Mar 052006
 
Authors: Stacey Zynen

The game that would predict CSU's standings for the Mountain West Tournament turned out to be an upsetting loss to the Air Force Falcons on Saturday afternoon in Colorado Springs. After playing what the team believed to be their best basketball in the two most recent games, the Rams fell 79-65 to the Falcons (13-14, 4-12 in MWC).

Now ranked No. 8 out of nine teams in the conference, the only team under CSU is San Diego State, who the Rams are scheduled to play Tuesday in the first round of the MWC Tournament in Denver.

Like many games this season, the Rams (8-19, 2-14 MWC) came out hard and quick against the Falcons, taking a 7-3 lead four minutes into the game. But the familiar pattern took its toll as the Rams slowly let Air Force catch up and eventually take the lead, never giving it back up.

"I don't know what to say," said senior forward Lindsay Thomas after the loss. "I really believed we were going to come out and play hard. This was just unacceptable."

Thomas showed her full potential on the court leading all scorers with 20 points, marking her highest scoring game of the season and setting a personal career-high against a conference opponent. She also grabbed eight rebounds.

While the Rams were steady in some aspects of the game they dominated in others.

"We gave up 21 turnovers and 20 offensive rebounds," said head coach Jen Warden. "You have to be almost perfect everywhere else when you do that and we weren't. They just outworked us."

Air Force scored 30 points off CSU turnovers alone and another 30 off the offensive rebounds.

The Rams came within one point of the Falcons lead after a 6-0 run in the first half, but it wasn't enough to put them back on top. Air Force fought back with a 13-4 scoring streak sparked by Falcon guard Letricia Castillo who scored her first of three baskets from beyond the arc, sending the teams into halftime with a score of 37-32. Castillo led her team with 17 points for the night.

Despite a hard effort at the beginning of the second half, the Falcons took a 9-0 run to put the score at 72-59 with a little less than three minutes left in the game, sealing the Falcon victory.

Senior Melissa Dennett recorded a double double on the night with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Rams, including four blocks. Junior guard Molly Nohr had a team-high five assists as well as 15 points.

"The best thing we can do now is to own up to our mistakes and do something about them," Thomas said. "We felt like we were playing well the last two games. Now we have to start over."

CSU

Dennett 26 3-9 10 1 11 Thomas 27 7-10 8 1 20 Hunter 40 3-8 1 1 9 Espinoza 31 2-8 2 4 7 Nohr 39 5-12 6 5 15 Square 1 0-0 0 0 0 Kramer 9 0-1 1 0 0 Moulton 27 1-5 10 1 3

Air Force

Findlay 34 4-7 7 5 13 Steele 34 3-12 10 0 8 Jaeschke 16 2-7 5 1 6 Castillo 32 6-12 4 2 17 Henderson 36 1-3 1 3 10 Davis 7 1-4 0 1 4 Higginbotham 9 1-2 1 0 6 Cultra 8 2-5 2 1 6 Novak 24 3-9 4 0 9

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