FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A huge performance Thursday by Colorado State’s Elin Gustavsson helped lead the Rams to a come-from-behind, 80-68 overtime win in the first round of the 2017 Women’s National Invitational Tournament at Moby Arena.
Gustavsson scored a game-high 28 points, including 13 in the second half and overtime, to lead the Rams (25-8) into the second round of the WNIT. Colorado State outscored Saint Mary’s (20-13) 18-6 in overtime and 21-15 in the fourth quarter to overcome a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit.
Saint Mary’s still led by as much as seven with less than three minutes to go in regulation. But Colorado State closed the quarter on a 7-1 run. During the final three minutes of regulation, Saint Mary’s went 0 for 5 from the floor, missed four free throws (2 for 6) and committed two turnovers.
Colorado State scored 22 points off of 20 SMC turnovers in the game. The Gaels dominated the glass, outrebounding the Rams 48-26, including 17-4 on the offensive end. But SMC was only able to get 10 points from its 17 offensive boards. The Gaels also dominated the paint, outscoring CSU down low 30-16. CSU lived on the outside, making 10 3-pointers (32.3 percent).
Carly Turner led Saint Mary’s with 19 points. She went 7 for 11 from the floor with three 3-pointers. Turner scored 12 of her 19 points after the game was tied 34-34 midway through the third quarter. Sydney Raggio logged a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Colorado State had three players score in double figures. Gustavsson’s 28 points included 10 free throws. Sofie Tryggedsson scored 18 points with three treys. Ellen Nystrom added 12.
Saint Mary’s shot 50 percent in the first and jumped out to an 11-point, 24-13 lead after one. The Gaels went on a 17-6 run during the quarter and closed the frame with a 6-0 run over the final 100 seconds. 10 of their 24 first-quarter points were scored in the paint.
But the Gaels started the second quarter cold. Saint Mary’s did not score its first points of the second until there were less than three minutes left on a layup by Stella Beck. The Gaels committed seven turnovers and went 0 for 7 before finally scoring in the second.
Colorado State also struggled in the second quarter. But the Rams outscored Saint Mary’s 14-4 in the period. They made three 3-pointers and shot 45.5 percent in the second. Saint Mary’s shot 20 percent (2 for 10) and committed eight turnovers in the quarter.
2016-17 was another successful year for Saint Mary’s. SMC has won 20 games this season for the sixth straight year and seventh in the last eight. The Gaels finished second in the WCC for the second consecutive season. It was their fourth finish among the conference’s top three teams in the last five years.
Five Gaels were honored on the All-WCC teams, including Beck being named to the first team. It is the 11th consecutive year a Gael has been on the first team. Three Gaels received WCC All-Academic honors. Devyn Galland and Raggio were both named to the All-WCC Tournament team.
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