Rams fall to 0-2 against Cougars
Going into last night's women's basketball game between CSU and Brigham Young, both teams appeared to be near equals in many aspects.
Both teams entered the game tied for third in the Mountain West Conference standings with identical records — 4-3 in conference and 13-7 overall. Both teams were averaging 66.6 points per game and nearly identical points allowed per game (59.4 for CSU and 59.3 for BYU).
But even with two teams so evenly matched something has to give, and unfortunately for the Rams, that something wasn't the BYU Cougars. The Cougars topped the Rams by a final score of 59-47.
The Cougars jumped on the Rams early, using a 9-2 run to end the first half. CSU entered halftime trailing 31-16.
After falling behind 49-27 with 8:22 remaining in the game, the Rams outscored the Cougars 20-10 the rest of the way but were unable to complete the comeback.
"I think we just dug too big of a hole in the first half," said CSU head coach Chris Denker. "We fought back pretty hard in the second half."
The Rams were plagued by sloppy play and poor shooting for much of the game, shooting 34.6 percent from the field, including 23.1 percent in the first half, and committing 18 turnovers.
"We just couldn't score (in the first half)," said junior center Lindsay Thomas. "It's tough to come back from (first-half deficits) like that."
CSU struggled with its transition defense allowing 10 BYU fastbreak points, while the Rams scored none. The Cougars shot 43.5 percent from the field and committed 14 turnovers.
"(We) need to focus on defense and generate (our) offense through (our) defense, and we just weren't able to do that," said sophomore guard Annika Walseth.
With the loss, the Rams fell to 0-2 on the season against the Cougars. CSU loss to BYU by a score of 54-74 in a Jan. 15 game at Provo, Utah.
Thomas limped off the floor after a collision under the hoop with 14:27 left to play in the game. Thomas, the Rams' leading rebounder and second leading scorer, averaging 12.9 points per game and 8.3 boards per game on the season, returned to the game at the 9:59 mark in the second half and finished with a team-best in scoring, with 13 points, to go along with seven rebounds.
Junior forward Melissa Dennett finished second on the team in scoring with 10 points to go along with seven rebounds, tying her with Thomas for a team-best.
The Cougars were led by senior guard Julie Sullivan with a team-high of 16 points. Senior forward Kristen Kozlowski had a near double-double, recording 10 points and a team-best nine rebounds.
This loss snapped an eight-game CSU conference winning streak at Moby Arena and dropped the Rams' record to 4-4 in conference play and 13-8 overall, placing them fourth in the MWC standings. The loss also snaps an eight-game home winning streak against BYU. The last time the Rams lost at home against the Cougars was on Feb. 12, 1994, when they fell short in overtime by a score of 78-79.
The Rams will be back on the road Thursday as they travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, to take on the Nevada-Las Vegas Lady Rebels.
The Rams are 1-0 against UNLV so far this season after edging the Lady Rebels 69-66 at Moby Arena on Jan. 22.
UNLV is sixth in the MWC standings with a conference record of 2-5 and an overall record of 11-10.
Action tips-off at 8 p.m. Thursday's at Las Vegas's Cox Pavilion.
Note — CSU sophomore center Marilyn Moulton sang the National Anthem prior to last night's game.