Finishing It: Colorado State closes out the non-conference schedule against IPFW on Friday evening in Moby Arena. The Rams are 8-4 so far in non-league tilts and will begin Mountain West Conference play on Jan. 15 against BYU. The Mastodons enter the game with a 5-8 record after defeating Air Force on Wednesday evening, 83-70.
Second Half Surge: Defense was again the name of the game for Colorado State as they defeated Montana, 60-45. It marks the second straight contest the Rams have held an opponent below 50 points. Sophomore center Lindsay Thomas recorded her third double-double in four games, scoring a career-high 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds -- including six offensive -- on the night. Also in double figures in scoring were sophomore guard Vanessa Espinoza with 12 and senior guard Jasai Ferrucho with 10 points. Ferrucho also led the Rams with five assists, while Thomas had two blocks and she, Espinoza and senior forward Joy Jenkins each recorded two steals.
Stingy Defense Pays Off: A stingy defense in the second half allowed Colorado State to defeat Loyola Marymount in the Pepsi Center, 54-42 in the first game of a doubleheader with the Colorado State basketball teams. Loyola Marymount scored just 14 points in the second half on four field goals, while the Rams scored 27 points on 10 shots from the field for the 12-point victory. Colorado State was led by Vanessa Espinoza who tied her career-high with 16 points and Joy Jenkins with 13 points. Lindsay Thomas led the Rams with nine rebounds and Jasai Ferrucho led all players with four assists. Espinoza also led all players with three steals in the game.
Its Almost Spooky: Colorado State is extremely well balanced this season. The Rams have four players averaging over 12 points per game and all four range between 12.3 and 12.7 a contest. The quartet (Melissa Dennett, Lindsay Thomas, Joy Jenkins and Vanessa Espinoza) have each made between 51 and 60 field goals this year and all four are averaging over 3.3 rebounds per game and have between 10 and 20 steals.
Second Half Dominance: In the eight Ram victories, Colorado State has trailed just 3:49 in the second half. The Rams have led wire-to-wire in the second half against Texas Southern, Stephen F. Austin, Long Beach State, San Francisco and Saint Mary’s. In fact, the Rams have trailed just 48:41 in those eight wins, leading for 251:19.
Did You Know?: Friday’s game against IPFW is one of only three games in the Mountain West Conference this week not against a team from the Big Sky Conference. Of the 13 games on the league schedule, 10 are against teams in The Sky.
Moby Maniacs: The Rams have played seven of their first 12 games in Moby Arena this season and will play their next three contests at home. The Rams then take to the road for three games, all Mountain West contests and close out the home season with five of their last nine in the friendly confines of Moby Arena.
On This Date: The Rams are perfect in Moby Arena on Jan. 9 in school history, posting a 3-0 record at home. CSU is 5-3 overall and is 2-3 on the road, never having played a neutral site contest.
Tough D: In the last two contests, the Rams have held the opponent below 50 points, allowing Loyola Marymount to score just 42 points and Montana to score 45. The Rams are giving up just 58.8 points per game this season. That ranks second all-time at CSU and is the best mark since the inception of the shot clock. The school record for scoring defense is 49.06 by the 1974-75 team.
Doubled Up: Colorado State student-athletes have already tallied six double-doubles in the first 12 games of the season, which is more than all of last year. Lindsay Thomas has three double-doubles in the last four games, while Joy Jenkins has two double-doubles and Melissa Dennett has one.
Defense Oriented: Ram opponents are shooting just .378 from the field, which is the fourth best defensive mark in school history and the best since the 1996-97 team allowed just .370 from the floor. The field goal percentage defense mark also ranks third in the Mountain West Conference this season.
Senior Leadership: In the eight games won this season, senior Joy Jenkins is averaging a team-best 13.1 points per game and she also leads the team in rebounds with 7.3. In the four losses, Jenkins is fourth on the team with 10.5 points and is getting just 3.0 rebounds a game. The other senior, Jasai Ferrucho has 15 steals in the eight wins, compared to just two in the four losses.
