She didn't have the most points, but she conjured up magic on the court.
Senior captain Vanessa Espinoza showed her true colors in the second Border War of the season Saturday in Moby Arena despite a 78-71 loss to the Wyoming Cowgirls. Playing all 40 minutes, Espinoza was a key threat to the Cowgirls both on offense and defense. She became the court leader for the Rams, setting up plays, creating open shots for her teammates and showing true athleticism and hustle on defense.
"I'm very proud of Vanessa. I saw her as a spark tonight and it was nice to see the things she could create," said head coach Jen Warden. "I really liked the effort and execution on the court, it reflected our efficiency."
Junior guard Molly Nohr has also continued to prove herself an all-around player for the Rams, scoring a career-high 20 points and dishing out four assists. Nohr scored 10 of the Rams' final 16 points, cutting Wyoming's lead to six with less than a minute to go. A back-and-forth effort by the teams was determined by a 3-for-4 foul shot performance by the Cowgirls in the final seconds, sealing the win.
"There was a point where we lost momentum, but we did a good job of not getting down on ourselves," said Nohr.
The Cowgirls showed an all-star shooting performance from beyond the arc, finishing the night with twelve compared to the Rams, who went 4-for-6. Cowgirls shooting guard Jodi Bolerjack finished the game with four 3-pointers, contributing to her final 19-point performance. The Cowgirls were led in scoring and rebounding by MWC Player of the Week Hanna Zavecz who finished with 20 points and nine rebounds.
"Tonight they came with 3-point shots and then got confidence after a while when the shots were going in. (Zavecz) is a great player and she is doing some really great things," Warden said.
Senior forward Melissa Dennett led all players in scoring and rebounding with 23 and 10, respectively. She was the only player to reach a double-double for the game. Senior Lindsay Thomas contributed 14 points in the losing effort in addition to five rebounds and a career-high seven assists.
For the first time this season, shooting guard Sara Hunter was held scoreless for the entire game. Junior center Marilyn Moulton was the only substitute for the game playing a total of 14 minutes and finished with four points.
"We knew this was one of our best games of basketball this season. We have talked a lot about just playing for ourselves," Thomas said. "A lot of things haven't gone our way this season, so we just have to shake it off and find something positive."
CSU Nohr 38 8-13 1 4 20 Dennett 32 11-15 10 1 23 Thomas 36 4-8 5 7 14 Hunter 40 0-0 3 1 0 Espinoza 40 4-13 2 3 10 Moulton 14 2-3 4 0 4
Zavecz 40 5-12 9 7 20 Taylor 28 2-6 2 0 7 Bolerjack 40 6-13 2 3 19 Hicks 37 6-10 7 5 15 McGuffey 36 4-9 5 0 12 Vanderjagt 4 1-1 1 0 2 Sisk 4 0-1 0 0 2 Dissen 9 0-0 1 0 1 Ewing 2 0-0 0 0 0