Nov. 25, 2007
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Colorado State women's basketball fell to the Creighton Jays, 78-56, in the championship of the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational in Saturday night at Moby Arena. The Rams (1-5) struggled offensively in the game's final 10 minutes, and were unable to keep pace with Creighton (4-1) who pulled away for the victory and the tournament title.
"I feel like we grew during this tournament - mentally on Friday and physically tonight," said Head Coach Jen Warden.
Colorado State fell behind early in the contest when Creighton hit three 3-pointers to open up a 9-4 lead at the 17:45 mark. The Jays' lead grew to 21-9 midway through the first half, when Colorado State went on an 11-2 run that included jumpers from Britney Minor, Emily Neal, Elle Queen and Juanise Cornell and a 3-pointer from Sara Hunter, to cut the Rams' deficit to 23-20. Creighton answered with 3-pointers on their next two possessions to extend the lead, and went into the locker room holding a 37-28 halftime advantage.
Overall, Creighton was 7 for 12 in the first half from long range, and finished the game shooting 10 for 19. Hunter's trey was the only 3-pointer of the game for Colorado State, who finished 1 for 9.
The Rams' battled back to within three points, 43-40, by opening the second half on a 12-6 run. Another Creighton 3-pointer, this from Sam Schuett ended the Rams' run and extended the lead to two possessions, 46-40.
From that point on, it was Creighton's free throw shooting that proved to be the difference in the game. Queen converted on a pair from the charity stripe for the Rams at the 12:23 mark to keep the game within striking distance, 50-44. Queen led the Rams in the contest with 11 points, and grabbed two offensive rebounds.
"We battled back really well, but we got stagnant on offense," said Queen. From there, we couldn't get back on `O'. They are a very physical team and did a very good job of pressuring us."
Creighton outscored Colorado State, 24-2, over the next seven minutes, with 12 of those points coming from the free-throw line. Colorado State's lone points during that stretch also came from the free-throw line, courtesy of Cornell, who finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and an all-tournament team nod.
"They (Creighton) did a great job of producing on the line and that's what you have to do to win on the road," commented Warden.
The rams looked to freshman Bonnie Barbee to jumpstart the offense down the stretch. Barbee, who had seen just one minute of action this season, logged her first-career minutes in front of the Moby faithful and gave Ram fans a glimpse of the future. Barbee accounted for three of the Rams final four field goals down the stretch, but the Rams were unable to overcome their scoring drought.
"Bonnie is a scorer and that's what she does," said Queen of her classmate. "We'll definitely look for her as a spark in the future."
Overall, Creighton shot 47.9 percent from the floor and converted on 22 of 28 free throws, 78.6 percent, in the contest. Colorado State shot just 35.8 percent from the field and hit just 17 of 31 (54.8 percent) from the free-throw line. Creighton also owned a steep rebounding edge, 42-28. However, Colorado State's defense was able to grab seven steals and force 21 Creighton turnovers in the contest, compared with just 14 for CSU.
Forward Sara Cain earned tournament MVP honors for Creighton, leading all scorers with 14 points in the championship game and tying CSU's Cornell with seven rebounds. Cain shot 4 for 7 from the floor, 2 for 3 from 3-point range to lead Creighton to the win.
In addition to Cain and Cornell, Creighton's Sam Schuett, Kent State's Anna Kowalska, and Navy's K.C. Gordon earned all-tournament honors.
Kent State (1-4) defeated Navy (2-6) to win the consolation game. Kowalska recorded a double-double with 18 poitns and 12 rebounds. Gordon led the Midshipmen with 13 points and five rebounds.
Colorado State returns to the court Wednesday evening with a trip to face in-state rival Denver. The Rams and Pioneers tip off at 7 p.m. from Magness Arena. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain.