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McKenna Hofschild passes Ellen Nystrom in career assists as CSU defeats South Dakota Mines

Colorado+State+University+guard+McKenna+Hofschild+%284%29+brings+the+ball+up+the+court+at+the+2023+Mountain+West+Basketball+Championships+quarterfinals+game+against+Boise+State+University+in+the+Thomas+%26amp%3B+Mack+Center+in+Las+Vegas+March+6.+The+Rams+won+59-52.
Collegian | Serena Bettis
Colorado State University guard McKenna Hofschild (4) brings the ball up the court at the 2023 Mountain West Basketball Championships quarterfinals game against Boise State University in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas March 6. The Rams won 59-52.

A stalwart career no doubt.

Finishing with a season-high 14 assists in Colorado State’s 92-56 win over South Dakota Mines, McKenna Hofschild passed Ellen Nystrom for the most career assits at CSU. 

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Hofschild’s 590 assists and counting, bumps Nystrom’s 584 down the list. 

At this point 20 points and 14 assists almost seems routine for Hofschild, but on the other hand for Marta Leimane, finishing with career-highs is anything but that.

While Hofschild has proved time and time again that she is the driving force behind the Rams’ lethal attack, sometimes you need something that you can keep on hand that might be life saving in times of need. 

A Swiss Army knife perhaps, or maybe more fittingly a Latvian one.

“I think she proved tonight, she’s kind of a Swiss Army knife,” coach Ryun Williams said. “To be able to move her around a little bit is critical.”

Leimane — a native of Latvia — posted a career high in just about every statistical category. Her 18 points, five rebounds and four steals were the most she’s put up in a career, and were nothing short of crucial for the Rams. 

Leimane played 34 minutes off the bench Tuesday night, second only to Hofschild. 

“I was just excited to be on the floor,” Leimane said. “Get those steals and help the team as much as I can.”

Leimane’s four steals were just a part of the 13 that CSU ended the night with. Getting those steals and running the fast break was helpful in keeping the Rams afloat, especially in the first half where they struggled with their outside shot.

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The Rams started off the game shooting 2-of-12 from 3-point range and were in a 10-point game at the half. When you start a game off struggling with your shot, there’s one simple fix: keep on keeping on.

“I think just keep doing what you’re doing,” Kendyll Kinzer said. “Coach said in the locker room — we were 2-of-12 in the first half —  and he said ‘we’ll change that’. I think him having the confidence in all of us to knock down those shots and he’s not concerned about it at all, he knew we were going to change it. So I think it really helps to know that he has confidence that we’ll turn it around.”

Confidence was the key in unlocking the shooting that the Rams were just waiting to unleash. 

Looking like they might be in for a close-fought battle, the Rams found their shot and rode that to victory, finishing 12-of-24 from 3.

“Nice finish to that basketball game,” Williams said. “You had some really nice individual performances, that was good to see.”

Shooting wasn’t the only thing that the Rams struggled with against the Hardrockers. Guarding Piper Bauer appeared nearly impossible at times. 

Finishing with a game-high 26 points, Bauer laced seemingly everything that left her hands. Kinzer said when a player like Bauer comes in shooting as hot as she did, it can catch the defense slightly off guard.

“I guess it can, but I feel like we prepared for her a lot in practice this week,” Kinzer said. “I don’t think that should have happened, probably. I think we had a really good game plan for her, so I think that’s one thing we’re definitely going to have to get better at — coach gave us a great game plan, we’ve just got to execute it.”

Colorado State’s (4-0) next opportunity to execute that game plan will be against San Francisco (2-4). Tip off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Nov. 26 in San Francisco, California.

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

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About the Contributors
Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.
Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief
Serena Bettis is your 2022-23 editor in chief and is in her final year studying journalism and political science. In her three years at The Collegian, Bettis has also been a news reporter, copy editor, news editor and content managing editor, and she occasionally takes photos, too. When Bettis was 5, her family moved from Iowa to a tiny town northwest of Fort Collins called Livermore, Colorado, before eventually moving to Fort Collins proper. When she was 8 years old, her dad enrolled at Colorado State University as a nontraditional student veteran, where he found his life's passion in photojournalism. Although Bettis' own passion for journalism did not stem directly from her dad, his time at CSU and with The Collegian gave her the motivation to bite down on her fear of talking to strangers and find The Collegian newsroom on the second day of classes in 2019. She's never looked back since. Considering that aforementioned fear, Bettis is constantly surprised to be where she is today. However, thanks to the supportive learning environment at The Collegian and inspiring peers, Bettis has not stopped chasing her teenage dream of being a professional journalist. Between working with her section editors, coordinating news stories between Rocky Mountain Student Media departments and coaching new reporters, Bettis gets to live that dream every day. When she's not in the newsroom or almost falling asleep in class, you can find Bettis working in the Durrell Marketplace and Café or outside gazing at the beauty that is our campus (and running inside when bees are nearby). This year, Bettis' goals for The Collegian include continuing its trajectory as a unique alt-weekly newspaper, documenting the institutional memory of the paper to benefit students in years to come and fostering a sense of community and growth both inside the newsroom and through The Collegian's published work. Bettis would like to encourage anyone with story ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or comments to reach out to her at editor@collegian.com.

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