Over winter break, the CSU women’s basketball team went 2-4 while beginning their conference season 1-2. The two Mountain West Conference losses were the first games all season the Rams fell at home.
Following the Rams’ emotional win against CU-Boulder at home in December, they traveled to Greeley for a game against the UNC Bears, which they lost 65-56. Having not played in 10 days, the team appeared lethargic and lacked hustle. The Bears out-rebounded CSU 42-28, with 14 coming on the offensive end.
“They would get the (offensive) rebound after their shot,” Coach Kristen Holt said, “They came ready to play.”
Junior guard Sarah Hemmings, a Greeley native, made her first appearance of the season against the Bears, but a nose injury ended her night after just four minutes on the court.
CSU continued their road struggles at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, falling 70-58.
“(Our) team just has a different level of energy at home that they haven’t been able to conjure up on the road,” Holt said, “Corpus Christi played better. We were not mentally ready.”
The Islanders received a major spark from junior guard Jade Davis, who scored 32 points on 11 of 16 shooting, which included five of six from beyond the arc. The Rams fell behind early and were not able to mount enough of a comeback in the second half to overcome the deficit.
After two rough road outings, CSU returned to the friendly confines of Moby Arena to face the South Dakota Coyotes. The Rams scored a season-low 21 points in a sluggish first half, but were able to come out on top 52-47.
The Rams ended their non-conference schedule 8-5 en route to winning all of their non-conference home games for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
The Rams opened the Mountain West Conference portion of their schedule with a loss at home against Wyoming. CSU trailed 64-61 with five seconds remaining and sophomore Kim Mestdagh couldn’t connect on a three-pointer to send the game into overtime.
“It shouldn’t have come down to Kim (Mestdagh) making a last second shot,” sophomore Meghan Heimstra said. “We missed free throws and turned the ball over too much in the first half.”
CSU won their first conference game four days later in Air Force’s Clune Arena. Though the Rams went down 7-0 after four minutes, they were able to fight back and escape with a 74-68 win. Mestdagh, the MWC’s leading scorer at 16.6 points per game, put up 20 points for the seventh time this season. CSU had to sink free throws to secure their second road win of the season, as the Falcons trailed only by four with less than four seconds left.
Following a week off, CSU lost at home 67-58 to the BYU Cougars on Saturday afternoon. Though they hit their first three shots to open up a 9-0 lead, the Rams committed 11 turnovers and were down 38-25 at halftime.
“Getting off to a great start was a positive for us,” Holt said, “We’re eventually going to get better.”
Even with trailing by as many as 19, CSU battled to within nine with 2:23 left to play. However the Cougars were able to right the ship, sink free throws, and pull out the win.
Heimstra scored 19 points to tie her career high and collected 8 rebounds.
“I’m pretty optimistic about where we are,” Holt said. “At one point in the season, we’re just gonna hit.”
CSU travels to UNLV on Wednesday. Tip off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Women’s basketball beat reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.