The New Mexico Lobos ended the CSU womenâ€™s basketball teamâ€™s conference tournament for the third year in a row, defeating the Rams 67-54 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
CSU finished the season on a five-game losing streak and were outscored by 14.2 points per game.
The Rams pulled within two points on a three-pointer by sophomore Kim Mestdagh, with 6:41 remaining, but didnâ€™t score the rest of the way as New Mexico closed the game with a 13-0 run.
â€œWe had a couple of turnovers that werenâ€™t good,â€ said head coach Kristen Holt, â€œBut really it was just not making the shots we needed to make at key points in the game.â€
CSU missed its last seven field goals of the contest and committed five turnovers in that span.
First team All-Mountain West Conference guard Amy Beggin lived up to the billing, scoring 18 points while dishing out four assists and playing all 40 minutes in the game. Lobo sophomore guard Sarah Halasz tied a career-high with 20 points on four of six shooting from three-point land.
â€œShe has the ability to shoot the three, but typically, thatâ€™s not what sheâ€™s great at,â€ Holt said.
New Mexico led by seven at halftime, but that lead ballooned to 13 after Halasz and senior forward Eileen Weissmann hit back-to-back three-pointers.
At one point during the second half, the Rams trailed by as many as 14, but they battled back until the teamâ€™s shooting went ice cold.
â€œ(New Mexico) got some wide open threes,â€ sophomore Meghan Heimstra said. â€œTheyâ€™re a good shooting team, and theyâ€™re going to make those if you give them to them.â€
The loss drops CSU to 13-17 on the year with a 5-9 record in conference. Despite the five game slide to finish it off, the team looked back on the season with a positive light.
â€œWe definitely made some improvement,â€ Mestdagh said after the game. â€œIâ€™m really proud of what we did this year.â€
Heimstra echoed Mestaughâ€™s statement.
â€œWe donâ€™t have that losing mentality anymore,â€ Heimstra said. â€œI think thatâ€™s a barrier we really needed to break.â€
Both players and coaches look forward to next year with a sense of hope and optimism.
â€œHopefully weâ€™ll look to go deeper into the conference tournament,â€ Holt said.
The team will return all players from this season and will add a freshman class of five, so expectations will certainly be higher next year.
â€œWe need to take what we learned this year and work really hard in the spring and summer,â€ Heimstra said.
Womenâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Mexico 67, CSU 54