Dec. 8, 2013
DENVER, Colo. – The Colorado State women’s basketball persevered over a tough Denver team at Magness Arena Sunday, winning 86-78.
The win is just the second for CSU (6-3, 0-0 Mountain West) in the past eight years, and the first in Denver vs. the Pioneers (1-7, 0-0 Summit) since the 2003-04 campaign.
After leading by as much as 14 points in the second half, DU’s persistence at shooting the three mounted a near comeback, but a huge block by Alicia Nichols, who denied a career-high three on the day, silenced the Pioneers’ rally with 31.6 seconds remaining. Gritt Ryder iced the win with six-of-eight free throws in the final minute of play.
“The 86 is a really good job by our kids,” commented Head Coach Ryun Williams. “Offensively, that’s quite a performance on the road in a lot of different areas. We got a lot of good stuff inside today, we got to the foul line a lot, not just at the end of the game either. It was from our very first possession.”
Colorado State saw five players in double figures for the third time this year, after not happening since 2010. Ryder led the team with 18 points, followed by Sam Martin, who has played particularly well against the Pioneers in her career, with 14. Caitlin Duffy also tallied 14, AJ Newton posted 11 and Ellen Nystrom had 10.
Before today’s matchup the Pioneers shot .333 from three-point range, and just .289 without the likes of their leading deep shooter Morgan Van Riper-Rose, who was out with an ankle injury. Denver hit its stride from the beyond the arc in the first stanza, converting an impressive .545 percentage, making six treys. At the opposite end of the spectrum, CSU made four from deep (21.1 percent), sinking just one three in the first half.
Where the Rams failed out in the field, they excelled at the line, with a season-high 34-of-41 (.829) from the charity stripe, including a team-high 12-of-14 from Ryder. The 34 made shots is the third most all-time in school history.
Martin was the first of three Rams who entered foul trouble early on, earning her second at the 14-minute mark. She was later joined by Elin Gustavsson and Nystrom on the bench, giving the reserves a chance to shine. They did, bringing CSU from a 10-point deficit at the 6-minute mark, to within one point at the halftime buzzer.
Foul troubles continued into the second frame as Nystrom, Nichols, Gustavsson and Martin were all hit with their third foul with just over 12 minutes to play. Gustavsson was forced to take a seat when she was whistled for her fourth at the 8-minute mark. Five players would each have four fouls as the clock wound down, but none of them would foul out.
DU’s leading rebounder Maiya Michel went down in the first half after knocking knees with a teammate on the court. She did not return.
Colorado State will return home for a matchup vs. South Dakota Mines next weekend on Saturday in Martin’s 100th career game. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT.