DENVER – Sophomore forward Melissa Dennett abruptly put a stop
to the Rams three-game losing streak by scoring a game- and
career-high 24 points as the CSU women’s basketball team beat the
University of Denver 80-63 Thursday.
“(Dennett) was huge,” CSU head coach Chris Denker said. “For
whatever reason the light went on after the Oregon game and in
practice she started expanding her game.”
Dennett ruled the real estate under the basket not only with her
scoring but also with her five rebounds. Dennett watched the last
four minutes and 30 seconds from the bench after committing her
fifth foul and fouling out of the game.
“I have been learning some new moves and working hard at
practice,” Dennett said. “The coaches are really hard on the posts
at practice, but I think all of the posts are doing much
The Pioneers controlled the game in the first half,
out-rebounding the Rams 17-12 and ending the half with a 31-28
“In the first half we struggled with rebounding and in the
second half we stepped it up,” Dennett said. “We got on a lot of
runs offensively and I think rebounding gave us that boost.”
Unimpressed with the slow start, Denker said he kept his
halftime speech simple.
“We aren’t doing any of the things we set out to do,” Denker
said he told the team. “They are out-rebounding us; we have
careless turnovers and breakdowns on defense. Either go out and do
it or go out and lose.”
The speech turned out to be very effective as the Rams regained
the lead in the second half when Dennett scored nine points in the
first four minutes, making the score 42-35. Senior forward Joy
Jenkins also added to the scoring frenzy by scoring five points
during the Ram run. Jenkins finished the night with 10 points,
eight rebounds and two steals.
Denver kept the game close in the first 10 minutes of the second
half by hitting five 3-pointers in the half, two of which came from
junior guard Tasha Jones. Jones was the Pioneer’s leading scorer
with 21 points, almost 10 higher than her season average of
Denker changed the starting lineup for the first time all
season, putting freshman Annika Walseth on the court instead of
sophomore guard Vanessa Espinoza.
“I wanted to see us a little more fluid offensively,” Denker
said. “Vanessa did well and came in big off the bench to give us 13
Senior guard Jasai Ferrucho was forced to leave the game with an
ankle injury early in the first half, forcing freshmen Sarah Brown
and Molly Nohr to step in. Brown played 19 minutes with four
points, two rebounds and two steals.
“Sara Brown gave us some really big minutes,” Denker said.
Fellow freshman Kylee O’Dwyer led the youngsters with 13 points
and also grabbed four rebounds. With the win, the Rams improve to
4-3 on the year and Denver falls to 3-2 with its second straight
“It feels great,” Dennett said. “We hadn’t won in a while and it