Feb. 6, 2006
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Game 21: Colorado State (8-12, 2-7 MWC) at #16/16 New Mexico (16-6, 6-3 MWC)
February 8, 2006 7:00 p.m. Albuquerque, N.M. The Pit (24,762)
The Matchup: Colorado State (8-12, 2-7) travels to the toughest arena in the Mountain West Conference, playing at New Mexico (16-6, 6-3) on Wednesday evening. The Rams have dropped the last four games against the Lobos and the last win in Albuquerque for CSU came back in 1998. New Mexico is 6-3 in league play, while the Rams are 2-7, but the Lobos have dropped their last two games at BYU and Utah.
Scouting New Mexico: Sophomore Dionne Marsh leads the Lobos with 16.4 points per game, while senior Abbie Letz leads with 7.7 rebounds a contest. The Lobos have a balanced attack with junior Katie Montgomery chipping in 11.3 points and Letz scoring 10.0 a contest. Montgomery has also made 50 three-pointers this season and leads the team with 3.7 assists per game. Don Flanagan is in his 11th season with New Mexico with a career record of 233-100.
Last Time Out: Colorado State returned to winning form on Saturday afternoon, completing the regular season sweep of San Diego State by beating the Aztecs 68-55. The Rams were led by senior forward Melissa Dennett who tallied a game-high 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting for her fourth game with 20-plus points in the conference season. Junior forward Molly Nohr added 13 points and senior center Lindsay Thomas recorded 10 points and seven rebounds. Junior center Marilyn Moulton, who started for just the second time in her career, notched seven points and a career-high 11 rebounds.
Not Only A `W': Colorado State picked up its first win on the road in conference play with the victory over San Diego State on Saturday, but the Rams also had several season highs in the game. The Rams blocked a season-high eight shots in the game, which also ties for the ninth most in a single game in school history. They also committed a season-low nine fouls, allowed a conference season low 55 points, tallied a conference season high nine steals and had a conference season high 14 assists.
The Big Lead: The lead over San Diego State of 16 with 1:05 remaining in the game is the largest lead for Colorado State in conference play this year. The previous high was 10 against New Mexico back on Jan. 7.
Another Chance: Colorado State seniors Melissa Dennett and Lindsay Thomas are giving the Rams the majority of their second chance opportunities this season. The pair have combined for 118 of the team's 219 (no team rebounds included) offensive rebounds, or 53.9 percent.
Stepping Up: Marilyn Moulton narrowly missed recording a double-double against Air Force, scoring 10 points and grabbing nine rebounds, seven on the offensive end, in 30 minutes of play. Then in her first start of the season at San Diego State, the junior scored seven points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds. Over the past five games, Moulton is averaging 8.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. She is also tied for the team lead with six blocked shots over that stretch.
Quite A Feat: Melissa Dennett is just one rebound shy of becoming the 13th player in school history with 600 rebounds. When she records that rebound, she will be one of only three players in CSU to have scored 1,000 points, tallied 600 rebounds and blocked 75 shots. The other two: Teresa James (1992-96) and current teammate Lindsay Thomas.
Two More: Molly Nohr is just two points shy of scoring her 300th career point. The junior has 298 points in her career, with 165 coming this season. As a freshman, she scored just 10 points in 23 games for 0.4 per contest, but is averaging 8.3 this season. Melissa Dennett is just six points shy of her 1,100th and with four more blocks will record her 100th.
Half Or Better: In eight games this season, Colorado State has shot over 50 percent from the field in one of the two halves of play. In those games, the Rams are 6-2 with the losses coming against South Dakota State and Tulsa. In both of CSU's conference wins, the Rams shot 50 percent or better in the second half.
Starting Lineups: After using the same lineup in the first 14 games of the season, Colorado State has used four different lineups in the last six games. Sophomore guard Sara Hunter, Melissa Dennett and Lindsay Thomas have started all 20 games, while senior guard Vanessa Espinoza (17), Molly Nohr (15), Casie Shepherd (4), junior guard Liz Kramer (3) and Marilyn Moulton (1) have all made starts for the Rams.
First Time: For the first time in conference play this season both Melissa Dennett (23) and Lindsay Thomas (10) were in double figures in scoring in the same game at San Diego State.
Glass Cleaner: Melissa Dennett currently has 75 offensive rebounds, which already ranks sixth on the CSU single-season chart. The senior is on pace to break the school record, averaging 3.75 offensive boards a contest, which would give her 105.
