Feb. 1, 2014
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Saturday was a day for the record books as the Colorado State Rams (16-4, 8-1 MW) remained atop the Mountain West standings with a remarkable 95-48 victory over San Diego State (7-11, 4-4 MW) at Moby Arena.
The 47-point victory is the third largest conference victory all-time for CSU, and is the largest since the Rams defeated Air Force by 65 points in the 1998-99 season. Additionally, it is the largest victory for Colorado State over any opponent since the 2004-05 season, when the Rams knocked off Iona by 49 points.
"Our kids were pretty locked in from the get-go," Head Coach Ryun Williams said. "We didn't see this coming, but that was a nice performance by our kids."
Junior guard AJ Newton led all players with 23 point and also chipped in with six assists. Newton was joined in double figures by senior forward Sam Martin (14) and freshman guard Ellen Nystrom (10), as the Rams used a well-balanced attack that featured 11 different players scoring en route to its 95-point effort.
From the opening tip, it was clear that the Rams were clicking on all cylinders offensively. Led by hot shooting from the outside, Colorado State raced out to a 22-10 lead just seven minutes into the game.
The Rams relied on their unselfish play and quick ball movement to find the open shooter and set up easy baskets. On the day, CSU assisted on 31 of its 35 baskets, including each of its first 13 baskets. The 31 assists tie a season high and is also tied for the second-most assists by the Rams all-time.
Many of the assists in the first half came from sophomore guard Caitlin Duffy, who registered five assists in the first half and a career-high six assists in the game. Along with Newton and Duffy's six assists each, junior guard Gritt Ryder registered seven assists to lead the way for Colorado State.
In the first half, CSU shot 52.9 percent of the floor and connected on nine three-pointers to open up a 47-26 lead over the Aztecs at the intermission. While CSU's offense was scorching hot in the first half, its defense was just as effective holding SDSU to 26.7 percent shooting in the half.
The Rams' stellar play continued into the second half as they led by as much as 51 points in the game. Colorado State connected on a season-high 10 three-pointers in the second half on its way to a school-record 19 three-pointers. The 19 made three-pointers eviscerated the previous record of 14 made threes. On the day, eight different Rams made at least one three-pointer, led by Newton who made a career-high seven on just 10 attempts.
"It feels so good to see everyone step back and hit a three," Newton said. "I felt like our energy was so much better and our confidence was up. I don't think anyone could've brought us down today."
Along with the hot shooting from the outside, CSU used its defensive intensity and pressure to help set up easy baskets in transition. The Rams forced the Aztecs into 24 turnovers, the most by any CSU opponent this season, and converted that into 29 points. Colorado State outscored San Diego State 29-6 in points off turnovers and 34-5 in points off the bench.
Senior forward Hayley Thompson, who played in her 100th career game, posted season-highs with nine points, seven rebounds and two steals.
"Since we've been winning, we definitely have a target on our back," Thompson said. "Our mindset in each game is the same; every team is good, and if we don't show up to play, it will be a very tough game for us. We're going to keep approaching it the same way."
The Rams face one of their toughest challenges of the season next when they travel to Las Vegas for a matchup against third-place UNLV on Wednesday. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. MT and will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.
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