By Luke Cornish
Women’s Hoops with Convincing Win
From the beginning of Sunday’s game against Stephen F. Austin, the CSU women’s basketball team seemed determined to prove it was better than the team that played poorly against Division II Metro State on Wednesday.
That motivation was all the Rams needed as they ran over the visiting Ladyjacks 85-62 in front of 2,129 screaming Ram fans.
The win moves the Rams to 5-1 on the season in the last of a six-game home stretch to open the season. The Ladyjacks, who have been tabbed as having the third toughest schedule in the country, slip to 0-5 in their five road games to start the season.
“I was really pleased with the effort out there today,” CSU head coach Chris Denker said. “We got a few simple lay-up baskets that we got just because we executed properly.”
On Sunday, senior pair Ashley Augspurger and Elizabeth English came out strong early on as they combined for CSU’s first 11 points. From that point on, the team never looked back.
The Rams went to the locker room at halftime with the score 44-34. The 10-point lead was due largely in part to CSU forcing the Ladyjacks into10 turnovers, compared to just two balls that the Rams turned over.
What really hurt the visiting team, however, was free throw shooting. The Rams made 11 of 13 free throws in the first half and sent the Ladyjacks to the line just three times, where they made two shots.
English, slightly hindered by an ankle injury she suffered in the Rams’ game against Metro State, came at the Ladyjacks from every conceivable angle.
“Liz (English) was outstanding today,” Denker said. “She’s been a bit tentative at times, but today she was very aggressive. She was outstanding in transition.”
The fans got a scare in the second half when English began limping toward the sideline while dribbling the ball. It looked as if she was going to call a time-out to get her ankle checked out, but instead she turned and nailed a three-pointer much to the enthusiastic approval of the crowd.
Although her ankle is still giving her minor problems, English is confident she will be ready for the Rams’ first clash on the road, which is Thursday against Colorado in Boulder.
“I’m a little sore but I’ll be fine by Thursday,” she said.
The Rams’ starters caught the Ladyjacks flat-footed as four of them – Augspurger, English, Shannon Strecker and Joy Jenkins – finished the game with double digits in the scoring column. Starting guard Katie Borton ended up with eight points for the day.
English ended up one assist shy of a double-double, tallying 13 points and nine assists in her 28 minutes on the court. Augspurger led the team with 17 points, 15 of which came in the first half.
“It’s hard on us; we’re not used to losing,” SFA head coach Lee Ann Riley said. “When we play really good teams they’re just going to pick us apart.”
By the end of the game, the Ladyjacks were looking sloppy and obviously tired. The energy was sapped out of them by a CSU team that did not slow down the entire game.
“We didn’t do that great in the first half, shooting 43 percent,” Denker said. “But to come out and shoot 62 percent in the second half, I was impressed.”