Arc Minded: Sara Hunter has hit at least one three-pointer in the last seven games and in 13 of the last 14 contests. In seven of those 13 games, Hunter has connected on three or more triples. She leads the team with 44 three-pointers this season and ranks third in the Mountain West Conference with 2.20 three-pointers made per game. She also ranks ninth in accuracy, hitting .338 of her long ball attempts.
Charity Stripe Notes: Marilyn Moulton has had eight games this season where she has attempted five or more free throws in a game, including the last four. She has also made 23 free throws in the last four games. Sara Hunter, who has made 19 of her 20 free throw attempts this season, has only attempted free throws against San Diego State in conference play. Hunter is now 2-2 in each game against the Aztecs.
Crashing The Boards: The Rams have now out-rebounded five of the last six opponents and are outrebounding the competition in conference play. Colorado State is averaging 39.6 rebounds per game against league foes, while allowing just 36.8 for a +2.8 rebound margin. Against non-conference opponents, the Rams averaged 36.7 boards a game and allowed 38.5 for a -1.8 margin.
The Six And Five: Colorado State has had six different players lead or share the lead in scoring in a game this season and five different athletes lead or share the lead in rebounding. Melissa Dennett leads both categories with 10 scoring and 12 rebounding leads, while Vanessa Espinoza has led in scoring four times, Sara Hunter has led in scoring three times and rebounding once. Lindsay Thomas has led in scoring twice and rebounding seven times, while Molly Nohr has led in scoring twice and rebounding once. Casie Shepherd led the team in scoring once and Marilyn Moulton has led in rebounding three times.
Doubled Up: Melissa Dennett leads the Mountain West Conference with 10 games in double figures in rebounds this season, while Lindsay Thomas is tied for second with six. Thomas is tied with TCU's Natasha Lacy. Dennett also ranks third this season with eight 20+ scoring games, ranking behind Utah's Kim Smith (11) and BYU's Ambrosia Anderson (10).
Back On Track: After starting the season with eight of the first 10 games in the plus for assist-to-turnover ratio, Molly Nohr stumbled, with six straight games of either an even or a negative assist-to-turnover ratio. The junior has turned things around, however, as she has been back in the positive column the last four games, notching 12 assists with just four turnovers.
Post Involvement: Colorado State had six assists in the first half against San Diego State on Saturday and five came from post players, as Melissa Dennett and Marilyn Moulton each had two and Lindsay Thomas had one. In the game, there were 12 different combinations of scores and assists, with the most common being two assists by Dennett to Thomas and two the other way, from Thomas to Dennett.
Scoring Breakdown: Colorado State is scoring 38.4 percent of its points in the paint this season, 22.4 from beyond the arc, 22.4 from the free throw line and 16.8 percent from jumpers outside the paint. In contrast, CSU opponents are scoring 39.9 percent from the paint, 27.4 from the three-point line, 18.5 from the free throw line and 14.2 from jumpers.
It's Been A While: In the first half at Wyoming, Colorado State did not attempt a three-pointer. The last game where the Rams did not put up a triple in a half was the second half at Fresno State on Feb. 4, 1993 -- a 55-53 victory for CSU. The last time the Rams did not try a three-pointer in the first half of a game came way back on Dec. 29, 1990 -- a 53-49 loss to Northern Iowa.
Contributing: All seven players that have seen action in all 20 games this season have scored in double figures in at least one game. Melissa Dennett leads the way with 14 double figure games, while Lindsay Thomas has done so 13 times. Sara Hunter (11), Molly Nohr (5), Marilyn Moulton (3), Casie Shepherd (3) and Liz Kramer (1) round out the team's double figure scoring games.
Good Golly: Molly Nohr has scored at least one point, pulled down at least one rebound and dished out at least one assist in all 20 games this season.
The Long Ball: Colorado State has made four or more three-pointers in 15 of the 20 games this season, including 12 of the last 14 and seven of the nine conference games. CSU has also had 12 games with five or more three-pointers. The Rams are averaging 5.1 triples per contest which ranks fifth in the Mountain West Conference and lead the league, connecting on .373 of their shots.
Upon Further Review: When researching a note, it was discovered that Jennifer Halbach (1984-88) did not score 1,073 points to rank 11th in school history like originally thought. Halbach scored 923 points, which ties her for 18th with Jacque Johnson (1996-00) and moves the three current seniors up one spot in the career scoring. Lindsay Thomas is 11th with 1,067 points, Melissa Dennett is 12th with 1,059 and Vanessa Espinoza ranks 14th with 980.
Send Us To The Stripe: In Mountain West Conference play, the Rams are shooting .777 from the free throw line, sinking 136 of their 175 attempts, which leads the league. The .777 ranks fourth in Mountain West Conference history, while the .759 against all opponents fifth all-time.
