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CSU women’s basketball plays confident, gets win over Nevada

Colorado+State+players+Marta+Leimane+and+Sydney+Mech+guard+Nevada+player+Lexie+Givens+during+the+CSU+vs.+Nevada+game+at+the+Mountain+West+womens+basketball+championship+on+March+11.+The+Rams+won+65-54.
Collegian | Emma Askren
Colorado State players Marta Leimane and Sydney Mech guard Nevada player Lexie Givens during the CSU vs. Nevada game at the Mountain West women’s basketball championship on March 11. The Rams won 65-54.

LAS VEGAS – Vegas and basketball have something in common: winners and losers.

At the Mountain West Women’s Basketball Championship, every day winners moved on and losers went back home with hope that what happened in Vegas really stayed in Vegas.

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After their final regular season win against Boise State, Colorado State received a first-round bye, putting them up against Nevada on Monday, March 11. Colorado State took the victory in Vegas with a dominating performance 65-54.

Unlike the average Vegas enthusiast, the Rams knew not to show their hand too early. After a tough first quarter that saw the Wolf Pack take a solid lead, the Rams knew something needed to change.

While Nevada still had the lead going into halftime, the Rams were able to shorten the lead from 10 points to only three. Rebounds remained consistent throughout the first half for the Rams, grabbing eight rebounds in both the first and second quarters.

“We did shoot the ball with confidence, we did play aggressively,” coach Ryun Williams said. “We just needed it to go in a little more.”

It was the second half when things really got going for the Rams, with Hannah Ronsiek shooting 5-for-5 from the 3-point line and scoring 19 points. After having a rather dormant first half, having Ronsiek shooting 5-for-5 was something that Williams had predicted.

“If you go 0-for-5, that can maybe wear on your confidence a little bit,” Williams said. “But I did tell her at halftime, You’re probably going to go 5-for-5.”

Besides the first quarter, the Rams didn’t really struggle. After a top-secret timeout discussion, Colorado State quickly found the holes in Nevada’s style of play.

“That’s top secret,” Williams said. “It was a timeout to maybe just kind of settle down. I really thought we played some unsettled minutes there. We threw the ball to them and gave them some break-away layups.”

Timeouts weren’t even that necessary for the Rams after that. Colorado State was able to play really solid basketball, defending well at the rim and anytime the Wolf Pack left a shooter open, it seemed they would capitalize.

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That was clear in Ronsiek’s case offensively going 5-for-5 in the second half, and defensively leading the team in rebounds in the first half. Due to a deficit in offensive play from Ronsiek, she knew she had to step up on the defensive side of the ball.

“Personally for me, I wasn’t super confident on offense,” Ronsiek said. “On defense, I was like, ‘if I’m not making my shots, I feel like I have to be contributing to the team in some way.”

Despite Ronsiek stepping up on defense during the lull in her offensive playing and n she was still supported by both her teammates and coach. 

When I was able to hit that two, I think the hoop got a little bit bigger for me,” Ronsiek said. “And also just my teammates and coaches giving me a lot of confidence, and they were always saying, ‘you got the next shot.’”

With this win against Nevada, the Rams are going to be playing No. 1 seeded UNLV. The Rebels are going to be a tough team to beat, and every time the Rams have played them this season, they’ve lost. The losses have been minimal however, only by three and five points.

“We’ve had two really good battles with UNLV,” Williams said. “They’re obviously the top of our league, and they have been for the last couple of years. … In order to compete with them, you have to score it with them. You really do.”

With such an important game on the horizon, it’s not just the team that wants to continue on in a spectacular fashion, but McKenna Hofschild as well.

(When) I look back on my career, I want there to be one game where in 20 years people can remember that game,” Hofschild said. “Not just for me, but this team. We can leave our legacy on CSU in that way.”

For Colorado State, a victory in Vegas is exactly the kind of confidence that they’ll need to play against UNLV. But for tonight, the Rams are able to put one more victory on their resume.

Reach Emma Askren at easkren@collegian.com or on Twitter @emma_askren.

Interested in more sports content? Sign up for The Ram Report here for weekly CSU sports updates!

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About the Contributor
Emma Askren
Emma Askren, Sports Editor
Emma Askren, alongside Damon Cook, is the fall 2023 sports editor for The Collegian. She began working at The Collegian during her first year in the fall of 2022, when she covered the swim and dive team as well as anything sports-related. She is currently a sophomore at Colorado State University, where she is majoring in journalism and media communication and double minoring in Spanish and sports management. During her first year, she joined the rowing team, began working as a reporter for The Collegian and working at the Student Recreation Center. Askren applied to CSU as a journalism major, knowing she wanted to combine her passion for sports and writing to create a fulfilling career. Upon realizing that Rocky Mountain Student Media was hiring for first-years, she jumped at the opportunity to become a writer for The Collegian. While working for the sports desk, Askren has had the opportunity to write about hockey, logging, whitewater rafting and the importance of women in sports. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, she seeks to break the status quo and become a successful sports journalist following graduation. Following a year as a sports reporter, Askren became a co-editor for the sports desk alongside Cook. Together the duo seeks to create a new and improved sports desk that caters to all readers of The Collegian and beyond.

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