Dec. 18, 2005
The Colorado State University women's basketball team improved to 5-3 on the season, snapping a two-game losing streak, and extending its win streak over Northern Colorado to 11 straight games with an 81-66 victory over the Bears at Moby Arena on Sunday afternoon.
After staking to a 13 point lead, 43-30 at halftime, the Rams were held without a field goal for a stretch of 5:30 allowing the UNC to crawl back into the game 50-47 with 14:37 left in the game.
However the Rams, led by senior Vanessa Espinoza who scored 17 of her team-high 20 points in the second half, went on a 19-8 run to stretch their lead back to 69-55 with 6:03 remaining and put the game out of reach. "In today's game, even when you are up by 13 (points), the game isn't over yet," remarked head coach Jen Warden following the game. "They (UNC) were still breathing down our neck until the end of the game."
After UNC cut the Rams' lead to nine points, 69-60 with 4:14 left in the game, the Rams held the Bears without a field goal for the remainder of the game to secure the victory. "We are getting a taste for what it is like to be a defensive team," added Warden. "Northern Colorado's record is deceiving, so it is good that they came out strong. It helped us."
Espinoza rallied her Ram teammates, with a perfect 6-for-6 shooting performance in the second half, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. As a team the Rams shot an impressive 69.2 percent (9-for-13) from three-point range. The Bears attempted nearly half of their shots from long range, finishing 10-for-24 (.417) on treys.
The Rams defense was able to hold UNC to a 36.7 percent clip (22-for-60) shooting for the game and forced 16 turnovers to go along with six blocked shots. The Rams, led by six dimes from Molly Nohr, dished out 23 assists on the afternoon and committed only 17 turnovers.
In addition to Espinoza's 20 points, also scoring in double figures for the Rams were seniors, Lindsay Thomas
and Melissa Dennett
, and sophomore Sara Hunter
. Thomas posted a season-high 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor. Dennett narrowly missed her fifth double-double of the season with 15 points (5-of-9 FGs) and nine rebounds in the game, to go along with four assists and two blocks.
"Our senior leadership is key," said Warden of the performances of Espinoza, Thomas and Dennett. "It (today's performance) shows that they are definitely seniors."
Hunter added 11 points for the Rams, shooting 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and added five assists in a team-high 35 minutes in the game.
Northern Colorado was led by a game-high 23 points, six rebounds and three assists from guard Jabrenta Hubbard, who shot 8-for-19 from the floor including 3-for-5 from three-point range.
Next up, the Rams travel to Durham, N.C. to face the No.2-ranked Duke Blue Devils at 5 p.m. MT on Dec. 22. Then the team will spend New Year's in San Antonio, Texas for the Wells Fargo New Years Classic where they will face Tulsa and Texas-San Antonio before opening up Mountain West Conference play at home on Jan. 5 against San Diego State.