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Colorado State 83 – Boise State 82 (Women)

January 29, 2015

For the second straight game in Moby I was treated to the game of basketball at its best.

In a battle for second place, The Rams of Colorado State overcame a large first half deficit to record a sensational victory over the hot-shooting and talented Boise State Bronco women.

Boise was clicking on all cylinders in the first half as they ran out to a 49-37 lead. The Broncos shot 56% from the field including 7-16 from beyond the arc. Their All-Everything player Deanna Weaver was scoring at will, their big Miquelle Askew was scoring inside and out, and their two guards Yaiza Rodriquez and Brooke Pakuola were on fire as well. The Rams were shooting over 50% as well but it didnt matter.

I like to live tweet during the games. At halftime I tweeted that I hoped a bunch of really nice girls could figure out a way to play a mean 20 minutes.

And they did, as both Ellen Nystrom and Gritt Ryder began the half making shots and Nystrom started to slow down Weaver on the defensive end. Ryder ran off 14 of her own to pull CSU within 2 at the under 16 Timeout.

But Boise wasnt going to go away as they regained their shooting strokes and built the lead. But it was different as the Rams started to make the little plays required to win games. A Victoria Wells steal for an and-1, an AJ Newton drive for an and-1. An Emilie Hessedahl rebound and putback after a missed three by Newton.

The Rams clawed their way to a 4-point lead but Boise cut it to 2. A missed pair of free throws by Newton, followed by a Wells foul got Boise even at 82 with 18 seconds.

After a timeout,Ryder was trapped in the backcourt and fouled with 14 seconds to go. She missed the first but made the second. A hurried possession by Boise led to a missed three, the Rams secured the rebound and were able to pass and dribble the clock out.

The Rams had overcome that 12-point halftime deficit with a combination of good shooting, solid defense, and the effort to make the little plays when it mattered.

They moved their record to 7-1 in the MWC and stayed within a game of league leading Fresno State. The two teams will meet for the first time on Saturday in Fresno. For the Rams its jumping from the frying pan into the fire. A much easier task knowing they had toughed their way through the frying pan.

More thoughts…

The first five minutes of the second half was Gritt Ryder at her best. Three-balls, pull-up jumpers, layups, free throws. She put the team on her back to get them back in the game. She’s still dealing with a serious hamstring injury but looked to be moving better. When I told her that I thought she looked better, she told me it was worse because she had to sit in class all day and her leg gets tight when she sits. She had 14 or her 24 points in that 5 minute span

Following leg surgery, AJ Newton is gradually finding the form that made her an All-MWC performer last season. She’s starting to make three-balls and starting to get to the rim as well. AJ finished with 13 points but her toughness was on display as she tied for a team high in rebounds with 6. A couple of them came late in the second half when the Rams needed them most.

The defensive work of Ellen Nystrom and Victoria Wells on Boise’s Deanna Weaver was exceptional in the second half as they limited her to 6 points. Nystrom had her most efficient offensive performance in Moby scoring 11 on only 5 shots and she also grabbed 6 rebounds including the all-important final one.

I played 9 holes on Monday with assistant Chad Lavin who told me how good Boise was. Athletic and loaded with shooters. He wasn’t lying. There was a time in the game where CSU was shooting 65% and losing. Against most teams the Rams would have been up double digits. They were down 6 against Boise.

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