Mar 222004
 
Authors: Justin Goldman

Former CSU star Becky Hammon gave a big boost to the Colorado

Chill in her first game of the season Sunday, and she helped the

Chill clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Despite being down by nine points early in the first half, the

Chill came back to defeat the Birmingham Power 70-66 in front of

2,191 fans at the Budweiser Events Center.

Hammond returned from an Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear in her

knee that she suffered in a Women’s National Basketball Association

game just before the league’s All-Star game. She had missed nine

months of action before practicing with the Chill for the previous

two weeks.

“I have worked hard to this point and the knee feels great,”

Hammond said, according to a Chill news release. “The New York

Liberty has provided me the best care and therapy to come back from

this type of injury.”

Hammond retuned to action four minutes into the game, scoring16

points, going 5-for-9 from the field and hitting all four of her

3-point attempts. Katie Cronin, another former Ram, also finished

with 16 points for the Chill, which raised its record to 14-6.

The win not only pushed the team’s home winning streak to 11 but

also secured a first-round bye in the National Women’s Basketball

League 2004 Pro Cup Playoffs, which start on Tuesday in Dallas,

Texas. Hammond’s return could be a much-needed lift as the Chill

prepare for the team’s final home and regular season game.

“It is a dream come true to have her back,” said Chill owner

Dave King. “Many of our decisions were based on Becky and her

abilities on and off the court. It will be exciting to have her on

the court, especially with a regular season title on the line.”

The Chill concludes its regular season tonight against the

Chicago Blaze at 7 p.m. at the Bud Barn. The team has the

opportunity to clinch a perfect home record and the regular season

title.

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