Chillin’ into the finals

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Mar 312004
 
Authors: Joelle Milholm

The dynamic duo of CSU graduates Becky Hammon and Katie Cronin

helped the Colorado Chill inch one step closer to giving their

fairytale season a fairytale ending, as the Chill defeated the

Chicago Blaze 91-78 to advance to the National Women’s Basketball

League Pro Cup Championship.

After finishing the season undefeated at home, clinching the No.

1 seed in the playoffs, and securing a first round bye, the Chill

moved on without many problems and will now play for the NWBL title

on at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

“There was energy on the floor,” said Dave King, general manager

and owner of the Chill in a 1570 Smartalk radio interview. “Katie

Cronin had the game of her life. The Katie-Becky combo was

definitely there.”

Playing in only her third game in a Chill uniform after sitting

out most of the season recovering from injuries, Becky Hammon

scored 28 points ranging from drives down the lane to 3-pointers in

Wednesday’s semifinal and Cronin pulled down 13 rebounds and added

14 points off the bench.

“She is so good on the dribble penetration. There is no one like

her,” said Chill head coach Jade Strohm in a 1570 radio

interview.

Using a seven-player rotation, Colorado’s defense produced 10

second-half turnovers. That, along with great shot selection,

sealed the win. Six of the seven players hit double figures.

“These ladies are unbelievably conditioned and they are not

going to let a little fatigue slow them down,” Strohm said.

Despite a slow start, the Chill held on to a 44-41 lead at

halftime, but came out firing in the second half. After hitting 63

percent of their shots in the first five minutes of the second

half, Colorado earned a consistent lead that never dropped below

six points for the remainder of the game.

Chicago came out shooting hot, but missed more shots as the game

went on. The Chill held Tamika Catchings (a WNBA all-star) to 16

points and 5-of-16 shooting from the field. The Blaze managed to

stay in the game by consistently getting second chances to score,

grabbing 22 offensive rebounds.

“We couldn’t rebound if we wanted to in there,” Strohm said.

The Chill now awaits the winner of the late Dallas Fury-Houston

Stealth game, as its next opponent in the NWBL championship game.

The game will take place at 6:30 tonight at the University of Texas

at Dallas

“It is going to be a battle, Strohm said. “Either team is going

to present match-up problems for us.”

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