing her third straight game due to an injury, the Rams were without their main ball-handler once again.

After trying a few different ball-handlers in the past couple games, Williams seemed to roll with Mollie Mounsey as the team’s main ball-handler against the Cowgirls. Despite struggling in the early portion, Mounsey figured things out as the game went on.

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“I thought Mollie (Mounsey) did a fairly good job that second half,” Williams said. 

What hurts the Rams with Mounsey running the point is she often dribbles against pressure instead of getting open shots. As a team that struggles with shooting, losing Mounsey’s open looks hurt the Rams’ offense.

With no timetable set for Colaivalu’s return, expect the Rams to keep using different ball-handlers, with Mounsey being the main distributor.

The Rams’ strength remains on defense

Player prevents a rebound
Lore Devos (35) prevents the Cowgirls from rebounding, as CSU takes on Wyoming at home. The Rams fall short 60-49. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

The last-ranked Mountain West offense is also the first-ranked defense. As it has all season, CSU’s identity remained on the defensive side of the ball.
Williams was impressed with how well his defense played today, holding the Cowgirls to 60 points and 17 turnovers.

“This group is just a struggle offensively,” said Williams. “They just have an inability to score the ball consistently throughout a basketball game. That’s just how this group is.”

Going forward, Williams says that he will continue to look for ways to cure the team’s offense and find any sort of identity on that side.
With the lack of playmaking and shot-making on the offense side, the Rams were unable to keep up with the Cowgirls’ scoring led by Marta Gomez, who shot seven of eight fields goals for 20 points.

Sergio Santistevan can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TheRealsSergio.