Nov. 29, 2013
HONOLULU, Hawai’i – Playing in its second overtime game of this young season, Colorado State fought hard to the end, defeating Hawai’I, 65-60, at the Stan Sheriff Center Friday night.
The win improves CSU’s record to 4-1 on the year, which stands as the best start since the 2005-06 season when the Rams also began the year with a 4-1 tally. The Rainbow Wahine Warriors fall to 3-3 on the season.
“I think in the second half we found a little bit of a rhythm,” commented Head Coach Ryun Williams. “Sometimes you have to win ugly battles, and this was certainly one of those.”
In a race to the finish, senior Sam Martin showed her leadership, making three of Colorado State’s four final baskets in the second half. A foul call on UH with just 20.1 seconds to go sent Gritt Ryder to line. She made just one of her two attempts, and Hawai’i sprinted down the court for a layup to tie the game. CSU had the last possession with just 3 seconds remaining and Caitlin Duffy inbounded the ball to freshman Ellen Nystrom, who was fouled on her shot attempt. She missed both free-throw attempts, sending the game to overtime.
AJ Newton converted on two shot attempts to begin the extra period, giving CSU at three-point lead. Martin fouled out with 2 minutes to play in the extra period, and then Elin Gustavsson made a big layup to give the Rams their largest lead since the 7:32 mark of the second half at five points with 49 seconds to go.
A jumper by the Wahine, and then a foul by Hawai’i sent Newton to the line with 34 seconds on the clock. The junior hit the front end, and the second, but UH wouldn’t quit, making a layup on the other end. With 30 seconds on the clock the Rams sent Duffy to the line. She made both, but UH again made a layup. Duffy was called upon to the charity stripe, and with incredible composure, she iced the win, making both attempts.
After a strong start the game, shooting 60.0 percent, CSU went cold, suffering an 11-minute scoring drought from the field. The team survived on free throws, however, converting seven from the charity stripe during the lull. Alicia Nichols dug the Rams out of the hole with just under 2 minutes to play, and the team closed out the first half with a five-point lead.
Gustavsson led the strong start for the landlocked state, with 10 points in the first half. She finished the night with a team-high 17, and five rebounds. CSU had four players in double figures. Duffy tallied with 14 points, while pulling down a team-high 10 boards for her second-career double-double. Martin scored 12, while Newton added 14.
The Rams ran into some foul trouble early on, as both Martin and Newton were hit with two each in the first 5 minutes of play. Both sat the bench for the remainder of the period. Nichols joined them on the sideline 5 minutes later, earning her second violation at the 10 minute mark of the first half. She would return, though, when Gustavsson was also nailed with her second foul with six minutes before the halftime buzzer.
The foul woes continued into the second half. This time it was Gustavsson and Nichols who were both force to sit the bench with four penalties each within the first 5 minutes of the second stanza. The Rams played the final 12 minutes of the game with four player with four fouls each. Martin and Nichols each fouled out.
Hawai’i’s Kamilah Jackson, who just surpassed the 1,000 career points and rebounds mark, scored a team-high 17 points. Shawna-Lei Kuehu registered 13 points and Ashleigh Karaitiana added 10.
Colorado State will play Minnesota in Game 2 of the tournament Saturday at 3 p.m. MT. A live stream will be available for free on BigWest.tv. The Golden Gophers defeated Chattanooga in a tight game Friday, 63-62. Naismith Trophy candidate Rachel Banham tallied 36 points, shooting 11-of-12 at the line, while Amanda Zahui pulled down 13 rebounds.
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