For a second straight game, the CSU women’s basketball team saw a first half lead evaporate early in the second half. However, this time the Rams (17-4 overall, 6-1 Mountain West Conference) were able to fight back, winning 63-55.
Going against an Air Force Academy team that had not won a conference game, the Rams took a 31-22 lead at the half, only to lose it when Air Force went on a 16-5 run around 13:00 of the second half.
The run gave Air Force (4-16, 0-7) its largest lead at 49-44 with less than 10 minutes left in the game.
“They got that five-point lead, and that’s when they thought they could win, and that’s when our kids realized they could lose,” CSU head coach Tom Collen said.
No. 18 CSU settled down and started to dig into the lead, finally regaining it for good on junior forward Ashley Augspurger’s 3-pointer to make it 55-53. Senior guard Angie Gorton led the team with 17 points, including 8 of 8 shooting from inside the paint. Junior forward Shannon Strecker tied her season-high of 15 points.
“Shannon had another great game for us, and Angie Gorton stepped up when we needed her to,” Collen said.
CSU struggled from behind the arc, going 4 of 20, and also committed 15 turnovers. A strong defensive effort allowed the team to make up for these offensive shortcomings, according to Collen.
Freshman guard Latoya Howell led Air Force with 14 points, while forward Amoy Jackson contributed 12 points. Air Force coach Ardie McInally said she was pleased with how the team played, but just wishes it could finish games strong.
“Sometimes I just wish there wasn’t a clock up there so the kids wouldn’t see it and they could just keep playing,” McInally said.
Going against the top team in the conference and playing them tough was a moral victory, according to Air Force guard Alison Tomlinson.
“We’re not used to playing so well,” Tomlinson said. “We were comfortable running our offense. We learned that we can compete.”
CSU will play Utah on Thursday at Moby Arena. The game is set to start at 6:30 p.m., and will be televised on Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain. It will be the first game of the second half of the conference schedule for the Rams, which finished the first half at a conference best 6-1.
“We’re certainly the team in the best position going into the second half, but we’re going to have to get better if we are going to win it,” Collen said. n