The CSU women’s basketball team put on a show Friday night at Moby Arena in front of 1,054 fans for a Halloween win over the Adams State Grizzlies 59-58.
With nine seconds left in the game, CSU’s Kim Mestdagh rebounded a missed free throw attempt by Adams State’s Jocelyn Pardilla and hit sophomore point guard Zoi Simmons on a pass to the inside for the winning layup at the buzzer.
“I knew just to go for it and hope for a foul,” said Simmons.
In the final two minutes of play the Rams began their 12-2 winning run with sophomore Bonnie Barbee’s back-to-back three-pointers and Juanise Cornell’s layup with 10 seconds left on the clock to pull the Rams within one point.
“I don’t think we ever panicked,” said Cornell. “No one ever flinched and we still believed that we could win this game.”
Friday night marked the first win for new head coach Kristen Holt.
“That is a huge win for use and the fact they did not give up says a lot,” said Coach Holt. “We have many things to work on but this is a good building block for us.”
The first half of play was mocked by turnovers on both sides of the court and poor shooting with the Rams sinking only 32.1 percent of their shots and Adams State shooting 33.3 percent from the field.
“I think it was nerves,” said senior captain Kandy Beemer. “It was good that we got it out now in the first game.”
During the second half it was apparent the first-game jitters were gone for both teams, with less turnovers and more scoring.
Adams State took control early in the second half, taking a two-point lead with 7:08 left on the clock and not relinquishing that lead until the final seconds.
Bonnie Barbee led the Rams in scoring with a total of 17 points and was a major contributor in the Rams come-from-behind win.
“Honestly I was just hoping (the three-pointers) were going to go in,” said Barbee. “I just got lucky.”
On the other side of the court, Adams State’s Ver Jo Bustos was hard to stop for the Rams defense; scoring a game high 26 points for the Grizzles and adding to an 8-0 run that put her team up by four with 6:40 left in the game.
“She was good, with a really fast release, and she hit shots that were right in our face,” said Cornell.
Adams State, who finished last season at 16-12 in Division II play, was tough competition for the Rams in their first exhibition game.
“They are a very good team and sometime they would out- quick us,” said Coach Holt. “The fact they had 26 turnovers, I think, helped us win.”
The Rams will be off until next Friday when they host Colorado Christian in the second and final exhibition game of the season.
Women’s basketball beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at email@example.com.