The CSU womenâ€™s basketball team snapped a 13-game losing streak to New Mexico by defeating the Lobos 67-60 at Moby Arena on Saturday.
With 1:02 remaining and the score tied at 60, junior guard Bonnie Barbee hit a three-pointer off the inbound play from the wing to put the Rams ahead for good. It was her only field goal of the game as she finished the night as one of five shooting with four points and two rebounds.
â€œWe all know she can shoot,â€ sophomore Kim Mestdagh said of Barbee. â€œWe trust her. She makes all of the money shots.â€
CSU led by as many as 10 in the second half, but streaky shooting by the Lobos and the play of their senior guard Amy Beggin, who scored 17 points, allowed New Mexico to claw their way back, tying it at 49 on a layup with 6:02 left in the second half.
Mestdagh and fellow sophomore Chatilla van Grinsven both scored 20 points that afternoon to lead the Rams. For van Grinsven, it was a particularly special day, as her sister Samira, who plays basketball for the Casper College T-Birds, came in from Wyoming to see her play.
â€œI just looked up in the stands, and I saw her, and I was like â€˜woah, first time ever,â€™â€ van Grinsven said. â€œIt was good to see her again.â€
Van Grinsven also grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots.
Though freshman guard Chantel Kennedy did not score for the Rams, she greatly affected the flow of the game on defense, grabbing eight rebounds and three steals, as well as keeping Beggin in check when the two were matched up.
â€œI thought she was tremendous,â€ CSU head coach Kristen Holt said of her young guard. â€œSometimes I wish Chantel would get more steals and go for it, she plays a little bit too conservative.”
â€œShe is a freshman; sheâ€™s guarding one of the best players in the conference, and I thought she did a fantastic job,â€ she added.
CSU led by five at halftime and opened up the second half hot, hitting their first three shots. Both teams clamped down defensively near the end of the first half, as neither was able to score for the final two minutes of the period.
New Mexico held Mestdagh out of the scorebook for nearly the first nine minutes of the game, but she broke out by hitting a three from the left wing with 11:04 left in the first half.
Holt has led the team to 11 wins this season, the most of her career thus far and the most for a Rams team since the 2004-05 season, when they won 15.
At 11-7, CSU moves up into fifth place in the conference, leapfrogging the New Mexico squad they just defeated. On the heels of four consecutive losing seasons, a berth in the WNIT would be a welcome change to the Ramsâ€™ schedule.
â€œI think certainly we would love to play in the postseason,â€ Hold said. â€œWith that type of defense … anything is possible.â€
Womenâ€™s Basketball beat reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.