Dec 052004
Authors: Bob Fernandez

The CSU women's basketball team pounded the Texas-Pan American Lady Broncos 77-36 Saturday. The Rams (5-1) held the Lady Broncos (3-4) to 27.7 percent shooting, while shooting 43.5 percent themselves. CSU forced 35 Lady Bronc turnovers and out-rebounded them 45-30.

The win was the second largest of the season for the Rams and UTPA's 36 points is the fifth lowest points allowed in CSU history. While the numbers were impressive, CSU head coach Chris Denker said he was disappointed with the Rams' sloppy play on offense, which led to 20 turnovers.

"We didn't play as well as we would like," Denker said. "We scored 77 (points), and I didn't feel like that was enough or up to our standards. We shot a very low percentage on what I would consider good shots."

Junior guard Vanessa Espinoza also expressed displeasure with the Rams' struggles on offense.

"We weren't in rhythm," Espinoza said. "(We were) a little out of sync. This was not CSU basketball."

Denker credited the win to Rams' aggressive defense. The Rams' ability to stop the Lady Broncs allowed CSU to manufacture three, 14-0 runs. The largest CSU run prior to this game was a 12-0 run they engineered in a 108-59 victory against Iona on Nov. 26.

"Our defense was really good, and that seemed to generate some runs," Denker said.

The Rams got a game-high 16 points from junior center Lindsay Thomas, who also had six rebounds, a steal and a block. Espinoza had 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and was tied with sophomore guards Annika Walseth and Liz Kramer for a team-high three steals. Junior forward Melissa Dennett chipped in with 13 points and seven boards.

The Lady Broncs were led by freshman guard Kathy Guin, who had 11 points and five rebounds.

Sophomore guard/forward Kylee O'Dwyer had perhaps her best offensive performance of the season in 15 minutes of play on Saturday. O'Dwyer came off the bench to record a season-high nine points, four assists and four rebounds, with two of them being offensive.

Denker said that O'Dwyer had been struggling offensively prior to Saturday's game, and he and O'Dwyer had a one-on-one conversation about it in the days leading up to the game.

"She wasn't playing as well as I would like," Denker said. "(She needs) to be a little more aggressive, a little more assertive looking for her shots."

O'Dwyer said that the conversation was an attempt to relieve frustration from both herself and Denker.

"He knew I was frustrated and I knew he was frustrated," O'Dwyer said. "I wasn't playing as well as I wanted to be and (Denker) wanted me to be. My offense was just struggling."

Although O'Dwyer's offense had been below par prior to Saturday's game, Denker said that her defense hasn't been a problem. O'Dwyer often receives some of the highest grades on defense, Denker said, according to a grading system that the coaching staff implements.

"I've been really happy with her defense," Denker said. "She's graded in as one of our better defenders game in, game out."

O'Dwyer will have the opportunity to continue making strides, and the team will have the chance to sharpen its offense when the Rams play the Colorado Buffaloes Wednesday in Boulder. CSU will enter the game with a 0-1 road record this season, and the Buffs enter the game with a 2-2 home record.

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