Honored: Melissa Dennett was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 15 after helping lead the Rams to victories over Denver and San Francisco. Dennett scored a career-high 24 points at Denver. Dennett scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a 71-63 victory at San Francisco. For the week, Dennett averaged 19.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 53.1 percent from the floor.
Balanced Attack: Four players for Colorado State -- Melissa Dennett, Lindsay Thomas, Joy Jenkins and Vanessa Espinoza -- are averaging in double figures in scoring this season. Dennett leads the way with 12.7 points per game, while Thomas is at 12.5 and Jenkins and Espinoza are both at 12.2.
Taking Away The Key: In four of the last five games, the Colorado State defense has held the opponent’s leading scorer below her season scoring average. Montana’s Hollie Tyler, averaging 14 points per game, scored 10, while Kate Murray from Loyola Marymount, averaging just under 15, scored 13. Notre Dame’s Jacqueline Batteast is averaging 15 points per game and the Rams held her to nine and Carey Sauer from San Francisco, who is averaging 13.5, scored just seven. The lone exception in the last five games is Triola Jackson of Saint Mary’s who is averaging 12.5 per game and scored 18.
Bench Contributions: The five starting players have contributed most of the scoring for Colorado State this season. The starters are averaging 56.42 points per game this season, compared to just 10.67 off the bench. The non-starting five have not contributed double figures in a game since Saint Mary’s, scoring 15 points in the last three games combined. The most scored off the bench was 30 points against Denver.
Tripled Up: CSU has made at least two three-pointers in its last 56 games, dating back to an 0-for-14 performance against San Diego State on Jan. 17, 2002. The Rams have also sunk at least one trey in 290 of the last 291 games, dating back to Nov. 25, 1994 against Penn in the first game of the season.
Success Story: Since the arrival of Chris Denker, the Rams are a perfect 7-0 when scoring at least 80 points in a game. The Rams have also won their last 67 games when hitting the 80-point barrier, last losing a 105-98 decision to UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 23, 1997. The Rams are 158-11 all-time when scoring at least 80 points in a game (.935) and of those 11 losses, only three have been in Moby Arena.
Doubled Up: Seven of the Rams eight wins this season have seen a victory margin in double figures. The only game within 10 points came at San Francisco where the Rams won by eight, 71-63. The Rams have won games by 34 (Texas Southern), two by 18 (Long Beach State and Saint Mary’s), 17 (Denver), two by 15 (Stephen F. Austin and Montana) and 12 (Loyola Marymount).
A Team Effort: Colorado State is one of two teams in the Mountain West Conference (BYU) to have three players ranked in the top 15 in rebounds per game. Lindsay Thomas leads the way with 7.9 caroms a game to rank third, while Melissa Dennett is averaging 6.8 to rank seventh and Joy Jenkins is at 5.8, which ranks her 15th. Both freshman forward Kylee O’Dwyer (3.7) and Vanessa Espinoza (3.3) are also averaging better than three rebounds a contest for the Rams.
Extremely Loyal: Colorado State has played in front of at least 1,200 fans in its last 101 games in Moby Arena, dating back to Dec. 30, 1997 against Eastern Washington where only 1,178 people were in the stands. The last game with less than 1,000 fans in Moby Arena came way back on Jan. 5, 1996 when there were 811 in the stands for a game against Idaho State -- a span of 125 games.
Streaks, Milestones and Notes:
Lindsay Thomas recorded the 200th rebound of her career against Montana and now has 205.
With five more three-pointers, Joy Jenkins will move into ninth on the Colorado State career chart.
Jenkins needs two more blocked shots to rank 17th on the CSU career list.
Jasai Ferrucho is just seven assists shy of 13th on the Colorado State career chart.
Vanessa Espinoza is the only player on the team to play in at least 30 minutes in every game this year.
Jenkins needs just eight points for the 700th of her career and with 18 more will move into 20th on the Colorado State career chart.
Melissa Dennett is just nine rebounds shy of her 100th.
