Rams end losing skid

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Dec 112003
 
Authors: Joelle Milholm

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

better.”

The Pioneers controlled the game in the first half,

out-rebounding the Rams 17-12 and ending the half with a 31-28

lead.

“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

12.3.

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

points.”

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

loss.

“It feels great,” Dennett said. “We hadn’t won in a while and it

feels great.”

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