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The Colorado State women’s basketball team rallied from a 10-point deficit with 6:43 to go in the fourth quarter to force overtime and defeat the Saint Mary’s Gaels, 80-68, on Thursday night in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament at Moby Arena.
Once trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter, Colorado State (25-8) whittled the lead down to seven with 2:56 to play. The Rams went on a 7-1 run from that point, cutting the Gaels’ (20-13) lead to 61-60 on a pair of Ellen Nystrom jumpers and a three-point play by Elin Gustavsson. The Gaels converted on only 1-of-4 free throws in the final two minutes, leaving the door open for the Rams with 14 seconds to play. In the final seconds of regulation, Gustavsson drove inside, drew a foul and knocked down both free throws to send the game to overtime tied at 62 apiece.
Once in overtime, the Rams seized control of the game, as Nystrom, Sofie Tryggedsson, Myanne Hamm and Gustavsson combined to open the overtime period with 5-of-6 shooting. Behind their hot shooting, the Rams took a 73-66 advantage with less than two minutes to go. The Gaels missed a pair of layups on their next possession, and were forced to foul. Hamm and Gustavsson combined to go 4-for-4 from the free throw line down the stretch, and Stine Austgulen buried a dagger three in the final minute to seal the 80-68 win.
Notably, the Rams built an advantage from the free throw line with 9-of-14 shooting compared to 4-of-11 for Saint Mary’s. Gustavsson finished with 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting (2-of-4 three-point shooting) and 10-of-11 shooting from the free throw line. The Angelholm, Sweden native added seven rebounds and four assists. Tryggedsson tallied 18 points, while Nystrom scored 12 points with four rebounds and as many assists.
The Rams fell behind, 24-13, after the first quarter, but held Saint Mary’s without a point until the 2:43 mark in the second quarter to narrow the gap. The Gaels’ Stella Beck used a layup to stop CSU’s 9-0 run, but Gustavsson and Austgulen answered with a jumper and a three-pointer, respectively, to give the Rams a 27-26 lead. Saint Mary’s responded with one more shot to end the half, as Devon Brookshire converted on a layup to send the Gaels to the break with a 28-27 advantage. The Gaels outscored the Rams, 19-14, in the third quarter to take a 47-41 lead heading to the dramatic fourth.