When the San Jose State Spartans (0-9) come to Moby Arena Saturday afternoon, the Ram women’s basketball team will be looking to start something it hasn’t been able to get going all season: a winning streak.
CSU (3-5) has not put back-to-back wins together since late December of last year, but this year’s team seems more than ready to end that streak.
The Rams beat in-state rival Northern Colorado Wednesday for the 15th straight time, snapping a three-game losing streak in the process.
Still, Head Coach Jen Warden says she knows the team has a long way to go before opening up league play with Air Force on Jan. 4.
“We just need to keep getting better,” Warden said. “We’ve got seven freshmen, so we do need to have patience in our development.”
Despite the relative inexperience of this year’s team, many of the underclassmen are already making an impact.
Freshman guard Kelly Jo Mullaney is the leading scorer on the team, and is averaging more than 17 points per game. She was the first on the team to score 100 total points, a feat she accomplished in just six games. She also boasts a team-high 91.3 percent mark from the free throw line.
Freshman forward Juanise Cornell is also making her presence felt this season, averaging more than six rebounds and 28 minutes per game.
Still, the bulk of the positive statistics this year have come from the team’s experienced guards Sara Hunter and Molly Nohr, as well as senior center Marilyn Moulton.
Hunter and Nohr are combining to average more than 27 points per game this season and Moulton pulls down almost 10 rebounds in each contest.
Mullaney said that for the team to be successful in the coming weeks she knows the guards need to have confidence in their play in order to spark the offense that has averaged 63.7 points per game.
“Sometimes just knowing that we (Mullaney, Hunter and Nohr) are the shooters on the team, it can start there,” Mullaney said.
Hunter agreed with her, adding that the team also needs to shore up their play defensively in order to have success.
“It all starts on the defensive end,” Hunter said. “It’s all we have been working on in practice.”
Last year when the Rams and the Spartans locked horns down in California, San Jose State came out on top 78-66.
The Spartans have retained six players from last year’s roster, including three starters. They are led offensively by freshman guard Brittany Helm, who is currently averaging 15 points per game.
San Jose State is on a nine-game losing streak and has not picked up a win since last March.
As a team, the Spartans are averaging 37.6 rebounds and 59.4 points this season, giving the Rams a plus-4 advantage in scoring and a plus-8 advantage on the glass.
Hunter said that the team knows what they need to do and at this point it is just a matter of preparation and execution.
“We just need to get mentally prepared and get on a roll,” Hunter said.
Tip off is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday in Moby Arena. The game will also be available on the radio via AM 600 KCOL.
Women’s basketball writer Nick Hubel can be at firstname.lastname@example.org.