Tuesday night the CSU women’s basketball team won its second Mountain West Conference game in Colorado Springs, Colo., against the Air Force Academy Falcons (4-12, 0-5 MWC) and improved its record to 7-11 on the season.
“I am really happy with where we are at,” said head coach Kristen Holt. “To be 2-3 in the league is really big.”
The Rams played great defense all night, lead by Juanise Cornell and Amaka Uzomah, who combined for 22 rebounds.
Cornell also had a big night on offense, scoring a career-high 19 points.
“I was feeling it a little tonight,” said Cornell. “I just tried to let the game come to me tonight.”
Coach Holt agreed with the forward.
“She (Cornell) was tremendous,” said coach Holt. “She was all over the place and finishing shots.”
Air Force tried to post a comeback in the final minutes, as they got to within three points of the Rams after a wild three-point shot by Kim Kreke, who finished the night with 11 points.
However, the Ram’s Zoi Simmons sank four consecutive free throws in 14 seconds of play to seal the victory. Simmons also ended the night with 14 total points.
“When I go through pressure it doesn’t really bother me,” said Simmons. “We shoot so many free throws in practice and I was very confident.”
The Falcons also came to within one point after a 10-0 run in the course of three minutes in the second half.
However, the Rams negated the Falcons’ run with a 9-0 run of their own that was sparked by Cornell, putting CSU up 47-37 with five minutes remaining.
“We always make things a little exciting,” said coach Holt. “I thought our energy and effort was a lot more like what we had against UNLV.”
The Rams came out in the second half scoring the first points on a Kandy Beemer three-point shot. However, Air Force countered Beemer’s three with a 7-0 run, pulling the Falcons to within five points.
The Rams entered the locker room after the first half with a 27-18 lead after holding the Falcons’ offense to two points in the final eight minutes.
The Rams began the game with a 13-11 lead with around 13 minutes left in the half, and continued their strong play with a 14-7 run before the end of the half.
The victory puts the Rams already five wins better than last year’s season, which has excited coach Holt and the entire CSU women’s team.
The Rams return to Moby Arena this Saturday for the Border War game against MWC rival Wyoming (8-8, 0-3 MWC).
Coach Holt and the Rams will be looking for back-to-back conference wins against the Cowgirls.
“Based on what we did at UNLV, I really thought that would carry into Utah and it did not,” said coach Holt. “It would be awesome if we could string two together.”
Women’s basketball beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.