Friday night the CSU women’s basketball team secured an undefeated mark in their two exhibition games by overpowering the Colorado Christian Cougars, 94-66.
Head coach Kristen Holt changed her offensive and defensive format for Friday night’s game, and witnessed a complete turnaround from last week’s close-call matchup against Adams State.
“There were so many things I thought we improved on in our first two games,” coach Holt said. “Our next game is going to the next level with facing a Division-I opponent.”
Coach Holt’s offense executed the new conservative, yet run-and-gun, style of play, while her defense was much more aggressive than in the first exhibition game.
In the second half, the Rams scored 56 points, only three fewer points than they managed to score in last week’s entire game.
Juanise Cornell was a major factor in the game with her 10 rebounds, while Bonnie Barbee and senior captain Kandy Beemer led the offense in scoring, knocking down a total of eight three-point shots.
“We haven’t scored like that in a while,” said Beemer, who put up 16 points. “We worked really hard in practice.”
The Rams also played a good first half, scoring 38 points and only turning the ball over six times.
In that half, The Rams managed to create 11 turnovers, six of which were steals.
It was apparent that all the aspects of the game the team worked on in practice showed up against the Cougars.
Coach Holt worked on conditioning in this week’s practice which became apparent during the game as all athletes were able to run up and down the court for the entire game without appearing sluggish.
After the second game turnaround, the Rams will now have to keep up their aggressive style team playing as they begin competition against Division-I opponents for the remainder of the season.
The Rams open up the first regular season game in Wichita, Kan., on Nov. 15, to face off against Wichita State. The Shockers ended last season 9-21 and are led by a first-year head coach, Jody Adams.
The Rams will be without three of their international athletes, Devran Tanacan, Chatilla Van Grinsven, and Natali Van Den Adel, who are permitted for traveling to Kansas with the team.
Tanacan, who is the starting center, will sit out the first game, Van Grinsven will be absent for the first four games, and Van Den Adel will be suspended for 27 games.
The suspensions are due to an NCAA penalty for violating the amateur status of the three athletes.
Coach Holt gave Van Den Adel the start Friday night because it will be nearly an entire season before she will be able to play again.
“It felt like it was my last game but it was good,” Van Den Adel said. “Other players let me play for them and we all worked with each other out there.”
The Rams are hoping for a better season than last year’s 2-27 record, but they have will have early season momentum on their side after their first two exhibition wins.
The team will not return to Moby Arena until Nov. 22, against Idaho.
Women’s basketball beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at email@example.com.