Colorado State has had at least 10 offensive rebounds in all but one game this season and in its last eight games.
Ferrucho has recorded at least one steal in the last four games.
Freshman guard Annika Walseth has at least one rebound in all 11 games this season.
Freshman guard Sara Brown has tallied at least one rebound in her last five games.
Kylee O’Dwyer has made at least one field goal and has scored at least two points in all 12 games.
O’Dwyer also has at least one assist in all 12 games.
Dennett has tallied at least three rebounds in all 12 games and has at least five in her last eight games.
Dennett has attempted at least one free throw in all 12 games.
Dennett has had one blocked shot in each of the last five contests.
Jenkins has had at least two caroms in the 12 games this year and in her last 17.
Thomas has at least two rebounds in each game this year and has had five double-figure games. She has had at least one rebound all but one game in her career (45 games) and in 42 straight.
Thomas has made at least one free throw in the last 11 contests.
Marilyn Moulton has made her last six free throws.
Walseth has made her last four free throws.
Freshman guard Molly Nohr is a perfect 2-for-2 from the free throw line this year.
For the first time in 37 contests, Espinoza did not record an assist against Montana.
Ferrucho has had at least two rebounds in her last five games.
Heating Up: In the last three games, Vanessa Espinoza has made seven three-pointers and is 7-of-13 from beyond the arc (.538). She currently ranks fourth in the Mountain West Conference in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on .447 of her shots this year (17-38).
Queens of the Mountain: Colorado State does not lead the Mountain West Conference in any statistic this week, but ranks second in three-point field goal percentage (.360) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.279).
Among The Best: According to the NCAA statistics released Jan. 5, the Rams rank 32nd in the nation in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on .370 of their shots.
Listen Live: Every Colorado State women’s basketball game can be heard over the airwaves this season and can also be found on the internet. Brian Roth announces the play-by-play for the fourth consecutive season and Corbu Stathes adds the color commentary for the third year in a row. The games can be heard live on KIIX 1410 AM on the Colorado State Sports Network and can be found by clicking on the purple Yahoo! icon on the front page of the CSU website at www.csurams.com.
Balanced Scoring: Colorado State is the only team in the Mountain West to have four players ranked in the top 15 in scoring. Melissa Dennett is ranked ninth with 12.7 points per game, while Lindsay Thomas is 11th with 12.5 and both Joy Jenkins and Vanessa Espinoza rank 12th with 12.2 a game.
Tell-Tale Sign: Colorado State is undefeated this season when scoring 80 or more points (2-0), shooting better from the field (8-0), holding the opposition to less than 60 points (6-0), shooting over 50 percent from the field (5-0), making the same or more free throws (8-0) and outrebounding the opponent (6-0).
Coaches Radio Show: Join head coach Chris Denker and radio play-by-play announcer Brian Roth at Johnny Carino’s every Tuesday evening from 5-6. The duo will recap the previous week, preview the upcoming week and answer any questions from fans. Listen to the show on KIIX 1410 AM.
Home Grown: On the 14 player roster for 2003-04 season, half hail from the state of Colorado. Vanessa Espinoza, Joy Jenkins, Marilyn Moulton, Kylee O’Dwyer, freshman guard Sydney Price, sophomore center Msur Tor-Agbidye and junior guard Ashley Venekamp all graduated from Colorado high schools. The other seven players on the team represent six other states or countries.
Three and Four-Point Plays: Colorado State has converted on 15 of 22 traditional three-point plays this season and the one four-point play, while the opposition is 5-10 on three-point plays and 0-2 on four point opportunities. The second four-point opportunity for the opposition came in an unusual way. The Fighting Irish made a layup and off an intentional foul had two tries at free throws, but missed both.
Boarded Up: Lindsay Thomas has tallied at least one rebound in her last 42 games, which is the longest streak on the team and is tied for the 9th longest streak in the conference. She also ranks fourth among second year players in the conference, trailing Kim Smith, Mandie Little and Shona Thorburn of Utah. Joy Jenkins also has 32 straight games with at least one rebound, which ranks 13th in the league.
