Rams climb to second in the Mountain West behind shutdown defense

Colorado+State+University++guard+Sydney+Mech+%2824%29+passes+the+ball+to+Destiny+Thurman+%282%29+at+the+game+against+San+Diego+State+University+at+Moby+Arena+Jan.+16%2C+2023.+The+Rams+won+71-58.

Collegian | Shaver

Colorado State University guard Sydney Mech (24) passes the ball to Destiny Thurman (2) at the game against San Diego State University at Moby Arena Jan. 16, 2023. The Rams won 71-58.

Damon Cook, Staff Reporter

Featuring two of the most prolific guards in the Mountain West Conference, the Colorado State women’s basketball team battled the San Diego State University Aztecs at home Monday night.

The Rams came to fight with an offense that is first in the Mountain West in three-point percentage and first in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio. While the Aztecs bolstered a shutdown defense, Colorado State closed out the matchup with a 71-58 victory

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“I’m just more impressed, not so much with the numbers but just the composure, the recognition and just the mentality that they play with.” –Ryun Williams, head coach 

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the Rams’ offense that won them this game. In a game that was neck and neck in the first three quarters, the Rams dug deep and struck gold defensively in the fourth quarter. Aztecs shot 7.7% in the fourth quarter, pushing the Rams closer to victory. Forward Cali Clark, a protector of the rim, ended the game with five blocks. This was a season-high for Clark, who led the Rams defensively down the stretch. 

“She was everywhere,” guard Cailyn Crocker said. “She was a big person that helped us defensively.”

The Aztecs brought physicality to this game, showing the Rams why they are a force on the defensive end. However, the Rams came prepared and matched their physicality down the stretch. With several hard fouls from both teams, the Rams were able to maintain their momentum through that physicality.

“On the defensive end, we’re just trying to get our stops,” guard McKenna Hofschild said. “Whether that’s getting a little more physical, whether that be pressing up on somebody, we’re just trying to get our stops.”

While the defense was the wave the Rams were able to ride to victory, the Rams’ backcourt got it done for them offensively. Guard Destiny Thurman scored the last eight points for the Rams, and Hofschild was her usual self, putting up 28 points, six rebounds and nine assists on 69% shooting.

 

“The guard play — that’s now two games in a row where it’s been really really solid,” head coach Ryun Williams said. “I’m just more impressed, not so much with the numbers but just the composure, the recognition and just the mentality that they play with.”

The Rams will remain at home in Moby Arena to play the second of their three-game home stand against the University of Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack at 6:30 p.m Jan. 19. Nevada currently sits seventh in the Mountain West standings.

Reach Damon Cook at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

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