In a year marred by suspensions, injuries and inconsistent play, it only seems right that the Mountain West Conference Championships would be just as cruel to the Rams as the regular season was.
For the second season in a row the Ram women’s basketball team was bounced from the tournament early on, losing to the last-place Air Force Falcons 47-46 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Freshman guard Emily Neal gave the Rams a one-point lead late in the game when she hit a pull-up jumper from 10 feet out with 47 seconds left. The Rams would not get the ball again, as the Falcons used two timeouts and four offensive rebounds to melt the clock before guard Alecia Steele hit a put-back lay up with less than a second left.
The Rams opened up the second half with a scoring drought and did not get a field goal in the second half until the 13:29 mark. The drought allowed Air Force to jump out to an 8-point lead on a 13-3 run.
The first half was also highlighted by poor shooting and turnover problems for both teams. The Rams made just 31 percent of their shots to open the game, and would finish the half with 10 turnovers and 21 points. Fortunately for CSU, the Falcons could not capitalize, as they shot 33 percent from the field and scored just 20 points.
CSU struggled to find a rhythm offensively all game, shooting just 32 percent on 16-50 from the field. The Rams made 4-15 of their three pointers, a 27 percent mark.
The Rams were led on offense by third team all Mountain West guard Sara Hunter, who finished the game with 17 points and 5 rebounds. Hunter hit her 300th career field goal early in the game and she would finish the game just 4 points shy of cracking CSU’s all time top 20 scorers list.
Senior center Marilyn Moulton finished with four points and 13 rebounds in her final game as a Ram.
The Falcons were led by their third team all league forward Alecia Steele, who finished the game with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Rams finished the season with and 8-21 record, 3-14 in conference play. It is the second season in a row that the Rams have finished with less than 10 wins.
Women’s basketball beat writer Nick Hubel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.