Women’s basketball sinks to San Diego State on senior night

Bailey Shepherd

Senior night can serve as a reminder that things are coming to an end. It’s nearly the end of the season — the last home game — and the Rams are now just one game out from the conference tournament.

The pressure to win was on after the Rams suffered a series sweep in California against San Jose State on Saturday. The Rams played hard but suffered a heartbreakingly close 64-61 loss to San Diego State in their final display of the season in front of the Moby faithful.

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Prior to tipoff, four seniors from each team were recognized as Moby Arena took the time to appreciate the graduating players. The list of graduating Rams included graduate guard Roichelle Marble, graduate forward Makenzie Ellis, redshirt senior forward Andrea Brady and graduate forward Myanne Hamm. 

Tori Williams looks to the basket on Feb. 24. The Rams lost to the Aztecs 64-61 but kept it a close game throughout. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

Both teams seemed hungry as the game started. The Rams looked motivated to prove a point after a heartfelt ceremony for all their seniors, and they showed that early on both sides of the ball. 

CSU forward Jamie Bonnarens commented on the team’s energy coming into the game.

“We all didn’t really have to say it to each other,” Bonnarens said. “We all kind just of knew we had to play for the seniors.” 

Redshirt sophomore Tori Williams poured in a team-high eight points in the first frame to lead the way for the Rams offensively. CSU’s whole team played hard, with the tight defense not allowing the Aztecs to make easy shots.

The Rams continued to find ways to put the ball in the basket while also maintaining a domineering defensive presence in the first half. Ellis, Lore Devos and Andrea Brady were on swat patrol, combining for five blocks in the first half to contribute to the seven first-half turnovers the Rams forced with their early defensive effort.

After taking a 32-31 lead into halftime, the Rams picked up right where they left off, shooting the ball at an impressive clip. Four CSU players tallied double digit point totals by the end of the third quarter to supplement their lead.

However, San Diego rediscovered their offensive flow by utilizing a barrage of 3-point baskets to briefly take the lead from the Rams in the third. But to no avail, the Rams still found a way to carry a one-possession lead into the final frame. 

That’s when the real drama began.

After being in control for every quarter of the game thus far, the Rams seemingly forgot how to score, shooting 1-13 from the field in the fourth quarter. San Diego wasn’t faring much better in their effort but still managed to take the lead back with the clock counting down.

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Down by two and with 17.7 seconds left on the clock, CSU guard Devos sank both of her free-throws after being fouled on a drive to the basket to tie the game at 55. The subsequent trip down the court for San Diego saw Bonnarens poke the ball free and force a turnover for the Rams, giving them one more possession with 11 seconds left.

Tori Williams took the ball down the court and began to drive toward the basket, where she experienced contact from an SDSU player with milliseconds left on the clock. After an official review of the play, the call wasn’t given, and the game went to overtime.

The shooting woes of the fourth quarter followed the Rams into the overtime period, and after the Rams could only muster a single basket from eight shots, the Aztecs closed out the win much to the chagrin of CSU and Ryun Williams.

“That’s our season right there in one game,” Ryun Williams said following the understandably frustrating loss. “It’s okay that this one stings; that’s sports. That’s it. If you’re a competitor, this one hurts. You will not sleep tonight. But we’ll regroup tomorrow and get ready for Air Force and the tournament.”

The Rams will be in Colorado Springs on Thursday to take on the Air Force Academy in their final regular season game, where hopefully they will be able to finish strong and give themselves the confidence they need before they go to fight for their season in Las Vegas.

 

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