The Portland Pilots crashed and burned in Moby Arena Sunday when the CSU women's basketball team beat the team 70-58, improving their record to 4-1 for the season.
The Rams came out with a quick eight-point lead in the first two minutes and kept it through the entire game, denying the Pilots a basket for the first six minutes. After CSU gained an 18-point lead, it was clear the Pilots would not come back.
"We were prepared for this game, but it wasn't as consistent as we usually are. We are still in a developmental level," said head coach Jen Warden. "Vanessa Espinoza came out again with great leadership on the court, and that helped us win this game."
Espinoza had a game-high 19 points, shooting four of seven from the three-point line.
"Every game is an improvement for us." Espinoza said. "Playing against their defense was good experience and we will only get better."
While the Rams stuck with their man-to-man defense, Portland came out in a 2-3-zone and played it the whole game, something the CSU women's team has not had to face.
"Whenever you have to face a zone for 40 minutes, you'll find a challenge," Warden said. "This was a good strategy on Portland's part."
Senior captain Lindsay Thomas, who contributed 14 points and seven rebounds, agreed.
"We've never had to play against a zone, so playing against it for a whole game was difficult," Thomas said. "We are getting better every game. We focused on being intense for this game and I think at times we really showed that."
Melissa Dennett had a game-high 11 rebounds, adding 13 points and hitting all five of her free throw attempts, two of which resulted in three-point plays.
"They sink in and collapsed on the ball every time I got it. The three-point plays improve the energy and intensity on the court," Dennett said.
The Rams hit the road for the first time this season Wednesday when they face DU in Denver.
"I am excited to play away from home. Denver will be another in-state rival and we want to show the state of Colorado we're here to be the best. We need to rest up and rejuvenate for the games up ahead," Warden said. "One thing is for sure, Colorado State got better this week."