Colorado State Women's Basketball Dream Season Comes To An End
Courtesy of Colorado State Athletics
LOS ANGELES – The Rams had two chances within the final 10 seconds to force the game into overtime, but both painfully bounced out as Colorado State lost to South Florida, 48-45, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at UCLA to cap off a truly historic season for the Rams.
Playing as an 11 seed, the Rams looked anything but throughout its game vs. No. 6 USF, particularly early in the game. Colorado State raced out to a 10-0 lead in a matter of minutes, and held USF scoreless for the first four minutes of the contest. South Florida, led by likely All-American guard Courtney Williams, found its rhythm to cut the deficit to 12-8 in the first half.
The Bulls opened up the second quarter on a big run, and a 19-5 run overall, to take a four point lead midway through the second quarter. Colorado State, though, led by senior guard Jamie Patrick, would not go quietly into the night. Patrick scored 14 points and knocked in four triples in the first half alone to give the Rams a 24-23 lead heading into halftime. The senior guard finished the game with a team-best 17 points and five 3-pointers, tied for the second-most by a CSU player in an NCAA Tournament game.
In the second half, South Florida and Williams pounced all over Colorado State. USF outscored CSU 17-8 in the third quarter alone, and built up a 12 point lead with just 6:48 left in the game.
The Rams, as they have done all season, showcased their poise and resiliency and staged a run of their own. Facing the large deficit, Ellen Nystrom hit a turnaround jumper followed by a Patrick 3-pointer to cut the lead to seven and force a USF timeout. Senior guard Keyora Wharry banked in a layup in transition to cut the lead to five points, but the Bulls responded with a basket of their own with 4:09 left in the game, their last points of the game.
Colorado State got the lead down to just three points after sophomore guard Hannah Tvrdy got loose on the perimeter for a 3-pointer with 1:52 left in the game. As the time dwindled down, CSU’s defense rose to the occasion. The Rams got stop after stop on that end, but couldn’t find a way to tie the game up.
The Rams got a much-needed stop and the ball back with 19 seconds left and raced the ball down the court, electing not to use one of their remaining timeouts. The move seemed to pay off as Patrick came flying off a screen to give her a split-second of room to get her shot off with about 10 seconds left, but it came inches short off the front of the rim. Still, CSU was not out of it as Tvrdy stole an errant inbounds pass and called timeout with 1.6 seconds left. On the sideline out of bounds play, freshman guard Sofie Tryggedsson broke free and had a good look at a game-tying 3-pointer, but it rimmed out.
Colorado State finished the year 31-2 on the year and set a new school record with a .939 winning percentage on the season. The Rams also set numerous defensive marks for scoring defense, field goal percentage defense and 3-point field goal percentage defense, all of which were on full display in their First Round game vs. USF. Facing CSU’s stingy defense, USF mustered just 48 points, its lowest scoring output of the year, on 30 percent shooting from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range.
Nystrom joined Patrick as the only other Ram in double figures with 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists, finishing her junior campaign with a single-season school-record 186 assists.
IN THEIR WORDS…
Head Coach Ryun Williams
“That was a good college basketball game. I love my basketball team. For 33 nights this year, these kids have showed up and put themselves in a position to win. Not one bad night, not one time did they not put themselves in a position to win. That’s hard to do, that’s how competitive they are. It doesn’t surprise me that it came down to that last shot with our group. You don’t have a year like this without incredible seniors. Jamie [Patrick] had a big time senior game. I’m proud of our team, I’m proud of USF. That’s a well-played game. Courtney [Williams] is the real deal. The kid is incredible. She is rock star. I’m a proud basketball coach. These kids represented Colorado State big time.”
“I don’t think you ever envision 31 wins, 28 in a row. We learned from our trip overseas in August that we have a lot of good players. We have a really competitive bunch that competed every day. That’s why our team kept getting better. It was one through 15 all year long. I think it was shortly after Christmas that we knew we had a bunch that is different. We have great versatility. Their will to win is unmatched. I’ve never had a team like this. I maybe never will again. That’s why I love them so much.”
Junior guard Ellen Nystrom
“They made some tough shots. We just knew if we stayed in the game, we were going to get back in it. That’s how this team is. We just try to stay in the game and not get down and think it’s over, because it wasn’t.”
Senior guard Jamie Patrick
“This is one of my favorite teams I have ever been apart of. There are so many memories on this team that I’m going to take with me. I love this team. Like Coach Williams said, starting in August overseas, I think I felt something special. I felt a bigger bond. It was a really good year.”
STAT OF THE GAME…
• Colorado State finished the year 31-2. The 31 wins are the second-most in school history, while the .939 winning percentage is a new CSU record.
• Keyora Wharry had 11 rebounds, matching her career-high and tied for the most in an NCAA Tournament game in CSU history (Shannon Randles vs. SW Missouri State, March 14, 1999).
• Jaime Patrick shot 5-of-8 attempts from 3-point land, tying her for the second-most three-pointers made in CSU’s NCAA Tournament history (tied Jackie Campbell at Maryland, March 17, 2001).
• CSU hit higher marks in both field goal percentage (36 percent) and 3-point field goal percentage (32 percent), but also had more turnovers (13) and lost the rebounding battle (40 to 37).
• CSU’s defense was one of the nation’s best all year long, and the Rams held USF to just eight points in both the first and fourth quarters. The Rams also kept the Bulls to just 17 percent shooting from three-point land.
• The CSU defense also boosted the Rams’ comeback hopes, as it kept USF scoreless over the final 4:09 of regulation.
• USF’s 48 points was its lowest scoring total of the year. The Bulls came into the game averaging 73.7 points per game.
• Ellen Nystrom finished her junior year with a school-record 186 assists. The previous record was 174 assists by Becky Hammon in 1998-99.