The CSU women’s basketball team (9-19, 4-11 MWC) went on the road this weekend for their last away game of the season, only to fall to the New Mexico Lobos (19-8, 8-6 MWC) 78-56 in front of 8,798 fans in The Pit.
The Lobos dominated Saturday’s game, as New Mexico held the Rams to 21 of 62 from the field and sent CSU to the free throw line only seven times.
“I think New Mexico played a good game, they are a good team. I just didn’t think our effort was really good,” CSU head coach Kristen Holt said. “I thought we executed our offense pretty well but we had some early turnovers that were hurtful. You have got to have people that can step up and play.”
The Lobos took their biggest lead over the Rams by 24 points at the 2:32 mark, when New Mexico’s Sara Halasz connected on a three-pointer.
Senior captain Kandy Beemer closed the gap for the Rams to 14 points 10 minutes into the second half with a shot from beyond the arc. The Lobos countered Beemer’s three with a 14-5 run over the next five minutes. The Rams were only able to pull within in 19 points once in the final five minutes of play.
CSU’s closest deficit in the second half was at the beginning, when freshman guard Kim Mestdagh connected on a layup to pull the Rams within six points. However over the next five minutes of play, New Mexico outscored the Rams 10-2.
The Rams entered the locker room at the half down by eight.
Kim Mestdagh pulled the Rams to within one point in the first four minutes of the first half, when she connected on her first shot from beyond the arc to end New Mexico’s 6-0 run. The one-point deficit would be the closest CSU would get to the Lobos for the rest of Saturday’s game.
“I thought Kim played a really good game. She played with great heart, playing 31 minutes and got some deflections. She is going to keep coming at you and I have been really impressed with her effort,” coach Holt said.
For the second consecutive game the Rams allowed four players from the opposing team to score in double digits.
Amy Beggin lead the Lobos in scoring, totaling 14 points off two threes and sinking all four free throws. Lauren Taylor was second in scoring for New Mexico with 13 points, while her two teammates Angela Hartill and Valerie Kast each totaled 10 points.
Mestdagh was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points, going 4-6 from three-point range and 2-2 at the free throw line for the Rams.
“I think I was mentally focused on the game and ready to play. I want to win every game,” Mestdagh said.
Sophomore Bonnie Barbee was second in scoring for CSU with eight points, all of which came in the first half. Amaka Uzomah would end the game as CSU’s leading rebounder, with eight boards.
Saturday’s game ended a 27-game suspension for freshman Natalie van den Adel. Adel was on the court for 14 minutes, adding five points and two rebounds to CSU’s stats.
“I was really excited and kind of nervous. It was nice to play but we lost the game and it was disappointing,” Adel said.
With their 11th loss of the season in Mountain West Conference play, the Rams’ bid for the seventh seed in the conference heading into the tournament appears dimmer. Current seventh seed UNLV (11-16, 4-10 MWC) will take on Air Force (4-23, 0-14 MWC) Wednesday night. Air Force has yet to win a conference game this season and is currently on a 14-game losing streak after falling to Wyoming Saturday afternoon.
Wednesday night the Rams return to Moby for their final game of the season against the San Diego State Aztecs (20-6, 11-3 MWC). Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
“I want to get a win against San Diego State because we lost there by one and I can still feel that,” Mestdagh said.
“We need to get focused on Monday and just go for it,” Adel added.
Women’s basketball beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at email@example.com.