Fifteen years is a long time. Just ask the Air Force Falcons.
The last time the CSU women's basketball team lost to the Falcons was Nov. 27, 1990. Behind a smothering defense the Rams were able to extend their winning streak to 19 in a row against Air Force, as they crushed the Falcons 63-42 at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs.
The Rams held the Falcons to 24 percent shooting in the first half, as they took a 27-13 lead going into halftime. The Falcons 13 first-half points were a season low for a Rams' opponent this season.
After the half, the Rams picked up where they left off, outscoring the Falcons 36-29 the rest of the way.
Junior center Lindsay Thomas credited the Rams' defense for the win.
"Defense gets your offense going," Thomas told KCOL 600 radio. "If we can play great defense and keep them from scoring, then we're going to be in a great position to win."
Despite the lopsided victory, CSU head coach Chris Denker said that this was a better Air Force team than the Rams had played in the past.
"They're a much improved team and play very, very well and compete hard," Denker told KCOL 600.
Leading the way for the Rams was Thomas with 16 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard Vanessa Espinoza also contributed with 14 points.
The Falcons were led by Alecia Steele with team-highs of 12 points and seven rebounds.
Following the game, Denker praised the efforts of Thomas and her frontcourt teammate Dennett.
"She was scoring in a variety of ways," Denker told KCOL 600. "When she and (Dennett) are playing like that, they're tough to guard."
The Rams have now won four games in a row, improving their conference record to 4-2 and 13-6 overall.
The Rams snapped a five-game losing streak on the road that dated back to last year. Prior to last night's game, CSU was 0-4 on the road this season. CSU's most recent road win prior to last night's game was also at Air Force. On March 4, the Rams beat the Falcons in Colorado Springs by a score of 75-58.
The Rams will be back on the road tomorrow as they travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to take on the New Mexico Lobos.
The Rams went 1-1 last season against the Lobos, winning at home 72-57 on Feb. 5 and losing on the road 52-59 on March 6.
The Lobos sit atop the MWC standings with a conference record of 5-1 and an overall record of 16-3. New Mexico secured a home win last night against Wyoming, beating the Cowboys 62-49.
Denker said that his team is ready to go into New Mexico and attempt to pull off an upset over the Lobos.
"I think our kids are ready to go play and play well on the road, in what we know is going to be a tough environment, against a good basketball team," Denker told KCOL 600. "New Mexico's playing well, and so are we. We need to go down and compete to win the game."
The energetic crowd at New Mexico's Bob King Court, nicknamed "The Pit," is likely to be a factor in the game. However, the Rams embrace the opportunity of play against the boisterous New Mexico fans, according to Thomas.
"We're just really excited to go down and play at The Pit," Thomas told KCOL 600. "I love playing down there. It's a great environment, even though (the fans) are usually yelling at us."
New Mexico is led by senior forward Lindsey Arndt, who going into last night's game averaged 10.2 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game, both team bests. Freshman forward Dionne Marsh is second on the team in scoring, averaging 10 points per game and a team-best 1.1 blocks per game, as of last night's game.
The Lobos have shutdown their opponents' offenses this season, allowing an average of only 49.9 points per game, the fewest points allowed by a MWC team. New Mexico is fifth in the MWC in scoring with 64.5 points per game.
Action tips-off at 2 p.m. tomorrow at New Mexico's The Pit/Bob King Court.
STAR OF THE GAME: Vanessa Espinoza, 14 points, four assists and two steals
Leading Scorers: CSU – AF –
Scoring: CSU – Dennett 3-7 1-2 7; Espinoza 6-13 0-0 14; Hunter 2-6 2-2 8; Kramer 0-0 0-0 0; Moulton 1-2 0-0 2; Nohr 3-5 2-3 9; O'Dwyer 1-3 1-2 3; Thomas 8-10 0-0 16; Tor-Agbidye 1-3 2-2 4; Walseth 0-3 0-0 0; Shepherd 0-0 0-0 -0; Totals 25-52 63
AF – Castillo 1-10 0-0 2; Mickens 1-3 0-0 2; Roesch 0-3 0-2 0; Higginbotham 0-0 0-0 0; Taylor 1-1 0-0 3; Henderson 3-8 0-0 8; Findlay 1-6 0-0 3; Steele 5-16 2-4 12; Thomas 0-1 0-0 0; Jaeschke 1-1 0-0 0; Novak 5-7 0-0 10; Totals 18-56 42
Rebounds – CSU 42(Dennett 10); AF 25 (Steele 7)
3-pt baskets – CSU 5-15(Hunter 2-3); AF 4-21(Henderson 2-6)
Technical Fouls – None
Attendance – 279