Air Force Falls To Colorado State, 63-42
USAFA, Colo. -
Colorado State shot over 68 percent from the field in the second half to pull away as the Air Force women's basketball team lost to the Rams, 63-42, Thursday evening in Clune Arena. The Falcons drop to 6-13 overall and 1-5 in the MWC, while Colorado State improves to 13-6, 4-2 in conference play.
Both teams struggled offensively in the opening period with the Falcons holding a 9-8 advantage midway through the first half. However, the Rams began to find their rhythm, outscoring Air Force 19-5 for the remainder of the half to take a 27-14 lead into the break. Colorado State also forced 12 turnovers by the Falcons in the opening stanza, while pushing its way to a 26-14 advantage on the boards. Air Force's 14 first-half tied a season low for points in a half, set first in the loss at Boise State.
Air Force tried to make some noise coming out of the locker room, using tough defense and a solid shooting effort to claw its way back into the game. With just under 11 minutes remaining, the Falcons trailed 42-34 and had some momentum going in their direction. Following a miss by the Rams, freshman Alecia Steele (Oklahoma City, Okla.) went up strong for the rebound, but a jump ball was called, keeping the ball in Colorado State's possession. That seemed to be a turning point in the contest, as the Rams went on a 19-3 run to essentially seal the victory.
While Colorado State shot over 48 percent for the game, the Falcons were only able to hit 32 percent of their shots. Even more significantly, the Rams hit 8-of-11 free throws (including 6-of-9 in the first half), while Air Force hit a season-low 2-of-4 foul shots. In addition, Colorado State, the conference's leading rebounding team, finished with a 42-25 rebound advantage.
Leading the way for the Falcons in the game was Steele with 12 points and seven rebounds. Meanwhile, sophomore Jacki Novak (Kewaunee, Wis.) finished with a career-high 10 points. Freshman Lauren Henderson (Nixa, Mo.) added eight points.
For the Rams, Lindsay Thomas scored a game-high 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while adding seven rebounds. Vanessa Espinoza chipped in 14 points and Melissa Dennett grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with her seven points.
Air Force wraps up the first half of the conference slate at home on Saturday, Feb. 5, as it hosts Wyoming in a 2:00 p.m. contest. The Falcons will celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day prior to the contest with a free volleyball and basketball clinic, open to girls in eighth grade and under, at noon in Cadet East Gym. Admission to the Air Force-Wyoming game is free to those girls attending the clinic.