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The Rams proved they're contenders with an impressive showing at Fresno State over the weekend

Justin Michael Avatar
December 7, 2020

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — They’re back. 

Colorado State women’s basketball (3-1, 1-1) showed everyone that the Rams are once again one of the league’s most talented teams. After a couple of down seasons, head coach Ryun Williams has completely rejuvenated the roster with an influx of transfer players from around the country. And so far, it’s been so good for the Rams, who are coming off of a road split with the Fresno State Bulldogs — a team that many expected to run away with the league this season. 

In the two-game series at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., CSU didn’t just look competitive against the Bulldogs; the Rams looked flat out dangerous. Williams’ squad lit up the floor with an 89-point showing in Thursday night’s win (89-83), before leading for 30+ minutes in Friday night’s narrow loss (78-74). 

Considering Fresno State only lost two league games all of last season and then returned a roster with a plethora of all-conference performers this year, the fact that CSU was nearly able to leave the valley with a sweep of the Bulldogs is pretty dang impressive — especially this early in the 2020-21 campaign. It’s one thing to dominate programs like Regis and Colorado Christian, who shouldn’t be overlooked, but are really just happy to have a game against the Rams. Showing out against the Mountain West’s elite right off the bat, though, that shows just how good CSU can be this season. 

Members of the CSU Women’s Basketball team huddle against Regis University. Photo courtesy of CSU Athletics (Christian Schuepbach).

“Our team came out with nice rhythm yet again, looking to score and attack,” head coach Ryun Williams said of CSU’s performance on Friday night. 

“Our transitioning was good as well offensively and defensively. Those are two really good basketball teams right there. We did not make as many plays as we did last night, but that is how it goes sometimes. I look around in the locker room and I can see their disappointment, which shows heart. That is the mentality you want in the locker room.”

Through four games the Rams are averaging 92.5 points per game while only allowing 69.8. While I’ve never been that good at math, it’s easy to see why the green and gold have been so dominant. CSU is shooting 12 percent better from the floor than opponents right now (53% vs. 41%), and a whopping 17 percent better from behind the 3-point arc (46% vs. 29%). 

What’s more, there’s really not an area of the game where the Rams have not been the more complete team. On average CSU is winning the battle on the glass by 8.5 rebounds, dishing out 11 more assists per game, while also winning the turnover margin. What’s even more frustrating from their opponent’s perspective is that they can’t even hack the Rams and put them at the line because CSU is shooting 77 percent from the charity stripe as a team. 

Simply stated the Rams have been ballin’ this season — and what’s really neat is it’s been a complete team effort. Nine different players are averaging double-digit minutes at the moment, and another six are averaging 6 – 8 minutes per night as well. It’s not just charity minutes either. Of the 370 points that the Rams have scored, 10 different individuals have contributed with at least 10 points. 

In a wacky season impacted by COVID-19, it’s probably unrealistic to expect CSU to continue to put up numbers at such a scorching pace. That said, it’s clear that the Rams have a real opportunity to be one of, if not the best team in the Mountain West. A road series against Fresno State is as tough of a setting as CSU will have to experience, and they’ve already got it out of the way. Time to see if CSU can keep that momentum going against San Diego State with a two-game series on Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon. 

“This was a tough weekend between travel, COVID, and back-to-back games against the abnormality of Fresno State,” Williams said. “It was good for us. This was a great learning experience that excites me for us going forward. Next, SDSU comes in with one of the best players in the league and other complementary parts so we have another tough conference test. We are going to get home, get some rest and be ready.”

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