The CSU women’s basketball team has something to cheer about after knocking off in-state rival Northern Colorado (3-3) 62-47 Saturday afternoon in Moby Arena.
The Rams (2-5) came into Saturday’s game on a three game losing streak, including a loss to Denver Wednesday night.
However, after a few days to work on some of the downfalls the Rams have been experiencing, head coach Kristen Holt had her team focused and determined to win.
“I thought this was going to be a closer game because Northern Colorado is a good team,” said coach Holt. “I thought or defense kept them in check with their three-pointers because they like to shoot threes.”
The Rams concluded the game with a 9-0 run, while allowing UNC to only score four points in the final eight minutes of play.
The Rams defense played an important role in the win by playing tight coverage on UNC’s offense. CSU allowed UNC to make just 18-59 of their shots and out-rebounded the Bears 51 to 34.
“That’s what happens when everyone plays defense,” said forward Juanise Cornell. “We stuck to the scouting report and we did what we were told to do, and that’s what really won the game for us.”
Cornell had a great night with 10 rebounds and 10 points, but Amaka Uzomah was the defensive ace with 18 total rebounds in 20 minutes of play, 12 of which were defensive.
“Amaka can do that every night if she really wanted to,” said Cornell.
“Coach got after me and told me she needs me in there to get the boards and not to settle for anything else,” said Uzomah.
The fans were really into the game during the second half, yelling at the refs and cheering the Rams to victory.
“I thought our crowd was awesome, and they probably want it more than us,” said coach Holt. “You could just really feel the energy out there.”
The Rams’ offense managed to nearly double their field goal percentage form the first half, shooting 30.6 percent from the field in the first half and a blistering 57.1 percent in the second.
Chatilla Van Grinsven was a big part of the offense with a career high 18 points along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
“I felt awesome and everything just felt good. The atmosphere was great,” said Van Grinsven
UNC went into the locker room at half time on a 6-0 run, tying the Rams at 26.
The first half was a back-and-forth game until CSU took control with an 11-0 run on the Bears at the 8-minute mark.
Freshman Kim Mestadgh had another great game with 10 points in her 24 minutes of play.
Senior captain Kandy Beemer had only three points and four assists Saturday afternoon, but was a huge part of the Rams defense, playing the three-point shooters closely at the line.
This Wednesday the Rams travel to Montana with some momentum to take on the 4-2 Grizzlies for their first road game since Nov. 19.
“It’s really good for our kids to reap the benefits of some of the stuff they’ve been putting in,” said coach Holt. “They have really been trying and working hard, and that’s why this win is huge. This program needs that, to experience as much success as possible. For us to win this game, it will give the team a tremendous boost of confidence.”
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Missoula.
Women’s basketball beat reporter Justin Warren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.