Emotions were running high as the CSU women’s basketball game went up against the University of New Mexico on the road, a little too high for the Rams as a poor second half leads to the Rams first conference loss of the season.
CSU made only five shots from the field in the entire second half as a 33-22 second half lead quickly evaporated. New Mexico (16-5 overall, 5-2 Mountain West Conference) doubled the Rams’ second half output of 17 points, and won 56-50 at “The Pit” in Albuquerque.
“We didn’t have the poise we needed in the second half,” head coach Tom Collen said.
The game was still undecided until the very end. UNM led 49-47 with 5:00 left in the game, but the score stayed that way until there were 29 seconds left, as both teams couldn’t make a basket.
CSU (16-4, 5-1) was forced to foul, but junior forward Shannon Strecker was charged with a flagrant foul on UNM’s Jordan Adams, which gave Adams’ two free throws and UNM the ball. The Lobos made three of four free throws to make it 52-47.
“I think the referees were inconsistent tonight,” Strecker said. “Sometimes, it seemed like we could be really aggressive, and other times we couldn’t.”
CSU still had a chance after junior forward Ashley Augspurger made a 3-pointer to close the gap to 52-50. UNM’s Molly McKinnon missed the front end of her free throws, but Chelsey Grear got the offensive rebound and was fouled. Her free throws made it 54-50 to seal the game.
“We were in position to win the game, and we let it get away from us,” Collen said.
CSU was outplayed in nearly every category. The Rams allowed 43 rebounds, including 20 offensive boards, which led to a 65 to 42 shot advantage for UNM.
The Lobos came out of the second half on a 7-0 run, which CSU countered with a 6-0 run to make it 39-29.
UNM kept riding the emotional high of playing at home, and went on a 9-0 run to close the gap to 39-38.
“The emotions for the most part ran against us in the second half,” Collen said.
Strecker, in her first full game back, led the team with 15 points, as she had to make up for the absence of junior forward Lisa Narkiewicz. Narkiewicz was still suffering from an ankle sprain she sustained before the Wyoming game.
UNM freshman Lindsay Arnt led the team with 15 points and contributed 10 rebounds. Grear also grabbed 10 rebounds, seven offensive, to go with 11 points.
New Mexico moved to one game back of CSU in the conference. CSU next plays Air Force on the road on Saturday. The Rams hope to rebound against the Falcons, who have had trouble at home with conference matchups.
“If we can just put this game behind, us we will be fine,” Strecker said. n