Rams lose in Salt Lake City

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Mar 022011
 
Authors: David de Besche

The CSU women’s basketball team lost a last minute heartbreaker Wednesday night in a game that had conference tournament implications.

In Salt Lake City, the Rams (13-15, 6-9) fell to the Utah Utes in a game that came down to the wire, 61-59. The frustrating loss knocks CSU out of contention for fourth place in the Mountain West with the conference tournament right around the corner.

“It is disappointing, it was a game we had in our grasps,” senior Bonnie Barbee said.

The first half went decidedly in the favor of the Utes (14-15, 7-8) who jumped out to a commanding 36-26 lead in the opening stanza. Utah’s conference-leading scorer, sophomore Iwalani Rodrigues, came out firing from beyond the arc, hitting four three’s and accounting for 14 points.

“We didn’t play great on either end of the court, offensively or defensively,” Barbee said.

Rodrigues ended with a game-high 23 points, hitting 6-of-10 shots from three-point land against a below average defensive outing for the Rams.

“(Rodrigues) had a great game,” junior Kim Mestdagh said.

The second half started with much of the same with the Utes jumping out to a 13-point lead with 16 minutes to play.
Mestdagh then took over, scoring all 22 of her points in a thirteen-minute span to get the Rams back into the game, trimming the deficit to 58-53 with two minutes left.

“We wouldn’t have been in the position to win the game if (Mestdagh) didn’t do what she did,” Holt said. “She put the team on her back.”

With nine seconds left CSU freshman Sam Martin put the Rams up by one point off a Mestdagh steal. But Utah’s Rodrigues iced the game hitting clutch free throws near the end to seal a 61-59 win for the Utes.

Mestdagh carried the Rams offensively while also accounting for nine rebounds and six assists. Barbee had a solid night as well, notching 11 points and five assists.

“(Barbee) did a nice job, she has been shooting it well,” Holt said

The Rams will head home for the regular season finale against San Diego State on Saturday. After being physically dominated by the Utes, Holt will look for a tougher effort by her team this weekend.

“We got shoved and pushed around a lot,” Holt said.

With the conference tournament coming up, the Rams have no time to mull over the loss.

“We have to bounce back,” Holt said. “There isn’t enough time left in the season.”

Women’s basketball Beat Reporter David de Besche can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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