Lots of Time: Lindsay Thomas has played in all 111 games during her career at Colorado State and has made 47 consecutive starts and 82 throughout the last four years. Vanessa Espinoza has missed just four games in her four seasons, playing in 107 and starting in 77, and had her string of 56 consecutive starts snapped at BYU. Melissa Dennett has played in 87 games for the Rams, starting in the last 77 straight.
Hitting A Grand: Melissa Dennett scored her 1,000th career point with her second free throw of a two shot foul with 5:50 remaining in the first half of the game against UNLV, becoming the 13th player in school history and the second this season to eclipse 1,000 points. Lindsay Thomas became the 12th player school history to score 1,000 points in a career, hitting her 1,000th point at the 1:57 mark of the second-half against Tulsa with a layup. Thomas now has 1,072 points to rank 11th on the school career charts, while Dennett is right behind her in 12th with 1,065 points. This could be the first time in school history three players have scored 1,000 career points in the same season as Vanessa Espinoza currently has 980.
First Possession: Melissa Dennett has won the opening tip in 19 of 20 games for the Rams this season (TCU). The Rams have scored first in 14 of the 20. She also won 20 of 28 opening tips during 2004-05.
Hitting Their Shots: Colorado State leads the Mountain West Conference in three-point field goal percentage (.373) and free throw percentage (.759) and are second in scoring offense (67.5). In conference games only, the Rams lead in free throw percentage, shooting .777 from the charity stripe and in blocked shots with 3.89. They are also second in three-point field goal percentage (.344).
Best In the Mountain West: Melissa Dennett leads the Mountain West Conference in rebounds per game with 8.9 a contest and is also on top in offensive rebounds with 3.75 per game, a whole offensive board better than anyone else in the league (Alecia Steele, Air Force, 2.75). She also ranks second in the conference with 1.35 blocks per game, is third in field-goal percentage (.522) and fourth in scoring (15.2). Molly Nohr ranks second in free throw percentage (.857) and Sara Hunter is third in three-pointers per game (2.20). In conference games only, Dennett is second in rebounding (8.4), while Nohr is second in free throw percentage (.913).
Among The Nation's Leaders: Colorado State currently ranks 7th in the nation in free throw percentage (.761) and 36th in three-point field-goal percentage (.369). Statistics are through games played on January 30.
On This Date: Colorado State is 5-4 in games played on Feb. 8, with a 3-1 record at home, and 2-3 away from the friendly confines of Moby Arena. CSU is also 2-1 against New Mexico on Feb. 8 with a 1-1 record in Albuquerque (2/8/80, L, 65-81, Albuquerque; 2/8/86, W, 75-60, Albuquerque; 2/8/98, W, 83-72, Fort Collins).
Fan Support: Colorado State has had at least 1,000 fans attend each of the last 156 home games. The last time the Rams played at home in front of fewer than 1,000 fans was Jan. 5, 1996 when Colorado State faced Idaho State.
Dynamic Duo: Lindsay Thomas and Melissa Dennett are now tied for the most prolific shot blocking duo in school history. Dennett has 96 career blocks and Thomas has 79. The tandem of Shannon Strecker and Ashley Augspurger also combined to block 175 shots during their careers (1999-2003).
Quite A Stretch: Colorado State has hit at least one three-pointer in the last 124 games, dating back to Jan. 17, 2002 against San Diego State. In that contest, the Rams were 0-14 from beyond the arc. That game snapped a 232 game streak, dating back to a Nov. 25, 1994 victory over Pennsylvania.
Warden Hosts Pregame "Chalk Talks": This season Jen Warden will host a pregame "chalk talk" at all Colorado State home games. She will begin her talk 22 minutes prior to tip-off. The "chalk talks" are open to members of the Slam Dunk Club and will be held in the Hall of Fame room on the south concourse of Moby Arena. For more information on the Slam Dunk Club, contact Lisa Eakins at (970) 491-6569.
Coors Light Ram Basketball Coaches' Show: Catch women's basketball coach Jen Warden on the Colorado State Sports Network throughout the season. Warden will be on the Coors Light Ram Basketball Coaches' Show with head men's basketball coach Dale Layer live from the Fort Collins Hilton. The show starts at 7 p.m. The broadcast can be heard on 600 AM KCOL in Fort Collins and 710 AM KNUS in Denver. Colorado State football and men's basketball play-by-play announcer Rich Bircumshaw will be the host. Broadcast Dates - February 13, February 20, February 27 and March 6.