In front of a raucous crowd of almost 2,000 at Moby Arena, the CSU womenâ€™s basketball team managed to pull out a thrilling victory over TCU Saturday night, holding on to win 61-59.
The Rams (11-13, 7-2 MW) appeared to be in complete control at the end of the first half, finishing on an 18-2 run, which turned a tie game with 7:22 left in the half into a 39-23 advantage at halftime.
TCU (12-12, 5-4 MW) however, did not go out quietly.
The Horned Frogs chipped away at the Ramsâ€™ lead in the second half, behind Natalie Ventressâ€™ 12 second-half points, and got to within two during the last minute of the game.
â€œWe just didnâ€™t come out with the same energy,â€ guard Hayley Thompson said of the second half. â€œWe really needed to get some defensive stops, and we just made some bone-head plays, as far as fouls and easy shots on defense.â€
On one of the Ramsâ€™ final possessions, senior Kim Mestdagh missed the first of a one-and-one opportunity at the free throw line with 11 seconds left in the game.
Meghan Heimstra pulled down the offensive rebound and passed the ball up to LaDeyah Forte with the clock winding down, but CSU coach Kristen Holt called a timeout with eight seconds to play, rather than allow the speedy Forte to try to run down the rest of the clock.
â€œIt was a mistake,â€ Holt said. â€œAs soon as I let it out of my mouthâ€”when I saw us going for (the rebound) I felt like we were gonna get panicky. â€¦ I didnâ€™t know if we were aware of what was going on, so I wanted to call the timeout, but then, I didnâ€™t, I didnâ€™t want to.â€
CSU then inbounded the ball to Thompson, who missed the ensuing free throw on the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with seven seconds remaining.
TCUâ€™s Latricia Lovings secured the rebound off the miss, but instead of using their final timeout, TCU coach Jim Mittie opted to allow Lovings to pass the ball up the floor to Briesha Wynn, who missed a layup at the final buzzer that would have sent the game to overtime.
â€œI debated on taking the timeout,â€ Mittie said. â€œBut obviously, Wynn is able to have enough speed to get to the rim, and she gets a decent look at it to tie it.â€
The victory Saturday night keeps the Rams in second place in the Mountain West, one game behind conference leader San Diego State, with five games remaining in the regular season.
â€œWe are playing to get first,â€ Holt said. â€œAnd weâ€™ve just gotta take care of what we can do and
what we can control.â€
Womenâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Result: TCU: 59 CSU: 61
CSU: Kim Mestdagh
TCU: Natalie Ventress