Contact CU Independent Sports Writer Jake Mauff at email@example.com.
The University of Colorado women’s basketball team couldn’t pull off an upset against the Colorado State Rams in a 64-63 loss Wednesday night, losing on a last-second shot.
Colorado entered the game 3-2 against the 5-1 Rams. This rivalry game saw both teams come ready to play. It was a close game from start to finish, but Colorado State pulled out the victory.
“Any game doesn’t come down to the last play, but you want to be able to finish the last play,” Head Coach Linda Lappe said. “I thought we made some unbelievable plays down the stretch. We grew up a lot this game.”
The game was a physical one, with each team committing seven personal fouls before the half. The game ended with a combined 35 personal fouls, 20 by CU and 15 by CSU.
Colorado and Colorado State traded tough lay-ups in the closing seconds to set up a 63-62 CU lead with 3.6 seconds left. CSU’s inbound play to junior guard Ellen Nystrom went for a good jumper with 1.7 seconds left on the clock, giving the Rams the lead.
The Buffs had to inbound the ball from the far side of the court. A Hail Mary pass didn’t connect and CU lost by a point.
The game started slow for both sides. After a couple scoreless minutes from both teams, the offenses lit up. Colorado sank 18 points in seven and a half minutes while the Rams scored 19. It was 33-31 Rams at halftime.
Colorado State ended the day shooting 38.6 percent, and its shooting declining in the second half. The Buffaloes, in contrast, made 37.9 percent of their field goals at the half, improving to 43.4 percent at the end of the game.
CSU had a slight advantage at the free-throw line. The Rams took 18 shots, converting 15. In contrast, Colorado took 13 and converted 10.
CU’s three-point shooting kept it in the game. The Buffs took 11 shots from deep before intermission and converted five. The Buffs ended the day making seven out of 15 shots from deep. CSU took fewer three-pointers, going three-for-five.
CSU also won the assist battle, 16 to 12. The highlight there was Nystrom, who had five by the break and eight by the end. She also scored 14 points, collected four rebounds and had one steal.
Nystrom may not have been the Rams’ best player of the game, though. Junior forward Elin Gustavsson had 22 points, seven rebounds, an assist, a steal and two blocks.
CU freshmen guard Kennedy Leonard continued to shine, finishing with 21 points, five rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block. She also delivered a challenging lay-up to set up a 63-62 CU lead late in the game.
CU senior forward Jamee Swan also had a good game despite playing only 17 minutes. She had 12 points, nine rebounds and two assists.
She also had struggles. Her playing time was limited because she was in foul trouble throughout the game. She also only made three of her 10 shots and committed a turnover.
Her best showing was late in the game. A fair amount of her minutes came in the fourth quarter.
“I just have to come out more mentally prepared,” Swan said. “Not that I wasn’t prepared, it just seemed like, for me, I let the first foul get to my head.
The Buffs struggled with turnovers all night. Colorado gave up the ball 14 times, to CSU’s eight.
The Buffaloes will travel to Long Beach State (5-1) Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. MST.