Nov. 29, 2008
By Danny Mattie
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – For 30 minutes on Saturday night, it appeared as if Colorado State had found a cure for the offensive struggles that plagued the Rams early the night before against Valparaiso. The Rams stormed out to a double-digit lead, and held steady through the first 10 minutes of the second half against Murray State. However, a 36-point effort by Amber Guffey, coupled with just one CSU field goal over the final 10 minutes of the game, helped the Racers (3-3) overcome the Rams (1-4) for a 75-70 victory in the final game of the 2008 Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational.
“I don’t know that our shot selections was very good (down the stretch),” said CSU Head Coach Kristen Holt. “I just think that our movement was not as good in the second half, and then our shot selection was not good.”
Guffey, the Racers’ leading scorer, was forced overcome poor shooting from her team in the first half. She responded with 21 points in the first 20 minutes as the Rams held her teammates to just 2-for23 shooting at halftime.
“(Guffey) is a good players,” said Holt. “She’s just smart, takes what you give her, and she can flat-out shoot. She’s just a very good all-around player.”
With a one-sided scoring attack from the Racers, Colorado State was able to jump out to a large lead of 14 points in the first half thanks to hot shooting from beyond the arc by Kandy Beemer, Bonnie Barbee and Kim Mestdagh, who earned her first career start in place of an injured Juanise Cornell. The trio combined for 54.5 percent (6-for-11) from long range to open the game. After Guffey tied the game at 18 with one of her five 3-pointers, Mestdagh and Beemer added back-to-back treys at 8:32 and 7:57, respectively, to spark a 13-0 CSU run and a Barbee 3-pointer at 4:04 gave the Rams a 36-22 lead.
The Rams headed into the lockerroom with a 39-32 advantage and held a steady lead when Mestdagh dropped in her 12th and final points, and the Rams last field goal of the game, with 9:58 remaining on the clock.
Colorado State scored just six points, all from the free-throw line, over the final minutes of the game and Murray State steadily cut into the lead, outscoring the Rams 21-6 following Mestdagh’s layup.
Amber Guffey’s twin sister, Paige, poured in 12 of her 14 points in the second half and teammate Mallory Luckett added six second-half points. Both Guffeys connected on a pair of free throws with less than 22 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Barbee -who earned all-tournament honors for the Rams - and Mestdagh tied for the team-lead with 12 points in the contest. Beemer, senior Britney Minor and freshman Meghan Heimstra each added nine points, a career-best for Heimstra, who also posted personal bests with five rebounds and three blocked shots.
“Megan did a really nice job of being active, she just made things happen and that’s what we need,” added Holt.
Chatilla van Grinsven, who missed the first four games of the season for the Rams, added six points and four rebounds in 17 minutes in her debut in a CSU uniform.
“Chatilla is a player and she’s going to become better and better, but she’s very young,” said Holt. “She’s going to be a really good player for us.”
Amber Guffey was also selected to the five-player all-tournament team for her efforts in helping the Racers to a third-place finish. Valparaiso’s Agnieszka Kulaga was named tournament MVP after guiding the Crusaders to the tournament title with an 80-74 victory over runner-up Florida State in Saturday’s first game. Valpo’s Aimee Litka and FSU’s Jacinta Monroe rounded out the all-tournament team.
The Rams remain at Moby Arena next week for games four and five of a five-game homestand. CSU hosts in-state rivals Denver, Wednesday at 7 p.m., and Northern Colorado, Saturday at 2 p.m.
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