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Women’s basketball to showdown with University of Colorado

For an athlete, the sideline you stand on and the university you choose is part of your identity, and when playing in a rivalry game, it’s important to know where you stand.

It’s not often that you find an athlete that experiences a rivalry from both sidelines, but Makenzie Ellis of the Colorado State women’s basketball team will be in that position when the Rams host rival University of Colorado Boulder on Friday.

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Ellis played her freshman and sophomore seasons in the black and gold from 2015-17 before transferring to Southern Methodist University as an upperclassman. The 6-foot-2-inch forward then came to Fort Collins to play for CSU as a graduate transfer in 2019.

Women's basketball game
Colorado State University’s Makenzie Ellis (11) takes a shot during the women’s basketball game against Northern Illinois University at Moby Arena on Nov. 17, 2019. The Rams fell to the Huskies in overtime 80-75. (Skyler Pradhan | The Collegian)

The Rams (3-2) have dropped their last three matchups to the Buffs (3-0) and eight of the last 10. The Rams are coming off two losses after starting the season with three straight wins.

After dropping their last contest 80-75 in overtime to Northern Illinois, head coach Ryun Williams and the Rams will look to limit their turnovers and clean up their shooting, which hurt them against the Huskies. 

“The second half, we didn’t shoot the ball as well, and (we had) some costly turnovers, which allowed them to get out in fast break,” Williams said.

The Buffs, on the other hand, are coming off a 66-56 road win against the University of Wyoming this past Sunday, led by junior Mya Hollingshed, who leads the Buffs offense, scoring 15.3.

“They have really good size and are quite athletic,” Williams said. “They have some quickness at the guard spot and are really long on the wing, paired with some physical interior play. They try to use their interior strength to score the ball, so we have to be ready for it.”  

The Rams currently lead the Mountain West in 3-point percentage from beyond the arc at 38.5%. However, the Rams have yielded the highest amount of 3-pointers given up with 41 on the season, tied with New Mexico. 

CU owns the lead in the series all-time with a record of 38-12, and the Rams will attempt to claim their first victory over the Buffs since the 2015 season. The victory for the Rams came with Ellis on the CU sideline for that 2015 game that CSU won 64-63, but Ellis followed it up with five points and seven rebounds in a 74-56 Buffs win in 2016. 

Nostalgia will be in the air as the Rams will wear their throwback gold jerseys from the late 1990s this Friday as the game gets underway at 5 p.m. in Moby Arena. 

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Ryan Loberger can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Lobergeryan.

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