There’s no other way of putting it, right now is simply not a good time for CSU women’s basketball ,as the Rams fell 56-43 Wednesday night to the Air Force Falcons in Moby Arena. Whether it was poor shooting, turnovers or the shocking 39-minute absence of Sara Hunter, CSU lost a game no one in Ram Country saw coming.
From the opening tip, won by Air Force, to the final buzzer, the closest CSU came in this game was the 0-0 tie, as the Falcons wasted no time getting on the board with a Jamie Davis 3-pointer 10 seconds into the contest. CSU did not score until Britney Minor made a circus shot five minutes into the game, but by that time Air Force already led by 13.
“We shouldn’t lose to a team ranked below us,” said sophomore Juanise Cornell, who recorded her fourth double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, “Not to discredit Air Force, they have good coaches and good players, I just think we’re the better team; we have got to win.”
Once again, CSU’s main Achilles heel was its inability to penetrate to the basket, as the Rams were 16-63 from the field and shot only eight free throws on the night. Other than for Cornell, the rim had a lid on it when lay-ups came its way.
“I’ve never been part of a basketball game where the team with 19 offensive rebounds didn’t win,” head coach Jen Warden said. “I mean at some point you have got to get the ball to the basket. Fifty-seven points is not too much to ask.”
While the offense was lacking, the defense stepped up to a new level, causing 18 turnovers, including four blocks and seven steals. Much credit of this new-found level of defense is to be given to the rising presence of junior forward Amaka Uzomah, who has 26 rebounds in the past three games, nine coming Wednesday night. Her size and strength has given the opportunity for other Rams to increase their rebounding totals, as Uzomah has no problem boxing out opponents.
“When sitting out for so long, my heart for basketball has been burning, and when I step on the floor I take it seriously, I don’t back down.” Uzomah said. “You can see me getting mad and yelling and pissed off a couple of times, but that’s me-I hate to lose.”
Losing is what the Rams have now done for eight consecutive games. But another loss Wednesday was the apprehension of 1,061 fans in attendance, as Sara Hunter played a career-low 11 minutes, going scoreless for only the fifth time in her career and for the first time since her sophomore year against UNLV (67 games). There were two stints when the healthy Hunter was off the court for more than 10 minutes.
“Zoi (Simmons) has really been producing well at the point in practice and as you can see Kandy (Beemer) and Bonnie (Barbie) have really locked down the two guard position,” Warden said. “With Sara we’ve seen her shooting percentage go down, her production go down and she’s got to get out of her comfort zone and produce as a senior.”
Virginia, one of these if you can. It’s up to you how you want it to look. And if you don’t have enough room for the story, cut some quotes.
Sports writer Matt L. Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.