In The Books: In the opening game of the season, Melissa Dennett shot .818 from the field (9-11), which ties for the sixth best percentage in school history. At Stephen F. Austin, Jasai Ferrucho shot .900 (9-10) from the free throw line, which ties for 20th on the all-time list. As a team, the Rams shot .571 from the field against Texas Southern on Nov. 21, which ties for 20th on the single-game charts and the Rams blocked 11 shots in that game, which ties the school record.
Early Signings: Colorado State signed two student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period in Nov.:
Sara Hunter, a 5-6 guard from Fort Collins, Colo. (Rocky Mountain High School)
Casie Shepherd, a 6-2 forward/center from Prior Lake, Minn. (Prior Lake High School)
Road Warriors: Colorado State is 3-0 in road contests and 1-1 in neutral site games this year. The Rams, when playing away from Moby Arena, are holding opponents to a lower field goal percentage, shooting a better free throw percentage, rebounding almost four more balls a game, and recording fewer turnovers than when playing in Moby.
Streaky: The Rams are trying to win their third game in a row when they play IPFW on Friday, which would tie the longest winning streak of the season. The Rams have won three in a row twice already this year.
Back-To-Back Comebacks: For the first time all season, the Rams won two straight games after trailing at halftime. At the Pepsi Center, the Rams trailed 28-27 against Loyola Marymount and then Tuesday against Montana the Rams trailed 20-19 at the break. CSU went on to win both games, 54-42 and 60-45, respectively.
Mountain West Moving: The Mountain West Conference Tournament is moving much closer to home this season. The tournament will be held at the Pepsi Center in Denver for at least the next three years after spending the previous four at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. This season, the Mountain West Tournament runs Mar. 10-13, 2004.
Ticket Information: Tickets to all home Colorado State games are available by calling the Ram Ticket Office at 1-800-491-RAMS or locally, 491-RAMS. Tickets are also available for purchase on the Colorado State website at www.csurams.com. Season tickets are $130 for adults and $56 for youth (ages 3-18). Reserved single-game tickets are just $8, while general admission is $6 and youth general admission is $4. CSU students are admitted for free.
Coaches TV Show: The Ram Basketball Report airs each Saturday morning on ESPN2 (Channel 46 in Fort Collins), and repeats each Tuesday and Thursday (Channel 68). The first show aired Dec. 10 and the telecast restarts Jan. 10 and runs throughout the season.
Scouting The Opposition: IPFW is currently 5-8 on the season after defeating Air Force 83-70 on Wed. evening. The Mastodons have won three straight games and have had no teams in common with the Rams opponents.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams, though the men’s basketball teams have played each other in each of the last two seasons before this year. IPFW has faced two former assistant Colorado State coaches already this season, losing to Bowling Green State and former assistant Curt Miller before defeating Utah State and former assistant Raegan Scott-Pebley, 83-74. IPFW is an independent team, not affiliated with any Division I conference and is one of seven Division I independent women’s basketball teams.
Amy Geralds leads the Mastodons with 18.6 points per game, while Verea Bibbs is getting 9.1 rebounds a contest to lead the team. Maggie Bruening has a team high 51 assists, while Geralds leads the team with 37 three-pointers and 30 steals. Kelly Boyd has blocked 11 shots on the season for a team-high in that category.
IPFW is averaging 71.1 points and 35.8 rebounds per game, while allowing opponents 79.9 points and 38.4 rebounds. The Mastodons are shooting .424 from the field, .276 from the three-point line and .675 from the charity stripe. They are averaging 4.2 three-pointers a game, as well as 11.3 assists, 21.0 turnovers, 9.2 steals and 2.2 blocks per game.
Head Coach Bruce Patterson is in his third year with IPFW with a record of 18-50. He is in his 13th season as a head coach and sports an overall record of 264-151. He and Colorado State head coach Chris Denker have never before faced each other.