Rams fall on senior day

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Mar 042007
 
Authors: Jeff Dillon

Senior center Marilyn Moulton set the CSU women’s basketball single-season offensive rebounds record Saturday. Ironically, it was rebounding that cost her team the game.

Moulton scored 10 points and posted 11 rebounds – five offensive – to set the record but the Rams (8-20, 3-13) gave up 23 offensive boards in their final regular season game, falling 63-58 to Nevada-Las Vegas.

Moulton and guard Justine France were honored before the game on senior day at Moby Arena, and Moulton responded by reaching 94 offensive rebounds, breaking the previous record of 92 set by Shannon Randles in 1996-1997.

But UNLV (14-14, 8-8), led by junior guard Sequoia Holmes’ 20 points and 13 rebounds, outscored the Rams 24-11 on second-chance points, including 20-5 in the second half alone.

“They all crashed the boards,” Moulton said. “Nobody goes back as a safety for defense. It’s tough to box out everyone.”

The Rams now head to the Mountain West Conference tournament in Las Vegas as the league’s No. 8 seed. They will face Air Force, the No. 9 seed, in the play-in game 6 p.m. Tuesday.

UNLV will be the tournament’s No. 6 seed and will face New Mexico on Wednesday.

UNLV finished with more shot attempts (68) than points (63) and shot just 35.3 percent from field goals.

CSU was not much better, shooting 38.5 percent from field goals and 54.5 percent on free throws, including 3-7 in the second half, something head coach Jen Warden called “uncharacteristic” of her team.

“Those (free throw situations) were all huge opportunities for us,” she said. “Those are things we’ve really got to take advantage of.”

Both teams were especially cold shooting in the opening minutes of the contest, but heated up toward the end of the first half.

CSU took its first lead of the game on a lay-up by freshman guard Juanise Cornell with 23 seconds to play in the first half, but forward Latoya Hunt answered on the other end with a buzzer-beating lay-in to give the Lady Rebels a 27-26 halftime edge.

Junior guard Sara Hunter’s three with 11:11 to play in the second half gave the Rams their largest lead of the game, 47-40. CSU later held a 55-51 lead with 6:34 to play and appeared to have the momentum going down the stretch.

UNLV took it back with a 10-0 run in which the Lady Rebels pulled down three key offensive rebounds to take a 61-55 lead with 30 seconds to play.

CSU scored just three points in the final six minutes of the game.

“It was hard to lose that,” said Hunter, who finished with 13 points for the Rams. The last five minutes we had it and it was like we got complacent with the ball.”

Despite the loss, Warden said she feels like the team – which has navigated through injuries, suspensions and team defections – has shown signs of gelling.

“I would say that not until maybe the last 17 days we’ve had a team that knows each other and how to play with each other,” she said. “You just kind of wish you had two more months.”

Women’s basketball beat writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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