At first glance, the CSU Women’s Basketball team seemed to have had a less than perfect season. In fact, it was almost completely imperfect.
When the Rams traveled to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference Championship Tournament, they had a record of 2-27. But after arriving in Sin City, they quickly left their mark on women’s basketball history.
Following their 68-49 upset of Nevada-Las Vegas in the play-in round, the Rams advanced to face the then No. 12 ranked Utah Utes in what seemed to be a David and Goliath match-up.
“They went into the game with a nothing-to-lose mentality,” coach Kristen Holt said of her players. “We knew this was a team we could beat, we played them at home and kept it close.”
Combining stellar defense and great shooting, the Rams battled in the first half to make the score 32-30, Utah. Described by Holt as “the look in our kids’ eyes,” the intensity of the Rams seemed to be the final nail in the tournament coffin for Utah, as CSU took the lead with 8:55 left on the clock and never gave it back, finishing off a 60-52 upset.
Forward Amaka Uzomah led the Ram’s defense with 10 defensive rebounds, while guard Emily Neal led the offense with 17 points. Undefeated in conference play, the Utes were out rebounded 42-30 by a team that was 0-16 in conference play.
“As a coach you see a lot of things happen, you can never chalk-up a win until the final buzzer goes off,” Holt said, “but we knew under two minutes.”
With one of the greatest upsets in recent women’s basketball history, Holt described her feelings in one simple word — “Awesome.”
Sportswriter Keith Robertson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.