Women’s basketball aims for series sweep over Air Force

Bailey Shepherd

The regular season is coming to an end, and the Colorado State University women’s basketball team will be looking to finish a frustrating season on a high note. The Rams will be traveling to Colorado Springs for their final conference clash of the season against the Air Force Academy on Thursday.

The Falcons, who have had their own list of struggles this season, will be looking to avoid repeating their earlier performance this season against CSU, where they were bested 60-40 at Moby Arena.


CSU is coming off a loss to San Diego State, which was possibly their most frustrating performance of the season. The Rams’ previously strong offensive effort fell apart in the final quarter of the game and in a controversial period of overtime. The Rams fell short once again and sent their seniors off in disappointing fashion, losing the game 64-61.

As much as that loss may have stung, suffering those kinds of losses has unfortunately been all too familiar for the Rams this season. Out of their 16 losses on the season, nine of those games were lost by five points or less. However, their problem doesn’t seem to be that they’re creating less open shots; it’s that the Rams’ offensive efficiency seems to die out in the later stages of games.

“We gotta have those dagger plays,” head coach Ryun Williams said when asked about his team’s struggle with closing out games. “When you’re up three or four, a stop and a score to just end this thing. But we let teams hang around. That’s every night right there.”

If you went by the last meeting between the Rams and the Falcons, however, you wouldn’t have any idea that the Rams consistently struggle offensively. CSU shot an astounding 71.4% in the first quarter of that game and found themselves 18 points ahead at the end of the frame. The team also closed out the game strong, shooting 58.3% in the final quarter to comfortably win 60-40

The Rams should go into this game looking to replicate those elements that made their first outing against the Falcons so successful. CSU needs to start fast and finish strong.

A silver lining for the Rams this season has been their defense, allowing the second-fewest points per game in the conference while leading the Mountain West in opposition field goal percentage with 38%. If the Rams can stick to their strong defensive principles, they won’t have to rely on their less convincing offense to get a positive result.

That being said, that doesn’t mean this game won’t be difficult. The Falcons are coming off a comfortable 79-66 win against New Mexico and will have something to play for. If Air Force can win against the Rams, the Falcons move past CSU in the conference standings, positioning themselves better for the upcoming Mountain West tournament.

As a matter of fact, an Air Force win would mean more, as their best possible finish would see them swipe the seventh seed if Nevada loses their game against San Diego State as well. That being said, this game is a must-win for CSU if they wish to cement their bid as the eighth seed going into Las Vegas.

Bailey Shepherd can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @B_Sheps.