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CSU women’s basketball showcases two-way dominance in victory over SDSU

Colorado+State+University+No.4+McKenna+Hofschild+focuses+on+a+free+throw+shot+at+the+womens+basketball+game+against+San+Diego+State+University.+Feb.+3.
Collegian | Lauren Mascardo
Colorado State University No.4 McKenna Hofschild focuses on a free throw shot at the women’s basketball game against San Diego State University. Feb. 3.

The way the game started you had to think season low, but 16 points in the second quarter from Colorado State guard McKenna Hofschild switched to career-high watch real quick.

While she ultimately fell short of her 37 point career-high, her 34 points and 10 assists were crucial in the Ram’s 82-50 dominant win over San Diego State Saturday afternoon. 

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Hofschild recorded her eighth double-double of the season and 16th of her career. 

Her ability to shift between scoring and facilitating given the situation is nothing short of magical. That is just one of her many abilities that has the Moby Arena crowd in a constant state of awe. 

“She’s just really good at figuring things out,” CSU coach Ryun Williams said. “At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about. And so again the ebbs and flows of a game if the game calls for this, she seems to find it and deliver.” 

Hofschild added yet another double-double to her incredible season as she continues her ascension into CSU immortality. 

Her double-double puts her at eight on the season and 16 on her career. 

“Teams try to change things up, multiple defenses,” Williams said. “They press, they three-quarter court press, they’re back into a zone and they go back to man. And she had it all on a string for 40 minutes. And so that’s what I’m impressed with her growth is that she’s kind of seen it all and she gets things figured out sooner rather than later.”

From the jump, the game seemed slightly off. After a near scoreless first three minutes, SDSU hit a 3 on a controversial call. CSU guard Marta Leimane was called for an off ball foul, with the whistle coming while the ball was still in the hands of SDSU guard Jada Lewis. While the shot subsequently fell, SDSU still retained possession of the ball on the sideline. 

After nearly a minute of game action went by, SDSU was credited with the basket, not something you see often, but something that really epitomized the first quarter. 

“I don’t know,” Leimane said. “I don’t even remember, I just go for the next play. I’m trying to do the best as possible. Always there’s going to be mistakes and I just go to the next play.”

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Despite the controversial start on the first basket of the game, that ended up being the only three points the Aztecs scored the rest of the quarter.

The Rams held the Aztecs to only 33% shooting the entire game, also forcing 19 turnovers. That suffocating defense got it’s start right out of the gate.

“It was a tremendous start defensively,” Williams said. “The energy was awesome, but you still had to execute. They were trying to pound the ball inside to (Adryana) Quezada and (Kim) Villalobos playing the ball-screen game with Lewis. Those are three really talented offensive players, but having (Leimane) on the floor with Sydney (Mech), those are our best two defenders arguably, so I think that was a huge difference.”

Leimane got her first start of the season and certainly had her fair share of good plays during it. 

She led the game with two steals and added six points and two assists, also being a key contributor outside of the box score in the Rams beatdown.

“Well this was my first start, so I was like ‘okay I gotta do this,’” Leimane said. “I can’t make mistakes, so I was locked in, woke up today, right mindset, so I was ready.”

Certainly by the end of the game, it was apparent by the smiles and laughter on the CSU side of the court, just how fun of a game it was. 

In maybe the best conference win of the season, this one ranks highly in fun factor. 

“Pretty high,” Mech said of how fun this win was. “I mean, there are some other fun games earlier in the season, but just because this game was also special. We wore (Taylor Ray’s) name on our warmups so that was just like a big part of it and then having a good crowd. I think it was just fun to come in and dominate like we did, the energy and stuff it was a pretty fun game.”

“It’s always fun winning,” Leimane added.

In the Rams last home game, Leimane wore Ray’s name on the back of her jersey in the Fight Like a Ram game. Ray, who is battling cancer, was at the forefront of the team’s mind, as they wore her name on the back of their warm-up uniforms. 

The redshirt-freshman guard scored a career-high five points, which was truly the cherry on top of the Rams dominant performance.

“I was happy,” Leimane said. “I was jumping out there, I don’t know if you guys saw, but I’m so happy she got out and scored and I feel like everyones happy, so it’s very warm in my heart.”

Sharing that honor, the coaches also wore Ray in the pregame. 

For Williams, seeing her score her career high, was truly something special. 

“How cool was that? That’s Hollywood stuff right there,” Williams said. “Taylors just a really — she’s a really tough young lady and she’s in a tough battle right now and she’s winning. It was an absolute honor to have our team and our coaches wear Ray on the back of our jerseys. And for her to go in the game and just play basketball, that’s what Taylor does, she just goes and plays basketball. And she comes to practice and she just practices. She’s just part of our team and she just happens to have a different story and a little different circumstances than the rest of us face.”

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

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About the Contributor
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.

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