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Colorado State 60 – Boise State 53 (Women)

February 3, 2017

If you read my stuff, you know that I hate to write based upon what I watch on TV. Or the internet in the case of this game.  But I wanted to write a little about the womens team who scored an important victory in Boise the other night, moving their conference leading record to 9-1 and 17-5 overall.

I actually stopped watching 5 minutes into the game.  The Rams had started slowly on offense, missing shots and turning the ball over. After five minutes they trailed 4-0.  Their trademark defensive intensity was keeping them in the game. Tonight it was man-to-man. In previous games its been a stifling 2-3 zone. 

I figured I was the jinx and I better stop watching.  Sounds a bit insane huh?

Well it worked.

Next thing you know the Rams went on an extended run, pushing their lead to 19-8 and 28-16 at the half.  Boise mounted a comeback that closed the Rams lead to 47-46 in the fourth quarter but key field goals and free throws down the stretch allowed our ladies to keep their collective nose in front.

I had stopped watching the game but I was following it on Twitter. I knew they were winning. But I had already decided that I was the jinx and even when they led by 13 in the second half, I refused to watch. It took a lot of discipline on my part but thats how it had to be.  

But I did watch the replay on-line after the fact.

And it was a remarkable performance. Maybe the best collective team effort of the season.

Ellen Nystrom struggled to make shots but she showed why she is the best player in the MWC as she grabbed 9 defensive rebounds, delivered 6 assists, and had 6 steals. On many of those rebounds she came flying into the mix and elevated far above the other players on the floor.  Her passing was exquisite.  Her presence and intelligence led to those steals.  On one of them she came flying all the way from the left elbow to steal a post-entry pass on the low right block. 

Reigning MWC Player of the Week Elie Gustavsson was solid as usual on both ends of the floor. And so was Hannah Tvrdy, the unsung guard who delivers steady play for 40 minutes these days.  But it was the underclassmen, both starting and off the bench that delivered in this one.

Sophomore Callie Kaiser scored 10 points, defended like crazy, and played with Pierce Hornung like conviction and determination on both ends of the floor. Sophomore Myann Hamm (a local from Fort Collins for those that dont’ know) came off the bench to score 10 and play her stout and physical D.  And sophomore big Amanda Kantzy came off the bench to score 11 and deliver her best defensive effort of the season. Starter Stine Austgulen didnt score much (she’s playing with a bandage on her shooting hand) but she she delivered a steady and intelligent effort over all 94′.

Hamm is the most improved player this year and Kantzy isnt that far behind.

But its the collective will of this team and the collective effort on the defensive end that defines them.  Their man-to-man defense does a lot of switching on the perimeter which means to be effective, each player needs to be able to guard multiple positions.  This comes pretty naturally for a player as athletically talented as Nystrom. Its hard work for others. Watching Callie Kaiser defending a bigger Bronco or watching Amanda Kantzy getting into her defensive stance and working hard to stop a smaller, quicker guard is what sets this team apart from all the others in the conference.  

These Rams are nationally ranked in Opponents FG% and Points Allowed. Teams are shooting less that 30% and scoring 50 points in MWC games. It is not unusual for them to hold opponents scoreless for 5, 6, or 7 minutes at a time. In fact, it seems to happen in every game.

You know the old expression that defense wins championships?

This program is in position to capture  their 4th consecutive MWC title.

And its fun to watch live.

Unless you’re a jinx.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob Komives permalink
    February 3, 2017 8:43 pm

    I look forward to your every thoughtful, well-written post.

    • February 3, 2017 9:49 pm

      Thank you for the kind words. I always tell people that my writing quality is directly related to the quality of the subject I am writing about. I think anyone would agree that Ryun Williams has built an amazing program with high-quality players.

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