CSU women’s basketball survives Boise State to move to MW semifinal


Collegian | Serena Bettis

Colorado State University guard Destiny Thurman inbounds the ball during the 2023 Mountain West Basketball Championships quarterfinal game against Boise State University in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas March 6. The Rams won 59-52 and will meet the University of Wyoming Cowgirls in the semifinals Tuesday evening.

Madeline Davis and Ella Fredrikson

Braidon Nourse, Sports Editor

All three times have been charms now for Colorado State University’s women’s basketball team when it comes to playing against Boise State University this season.

Behind the great play of recently crowned Mountain West Player of the Year McKenna Hofschild, the Rams took care of the Broncos 59-52.


The last time the two teams met, the Rams routed Boise State 66-51 in the regular season finale. The stakes were high in that game, as the Rams ended up the No. 3 seed with the win, but could have dropped to No. 6 with a loss.

On Monday, there were some nerves to be shaken out to start against the Broncos. CSU opened the game shooting 5-17 from the floor and 0-7 from three in the first quarter. They were getting plenty of good looks, but the shots just weren’t falling.

“I think there’s always nerves in the first game of a tournament,” senior forward Kendyll Kinzer said. “The biggest thing that I notice is the shots are always long when you’re a little jittery. … We have quite a few players that haven’t played in this tournament before, so I think just getting settled down was a big emphasis.”

Colorado State University guard McKenna Hofschild pushes past a Boise State University defender during the quaterfinals of the 2023 Mountain West Basketball Championships in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas March 6. The Rams won 59-52, with Hofschild putting up 19 points and 10 assists. (Collegian | Serena Bettis)

They would settle in during the second quarter, specifically on the defensive end. All in the same quarter, the Rams forced a three-second violation, a shot clock violation and took an offensive foul. 

It must have done something for the Rams’ confidence from that point on, as they’d improve to a modest 6-16 from the floor and a much better 3-6 from three.

“(The defense) helps us run, and that’s when we’re at our best,” Hofschild said. “We know that that’s our number one offense, when we get out and we have space in transition, and I don’t think there’s a team in the conference that can really stop us, so defense turns into offense for us every single time.”

There were areas where both teams were clearly better, but neither team was able to push the scale one way or the other. Boise State was the better rebounding team by far, winning that battle 51-32, but the Rams dominated in assists 12-5.

The Rams also took care of the ball much better than the Broncos, who turned the ball over 18 times to the Rams’ five. This was ultimately where the game was won, as the Rams scored eight more points off of turnovers than Boise State did.

“It was an ‘everybody contributes’ (game),” head coach Ryun Williams said. “Those people think, you know, they’re gonna look at the offensive stat line, but it was the defense and everybody made many plays, and that’s how you have to keep moving on.”


For Williams’ semi final-bound squad, it took more than even the players who got playing time to get the job done tonight. According to Williams, even the bench players excelled in their role.

“There’s all kinds of ways to impact a game,” Williams said. “Even if you don’t get in the game, you can still impact it by energy. We had an energetic, lively bench that I thought got us over the hump. We were kind of grinding, we were kind of in quick sand a little bit, we could have probably hung our head a little bit. But the energy the bench provided — the kids that didn’t even get in the game — too bad there’s not a stat line for that because they were critical tonight.”

Colorado State University guard Cailyn Crocker (32) puts up a shot at the 2023 Mountain West Basketball Championships quarterfinal game against Boise State University in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas March 6. The Rams won 59-52, with Crocker contributing a significant six rebounds and two steals. (Collegian | Serena Bettis)

After the University of Wyoming cruised by San Jose State University in their quarterfinal game 72-57, fans will be treated to this year’s third Border War. The season series between the Rams and Cowgirls is split, with a three point win in Fort Collins and a 16-point loss in Laramie for CSU. 

Williams isn’t worried about a rivalry.

“It’s a semifinal,” Williams said. “That’s the number one thing, we’re here to win the tournament, not to win a Border War, and this just happens to be the next opponent. Obviously, a ton of respect for Wyoming, they got us really good in the fourth quarter in Laramie. So we’re gonna have to play with a greater toughness and a greater concentration.”

The game will tip off at 8:30 p.m. MST Tuesday, March 7 in Las Vegas.

Reach Braidon Nourse at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @BraidonNourse.