Jan. 2, 2014
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Relinquishing an 11-point lead from the midway point of first half, it was a close game all the way down to the final seconds, but Gritt Ryder and Caitlin Duffy shouldered the team as the clock wound down, and Colorado State got the 64-61 victory at Viejas Arena.
CSU (9-3, 1-0 MW) opens the Mountain West slate with a victory and remains perfect on the road at 4-0 on the year. San Diego State (3-8, 0-1) suffered its fifth loss within four points this season.
With just 2 minutes to play, Ryder and Duffy combined for eight points, including 6-of-8 at the line, icing the win at the charity stripe with 21.3 seconds remaining. Duffy was the lone Ram in double figures, scoring a season-high 20 on the night. Ryder, along with AJ Newton, struggled from the field, but made the shots when they counted the most.
“(SDSU) is such an aggressive team, they want to play through you,” commented Head Coach Ryun Williams. “I thought we held our ground pretty well. We just survived enough of their paint play.”
CSU worked up to as much as an 11-point lead near the midpoint of the first half, but sloppy play in the latter minutes allowed the Aztecs to mount a comeback. The Rams held on, however, taking a four-point lead into the locker room at the half.
Colorado State took advantage of San Diego State’s mistakes early on, with 13 points off turnovers in the first 8 minutes of the game. The Rams finished the night with 22 points off the Aztecs giveaways. SDSU controlled a different area of the specialty stats, however, with 14 second-chance points off 19 offensive rebounds.
Showcasing their scoring depth, five different Rams buried at least one shot from beyond the arc. Sophomore Caitlin Duffy
led the team, shooting 5-of-7 from three-point range.
Senior Sam Martin was held scoreless through the first 25 minutes of play. She finally connected on a layup at the 14:46 mark in the second stanza and finished the evening with eight points. Fellow senior Hayley Thompson played limited but crucial minutes, especially in the first half. She kept the Rams lead intact drawing a charge and sinking a jumper right at the halftime buzzer.
Ellen Nystrom’s stat line didn’t show a particularly spectacular performance, but her defensive prowess was impressive. She drew three charges and fought hard for each of her four rebounds. Ryder was also the victim of two offensive fouls.
“We took six milkshakes (charges),” added Williams. “They pay attention to tendencies of the opponents, we beat them to their spots a lot of the time.
MW Preseason Player of the Year Cierra Warren led the Aztecs with a double-double, scoring 16 points and corralling 10 boards. Freshman Ariell Bostick also tallied 16 points.
Colorado State is home for Game 2 of Mountain West action, hosting New Mexico (5-6, 0-0) Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. MT. Tickets are available by calling 1-800-491-RAMS or by visiting CSURams.com.