Women’s basketball outhustled by Wyoming, knocked out of MWC

Colorado+State+University+guard+McKenna+Hofschild+%284%29+pushes+against+University+of+Wyoming+center+Allyson+Fertig+%2845%29+in+the+semifinals+game+of+the+2023+Mountain+West+Basketball+Championships+in+the+Thomas+%26amp%3B+Mack+Center+in+Las+Vegas+March+7.+The+Rams+lost+65-56+to+end+their+tournament+run.

Collegian | Serena Bettis

Colorado State University guard McKenna Hofschild (4) pushes against University of Wyoming center Allyson Fertig (45) in the semifinals game of the 2023 Mountain West Basketball Championships in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas March 7. The Rams lost 65-56 to end their tournament run.

Braidon Nourse, Sports Editor

The semifinals were the end of the road for the Colorado State University women’s basketball team in the Mountain West Basketball Championships.

Destiny Thurman and the rest of the Rams kept it as close as they could for as long as they could, but Allyson Fertig and the rest of the University of Wyoming Cowgirls were just too much. The Rams went from a 7-point deficit going into the fourth quarter and brought it to within 5 points, but Wyoming pulled away to a 65-56 victory.

Ad

The Rams knew it would be a tough, physical fight, particularly on the interior with Wyoming’s big center and forward in Fertig and Grace Ellis. But despite the Rams’ efforts to minimize the losses on the boards, the Cowgirls dominated by outrebounding the Rams 50-23.

The Cowgirls dominated the offensive boards as well, beating the Rams 14-1 in that category. Offensive rebounds that led to second-chance points were the nail in the coffin, especially late in the game when CSU was trying to make their way back in it. Wyoming accumulated 15 second-chance points in their 9-point-difference victory.

“I’m proud of the teammates that they are to each other. We enjoy being a team, and that’s why these stink. You want to keep playing, but that’s also what sports is. I mean, you’re gonna lose sometimes.” -Ryun Williams, CSU women’s basketball head coach

“I think they were just being more physical and more tough than we were,” Thurman said. “I think they wanted the rebounds more than we did, and that’s what led to them getting a lot of offensive rebounds towards the end of the game.”

The Rams jumped out to a lead in the first quarter and led up until around the nine-minute mark of the second quarter. The Cowgirls took the lead and never looked back.

Thurman was on fire during the first half, scoring 16 of her 19 points in that time. From crossovers to stepbacks, Thurman showcased a little bit of everything. In the second half, it was McKenna Hofschild who came to life and scored 12 of her 14 points. 

Despite their season in the Mountain West being over with the loss, there’s still a good chance the Rams will be selected to compete in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. In the most recent NET rankings from the NCAA, CSU is ranked No. 88, which should be good enough for a spot in the tournament. 

“(We have to) learn from it,” Hofschild said. “I think this one’s gonna sting for a little bit, but we can’t hold on to that for too long because we do have more basketball to be played. I think we’re all excited to get a new challenge and a team that we probably haven’t seen before.”

Head coach Ryun Williams has watched this program grow over the years from a 12-18 team in the 2019-20 season to this year’s 20-11 team. Since that season, the Rams picked up the eventual conference player of the year in Hofschild and have had three consecutive Mountain West Newcomer of the Year award winners in Thurman this year, Upe Atosu last year and Hofschild 2020-21.

Looking back, there has been a lot for Williams to be proud of about the group this season.

Ad

“I’m proud of the teammates that they are to each other,” Williams said. “We enjoy being a team, and that’s why these stink. You want to keep playing, but that’s also what sports is. I mean, you’re gonna lose sometimes. Not the most opportune time, obviously, to lose, but that’s part of it.”

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