Feb 102004
 
Authors: Katrice Thomas

File under Sports/basketball

The CSU women’s basketball team will have its second shot at the conference-leading Utah Utes tonight at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. The last time the teams met, they gave the sports world something to talk about. The Rams battled the Utes shot for shot, right down to the last 29 seconds of the game. CSU put up a fight but couldn’t put up enough points to knock off the Utes.

“This game is probably one of the most important games this season” said sophomore guard Vanessa Espinoza.

The first game between the two, a 55-51 Utah victory at Moby Arena, seemed to give Utah momentum for its season. The Utes took that exhilarating Mountain West Conference game opener and ran with it. Behind the play of MWC athlete of the week and All-American candidate Kim Smith, the Utes have been virtually unstoppable, especially on their court, where they hold a 25-4 advantage over CSU.

“Getting a win on their floor is going to be hard,” said senior forward Joy Jenkins. “They have a 24 home-game winning streak, but we just need to go in there and do the little things, and hopefully we can come out of there with a win.”

According to head coach Chris Denker, the 24-game home winning streak is the second longest streak in the country.

“No one expects us to win,” Denker said. “We’re just going to use that to our advantage. It’s up to them to hold home-court advantage. We think that we’re a very capable team, and we’re going to go in there and play good basketball.”

The Rams recent action included convincing wins over New Mexico and Air Force, while Utah served Nevada-Las Vegas a devastating loss this past weekend. With revenge in their eyes, the Rams will try to take back what they lost in the opening game against Utah.

“I’m not going to lie, that loss still haunts us,” Espinoza said. “With that loss, we lost some of our enthusiasm. But the last couple of weeks we’ve been picking each other up, and complimenting each other, and that has made it easier to practice hard and play hard.”

The Rams have had their time to reflect and regroup before heading off to Utah. The boxing gloves are on, and the stage is set in Salt Lake City. Tip off is at 7 p.m., and the game should be a knockout.

Probable Starting Line-Up

RAMS

No. Player Position Height

5 Vanessa Espinoza g 5-4

11 Jasai Ferrucho g 5-7

32 Joy Jenkins f 6-3

33 Melissa Dennett f 6-3

45 Lindsay Thomas c 6-2

UTES

No. Player Position Height

10 Shona Thourburn g 5-10

14 Kelsey Stireman g 5-7

4 Kim Smith f 6-1

45 Carley Marshall f 6-2

30 Mandie Little c 6-0

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