Jan 212004
 
Authors: Joelle Milholm

Rebounding was a major factor in the CSU women’s basketball

team’s 55-51 loss to Utah on Saturday at Moby Arena, as the Rams

were out-rebounded 38-32 and 15-4 on offensive boards. This is a

problem the Rams will look to remedy when they head to Las Vegas

for their third Mountain West Conference contest of the year and

first against Nevada-Las Vegas.

“We have been working hard at practice and trying to get

better,” said sophomore point guard Vanessa Espinoza, who leads the

Rams in scoring with 12 points per game. “We have done a lot of

boxing out and rebounding drills, especially offensive rebounding.

We have got to rebound. That is what is going to win us games.”

CSU enters the game with a 10-5 overall record and 1-1 in the

MWC, whereas UNLV brings a 12-2 overall record and 1-0 in the MWC.

The Rams beat BYU 54-52 for their lone conference victory and the

Rebels beat San Diego State 76-58 on Saturday in their only

conference action. Senior Rebel guard Infini Robinson earned MWC

Player of the Week honors for her 24-point performance against the

Aztecs and made 6-of-7 3-pointers.

UNLV averages 42.6 rebounds and has maintained a league-best

plus-8.9 rebounding margin, thanks to junior center Sherry

McCracklin’s 12.2 rebounds per game. That mark is the best in the

MWC and second in the nation. McCracklin also averages 14.7 points

per game.

CSU’s sophomore rebounding duo of Melissa Dennett and Lindsay

Thomas will be McCracklin’s primary opposition as the two combine

for over 14 rebounds per game. Dennett is the only player in the

MWC to average more than 10 rebounds in MWC games.

“We just need to rebound. They are the best rebounding team in

the league and if we can out-rebound them, we have a good chance of

winning,” Dennett said. “My strategy is just to get as many

rebounds as I can.”

UNLV’s other weapon is the conference’s leading scorer, junior

forward RanDee Henry. Henry scores 18.6 points and pulls down 7.2

rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Sheena Moore balances out the

Rebels offense by contributing 14.9 points and 3.1 assists per

contest.

CSU will look to attack UNLV with a very balanced offense that

contains four players – Espinoza, Dennett, Thomas and Joy Jenkins –

that average 12 or more points per game.

The Rams will be hitting the road for the first time since Dec.

14 and are 3-0 in road games. CSU leads the Ram-Rebel all-time

series, winning 12 and only dropping 5, but UNLV has won the last

three decisions at home. After facing the Rebels, CSU will head to

California to take on San Diego State on Saturday.

“We are ready to play UNLV and San Diego State,” Espinoza said.

“We know these are must-win games.”

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