Air Force Knocks Off Colorado State in MWC Opening Round Game
March 8, 2011
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Led by sophomore Alicia Leipprandt and senior Raimee Beck, the ninth-seeded Air Force women's basketball team upset fourth-seed Colorado State, 66-63, in the first round of the 2011 Conoco Mountain West Conference Championships.
Leipprandt scored a career-high 26 points, including 17 in the opening half, while Beck recorded her second double-double of the year with 16 points and a career-best 15 rebounds. Also scoring in double-figures for Air Force was sophomore Dymond James (Brambleton, Va.) with 13 points.
The Falcons trailed by as many as eight points in the first half, but Leipprandt scored 13 points in the final four minutes of the period to help lead Air Force to a 35-31 advantage at the break.
Colorado State regained a six-point advantage in the second half, but the Falcons began to battle back, eventually taking a 60-58 lead with 4:39 remaining with a layup from Megan Muniz (So., Rio Rancho, N.M.). While Leipprandt scored another basket to give Air Force its biggest lead of the game, Colorado State's Bonnie Barbee scored five straight points to put the Rams back on top with 2:46 to play.
Down by one point, Beck drained a three-pointer with 1:27 remaining to put the Falcons up for good, shutting down the Rams over the final minute and a half. After a free throw from James gave Air Force a 66-63 lead with 10 seconds remaining, Beck blocked a last-second three-point attempt from CSU's Kim Mestdagh to clinch the victory.
Air Force, which won just its second MWC tournament in program history, became the first nine seed in tournament history to defeat the fourth seed. Meanwhile, Leipprandt's 26 points set a new MWC tournament first-round record.
Colorado State was led by freshman Sam Martin with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Mestdagh and Barbee added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Mestdagh, ranked third in the MWC in three-point field goal percentage, finished the game 0-for-9 from beyond the arc.
"It was a phenomenal game," said Air Force head coach Andrea Williams. "Our team was fired up and focused. We put it all together at the right time. It's just one of those things we wanted to show what we could do for the year, beat Colorado State this time. The third time's a charm for us."
The Falcons move on to the quarterfinals of the MWC Championships, where they will face No. 5 seed Utah. The game is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. (PT).