Rams buck Cowboys at home

Jan 302005
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

Stars of the box: Wyoming Ashley Elliott, 28 points; CSU Melissa Dennett, 22 points

Wyoming 51, Colorado State 61

Wyoming 31 20 51

Colorado State 33 28 61

Wyoming – Sisk 0, 0-0, 0; Zaveck 3, 0-0, 8; Lenhardt 1, 0-0, 3; Hicks 1, 0-0, 3; Elliott 9, 5-7, 28; Bolderjack 1, 0-1, 3; Lapar 0, 2-2, 2; Ewing 2, 0-2, 4l Hippen 0, 0-0, 0. Totals 17, 7-12, 51.

Colorado State – Dennett 9, 4-6, 22; Thomas 3, 0-0, 6; Espinoza 2, 3-4, 8; Nohr 1, 1-2, 3; Walseth 0, 4-4, 4; Hunter 4, 0-0, 12; Kramer 0, 0-0, 0; O'Dwyer 1, 2-2, 4; Tor-Agbidye 1, 0-0, 2; Moulton 0, 0-0, 0. Totals 21, 14-18, 61.

Rebounds – Wyoming 31 (Elliott 7); Colorado State 42 (Espinoza 10). 3-point baskets – Wyoming 10-41 (Elliott 5-13); Colorado State 5-11 (Hunter 4-4). Technical fouls – none

A – 3,008

It is said that a good defense is the best offense.

The CSU women's basketball team proved this theory true Friday night, beating Wyoming 61-51 before 3,008 fans in Moby Arena.

A strong showing by the Rams defense forced the Cowgirls to shoot 3-pointers repeatedly.

"We were moving our defense around a lot," said junior forward Melissa Dennett. "That was our goal coming into the game. Once we start doing well on defense, our offense comes."

The Cowgirls, normally a good 3-point shooting team, came up short, shooting just 24.4 percent from the field, a number Wyoming head coach Joe Legerski called "uncharacteristic."

"We had some shots tonight," Legerski said. "We rely a great deal on our outside shooting. It wasn't there tonight."

Wyoming senior guard Ashley Elliott, who led all players with 28 points, had five baskets from the field, but she also noticed the absence of 3-pointers from the Cowgirls.

"Usually we go through some droughts," Elliott said. "I don't think we played with a lot of confidence."

While Elliott was putting up points, the rest of the team was pretty silent. No other Cowgirl scored more than eight points.

CSU head coach Chris Denker said this was all a part of the plan.

"We forced them to become a parameter team," Denker said. "(Elliott) is a hell of a player. I think we made her work really hard."

A big part of the Rams defense came from junior guard Vanessa Espinoza's 10 defensive rebounds, six of which came in the first half.

"When a kid like (Espinoza) comes out with 10 rebounds, it helps," Denker said. "We really put an end to the scoring. Some kids really stepped up."

And once the defense was on a roll, the offense came.

Freshman guard Sara Hunter, who was born in Laramie, Wyo., but graduated from Fort Collins High School, has been struggling lately with hesitation and decision making but that all ended on Friday when she sank four balls on four attempts from the field.

"It didn't just happen tonight," Hunter said of the regained shot. "I've been working on it in practice. It's up to me to get out of the slump or not."

But there was at least one disappointed member of the Hunter family, despite Sara Hunter's impressive game. Hunter said her brother, Daniel, watched from the crowd wearing his Wyoming sweatshirt.

The Cowgirls (12-6, 3-2 MWC) managed to tie the score several times and were just down by two points after the first half, but it wasn't enough. Their 18 fouls in the game, 10 of which came in the first half, proved to be a deciding factor, with the Rams going 14-of-18 on the free-throw line.

"To have 2-of-3 (of our top) players in foul trouble early on isn't good," Legerski said. "I thought that was a huge part of the ball game."

With the win, the Rams (12-6, 3-2) are now tied for third place in the Mountain West Conference with Wyoming, and no team is undefeated in conference play. Next up, the Rams will travel to Colorado Springs to play at Air Force (6-11, 1-3) at 7 p.m. Thursday. They will also play the conference leaders New Mexico (14-3, 3-1) on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. in Albuquerque, N.M.



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