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CSU women’s basketball stalwart fight ends short against UNLV

CSU+guard+McKenna+Hofschild+looks+for+a+pass+during+the+CSU+vs.+UNLV+game+on+March+12+at+the+Mountain+West+womens+basketball+championship.+The+Rams+ended+up+losing+the+game+62-52.
Collegian | Emma Askren
CSU guard McKenna Hofschild looks for a pass during the CSU vs. UNLV game on March 12 at the Mountain West women’s basketball championship. The Rams ended up losing the game 62-52.

LAS VEGAS – True grit is tough to come by.

For the stalwart Colorado State women’s basketball however, grit is in abundance in all of their players. In a heartbreaking 62-52 loss against UNLV, Colorado State put up a huge fight against the Rebels.

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“Our team showed incredible fight,” coach Ryun Williams said. “I’m proud of that, but UNLV played a heck of a game.”

The Rams have put up the best showing against UNLV, other than when UNLV had an uncharacteristic loss against the No. 2 New Mexico team earlier in the regular season. In previous games, the Rams lost by only five and three points in respective appearances.

For McKenna Hofschild, the heartbreak of this game was all too real. With tears in her eyes, she wasn’t ready to give up.

“I hope there’s more basketball this year,” Hofschild said. “We’ll see what happens.”

The fight of the Rams was evident, especially in the second half of the game, where Colorado State prevented UNLV from shooting over 40% on their field goal attempts. The Rams were also able to rebound extremely well, getting 19 rebounds compared to the Rebels 16 in the second half.

“That’s the team you want to be every single night and that’s what we became,” Williams said.  “We were maybe a little inconsistent early in the year on our competitive level. … (The team) learned that’s something you can bring every single night.”

The team that Williams wants to be, holds the No. 1 team in the conference to only 62 points. According to Hofschild, if CSU had been told that they held UNLV to only 62 points, they would’ve thought a victory would be in store. 

However, what could have looked like a solid defensive game on the stat sheet, UNLV coach Lindy La Rocque didn’t think so.

“I don’t know if both of our defenses were that good today, to just be totally terrible on offense,” La Rocque said. “But that’s what the game took, and obviously both teams responded.”

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The response is what got Colorado State into trouble. CSU was 8-for-29 from the field, shooting 27.6% and only 3-for-14 from deep, shooting 21.4% in the first half.  The lack of scoring from the Rams is what allowed UNLV to go on an 8-0 run to start the game, and a six-point run to start the second half.

“(Kiara Jackson and Amarachi Kimpson) are two very competitive young ladies on the basketball,” Williams said. “And obviously McKenna has the ball in her hands quite a bit for us, so their initial pressure on our initial attack tonight, it was really good.”

Both Jackson and Kimpson were the leading scorers for the UNLV offense, with Jackson scoring 12 points and Kimpson scoring 18. A notable player who was not on the score sheet as frequently was Desi-Rae Young.

Young only scored six points this game, which for Young is low considering her average points per game is 17.9. With the Rams focusing defensive efforts on Young, it provided opportunities for UNLV’s deep offensive roster to score.

(Kimpson) a really tough player to stop one-on-one,” La Rocque said. “That’s kind of what I think because I see it in practice. She kind of has a way of just finding (and) sneaking her way to the rim and she has great hang time and athleticism.”

At the end of the day, UNLV was the team that moved on to the championship final, and the Rams will fly back home to Fort Collins, Colorado. The Rams put up an impressive fight against the Rebels, but ultimately were unable to stop the formidable UNLV squad.

Loyalty, grit and strength was difficult to see through the “muddy” exterior of the Rams, but was ever present.

“We are stalwart Rams, we’re very loyal, we’re mudders,” Williams said. “That’s what we said at halftime. This is our game, right? We got them right where we were them. We’re mudders. It’s not going to be pretty.”

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

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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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