Mar 302005
 
Authors: Adam Ebner

Colorado – 4, Tulsa – 3 OT. Star of the Box: Colorado's Kevin Marsh, game-winning shorthanded goal in overtime.

The Colorado Chill cruised to victory Wednesday night and will play

Friday in a rematch of last year's National Women's Basketball League championship game against the Dallas Fury.

Colorado defeated the Chicago Blaze 83-66 in an all-around unmemorable performance. The teams combined for 55 points in the first half before the Chill came out on fire and scored 53 in the second half to pull away.

Each team began the first half struggling. In the first 18 minutes,

Neither team could overcome nerves and frequent whistles. Then, in a predictable development, former CSU star Becky Hammon took over.

Hammon got her team going with a quick steal with two minutes left in the half. Recovering the ball, she then streaked to the other end of the court, beat Chicago guard Keisha Anderson off the dribble, and delivered a wrap-around pass to teammate Erin Scholz for a layup.

Hammon followed that with a 23-foot 3-pointer from the left wing to end the half, putting the Chill up 30-25.

Colorado (17-8) carried the momentum from there. Led by Hammon's game-high 24 points, the Chill built and maintained a double-digit lead early in the second half. Forward Carrie Bacon and center Ruth Reilly chipped in 15 points apiece.

Chicago could not recover from the second half lead the Chill built.

Playing as if the players had the wind knocked out of them, the Blaze (13-12) ended its season playing flat and suffering terrible shooting woes all night. The team had a harder time since it was playing without all-star forward Tamika Catchings (absent because of other obligations), and fellow all-stars Anderson and Ebony

Hoffman had difficulty getting anything going. Forward LaTonya Johnson led Chicago with 18 points.

The win over Chicago sets up a championship game that has been a competitive rivalry dating back to last year's 78-74 NWBL title thriller. Dallas (17-8), the NWBL reigning champion, comes in with an identical record to Colorado.

The game also sets up an intense matchup between Hammon and Dallas guard Anna Deforge, who were No. 1 and 2 in NWBL scoring, respectively, and both seem to raise their games when playing each other.

Friday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. tipoff at the Budweiser Events

Center.

Star of the Box: Colorado's Becky Hammon, a game-high 24 points

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