The Colorado State women’s basketball team entered a match up
with New Mexico as one of the hottest teams in the Mountain West
Conference. The only problem, the Lobos have been even hotter and
were putting their seven-game winning streak on the line in front
of 17,472 fans at The Pit in Albuquerque.
The last victory for the Rams at UNM was in 1998 and the curse
of The Pit continued, as the Rams fell to New Mexico 59-52. The
loss secures the number four-seed for the Rams (17-10 overall, 8-6
in MWC) in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, which begins
Wednesday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
New Mexico (20-7, 12-2) meanwhile, won a share of the
conference’s regular-season title and the tournament’s top
“I’m really proud of the kids for the way they played,” Head
Coach Chris Denker said in a press release. “The atmosphere here
was amazing with 17,000 fans and we controlled that atmosphere the
The match was a scorcher as the teams fought fire with fire. New
Mexico jumped out to an 8-2 lead three minutes into the game before
the Rams battled back taking a 10-8 lead.
The two teams traded blows over the next eight minutes before
the Lobos hot shooting went ice cold.
They hit just one field goal in the final 9:19 of the first
half, while CSU senior forward Joy Jenkins scored 13 straight, to
help the Rams outscore New Mexico 14-2 and head to halftime with a
The Lobos relit their flame and the battle continued in the
second half. UNM sophomore Abbie Letz helped the Lobos finally
break through with a rally late in the game.
The Rams lead was 47-41 at the 5:10 mark, when Letz knocked down
back-to-back 3s to tie the game. Following a bucket by Melissa
Forest, Letz scored again to give UNM a 51-47 lead with 2:48 to
“Our defense was really solid all game long,” Denker said. “We
only broke down defensively three times, Letz’ two 3-pointers and a
Colorado State cut the lead to three twice in the final minute
of play, but New Mexico went 8-for-8 from the free-throw stripe to
secure the victory. Even with the loss the Rams coach commended his
“We outrebounded this team by 10 and I’m really pleased with how
our team is playing right now,” Denker said.
Melissa Dennett led the Rams with 17 points, Jenkins added 14,
and Vanessa Espinoza chipped in 11.
Senior Jasai Ferrucho broke Erin Thorn’s (formerly of Brigham
Young) MWC record for assists in a conference season. She ended the
league season with 53 assists, breaking the previous record of
New Mexico had four players top double digits in scoring. Forest
led the Lobos with 20 points and 12 rebounds, Letz scored 14 and
juniors Lindsey Arndt and Mandi Moore chipped in 10.
UNM opens tournament play against eighth-seeded Air Force at the
Pepsi Center and Colorado State will face Wyoming in the first
round on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.