“This game honors toughness.”
Those were the words CSU women’s basketball coach Jen Warden told her team in the locker room before Tuesday night’s game against Pacific University.
CSU (2-7) earned its second win of the season, 84-77 at Moby Arena against the Pacific Tigers (3-4) before a crowd of just more than 1,000.
Guards Sara Hunter and Kandy Beemer, who each did significant damage from the 3-point line led the Rams offensively.
Hunter was the game’s most valuable player with 21 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals, but Beemer gave Hunter’s MVP honor a run for its money as her 18 points came almost exclusively from behind the arc, hitting 5 of 8 including an emotional 4-point play in front of the CSU bench.
“It’s great to see Kandy get hot.” Hunter said, “It’s huge for our entire team when we can shoot well from the perimeter and Kandy really helped with that tonight.”
The game had only two lead changes, both of which came early in the first half. Hunter’s lay-up at the 17:42 mark, breaking the 5-5 tie, was the closest Pacific got to having a taste of their first ever win at Moby.
With a 12-point lead at halftime in for the Rams, Pacific came out of the gates firing as Jake Kelly nailed the Tigers’ first shot of the second half, a 3-pointer, which sparked a sox-point rally in favor of Pacific, but CSU answered with efficient play from the low post by Carine Reimink and Juanise Cornell.
The Rams’ second half lead grew as large as 20 points, but Pacific refused to go quietly into the night, taking advantage of CSU turnovers.
“I told the girls in a timeout that it’s much easier to play down by 20 than it is up by 20,” Warden said. “Then I told them this is not going to be the only time we’re up by 20 this season so we better hold on to this.”
Hold on to the lead is exactly what CSU did, winning the free throw battle down the stretch to claim the seven-point win and its second victory of the season.
Women’s Bball Beat Reporter Matt Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.