In its first appearance in the 2003-04 basketball season, the
Colorado State women’s basketball team shined in a 84-64
international victory against Sparta Praha of the Czech
“It wasn’t bad for our first game,” CSU head coach Chris Denker
said. “I was really happy with our ability to move the ball.”
Sophomores Vanessa Espinoza and Melissa Dennett led the Rams
with 14 points each. Taking on the starting point guard position,
Espinoza also had five assists and six steals.
The Rams began to break away with eight minutes left in the
first half when they went on a 12-point scoring run to regain the
lead at 27-18. Sparta got into foul trouble early, sending the Rams
into the bonus with 8:35 left in the first half. They went on to
get 11 fouls in the first half and 25 in the game.
CSU capitalized on Sparta’s fouls by making12 of 13 free throws
and took a 40-28 lead into halftime. The Rams started the second
half right where they left off and increased their lead to 25
points with nine minutes left in the second half.
Sparta was heavily plagued by turnovers and lost the ball 29
times, while the Rams only lost possession 16 times. The Rams
caused most of the turnovers by racking up 17 steals.
“There are a lot of things we need to work on, but we limited
our turnovers by only having five in the first half out of 51
possessions,” Espinoza said. “We passed the ball really well, but
we missed a lot of layups and our rebounding wasn’t the best.”
Sophomore forward Melissa Dennett was an animal on the boards,
leading the Rams with 11 rebounds, six of which were offensive.
Sparta out-rebounded the Rams overall by pulling down 55 balls, 12
more than CSU.
“We had thought this was going to be a good rebounding team,”
Denker said. “They out-rebounded us and we need to work on
Milena Steffanova led Sparta in scoring with 16 points and also
grabbed seven rebounds. The Rams out-shot Sparta by hitting 40.3
percent of their shots compared to Sparta’s 33.3 field goal
Senior forward Joy Jenkins came in strong off the bench to add
points and three pointers for the Rams. Jenkins, who according to
Denker would normally start, was cleared to play for the first time
on Wednesday after sitting out eight practices with a
Even though the Rams have a young team, with three sophomores
and one freshman starting, Jenkins is encouraged by the team’s
“For an opening game with a lot of young players, we did really