LAS VEGAS – The No. 5-seeded Colorado State women's basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the 2018 Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship with a 71-55 victory over the No. 4-seeded Fresno State Bulldogs in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at the Thomas & Mack Center.
With the result, Colorado State (20-10) will face top-seeded Boise State (22-9) at 7:30 p.m. MT/6:30 p.m. PT in semifinal action on Wednesday. CSU was paced offensively by senior guards Hannah Tvrdyand Stine Austgulen, who tallied 15 points and 14 points, respectively. Tvrdy added eight rebounds to her line, while Austgulen corralled three boards with five assists. Guards Lore Devos and Sofie Tryggedsson joined the two seniors in double-digit scoring, pouring in 14 and 11 points, respectively.
The two teams played back-and-forth basketball over the first two quarters of Tuesday's quarterfinal. Colorado State opened the action with 4-for-5 shooting, including a pair of Tryggedsson threes, to gain initial separation. Fresno State (16-14) hung with the Rams early, closing the early gap before the two teams played to six instances of a tied score and 12 first-half lead changes. Both teams scored exactly 15 points and 11 points in the first and second quarters, respectively, and went to halftime tied at 26 apiece.
CSU took the early upper hand in the third quarter, building a five-point lead before the Bulldogs tied the game for the 13th and final time at 33-33 with 6:07 left in the period. 21 seconds later, Austgulen broke the tie for good with a three-pointer, the first of four CSU threes to end the third. Behind that three-point shooting, the Rams went on a 14-4 run, taking a 47-37 advantage to the fourth quarter.
The Rams had 30:48 of lead time on Tuesday, and never led by fewer points than 10 from the beginning of the fourth quarter to the final buzzer. From a 50-40 CSU lead with 8:46 to go, the Rams got another three-pointer from Austgulen and back-to-back jumpers from Devos to power a 7-0 run and take a 57-40 advantage with 6:19 to play. Fresno State got as close as within 13 points with 2:51 remaining, but Devos responded with four straight points again to reestablish the 17-point lead before the final 71-55 result.
IN THEIR WORDS
Colorado State head coach Ryun Williams
"Fresno has had our number this year. They're a really tough bunch to handle. This is a good win because we beat a really good Fresno team. Just proud of our execution, proud of our fight. These two seniors were exceptional today. So good win. We get to stay in the tournament, which is always a good thing. Just a real good win."
On the team's effort level and mindset:
"We had a good week of preparation. The kids were really locked into what we needed to get done. I think our kids always compete hard. So today, it's the tournament, right? You don't want it to be your last game. There's always a little more purpose and energy into your performance. Again, I thought it was just the right amount. I thought our mindset was really locked in. We just made it a basketball game, an intense one, but we didn't let the moment or the stage become bigger than it actually was."
Senior guard Stine Austgulen
On the team's ball movement:
"I think it was great. Just we got it inside, passed it outside, hit big shots from the three, but also our post players were just shooting the ball really, really well today. It was a lot of fun to play."?
Senior guard Hannah Tvrdy
On if she felt extra motivation as a senior:
"This whole past week, Stine and I have talked a lot about what we want to do in this tournament, what we want to do to end our senior year. We kind of talked to the team about that, too. Like Coach said, I think our practice this whole week was focused, a lot of effort. We know what we want to do. We're not ready to be done. It kind of hits you like this is your last go at it. We're just literally giving it everything we have right now."
- Colorado State advances to the semifinals of the Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship for the third consecutive season and the fourth time overall in head coach Ryun Williams' six-year tenure.
- With the win, Colorado State has reached the 20-win milestone for the fifth consecutive season.
- Tuesday's result marked the first time since 2009 that Colorado State has won a game at the Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship as the lower seed. The Rams last did so as the No. 8 seed against No. 5-seeded Wyoming in the first round in 2009.
- Colorado State's win marks the first time that the Rams have won as the No. 5 seed at the Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship. The Rams have never previously been the No. 5 seed.
- CSU is now 4-2 all-time in the Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship quarterfinals.
- Stine Austgulen's four three-point field goals made on Tuesday are tied for the third-most made by a single player in a single Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship game in program history.
- Austgulen's .571 three-point field goals percentage on Tuesday is tied for the second-best by a single player in a single Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship game in program history.
- Hannah Tvrdy scored in double digits for the 10th time in the past 11 games.