A solid start gave way to a disappointing finish in the CSU women’s basketball team’s 63-50 loss to UNLV in Las Vegas Sunday.
The Rams jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first three minutes of the game shooting 70 percent from the floor and hitting their first two threes.
“When we can get stops and can get out and go it builds confidence,” freshman gard Caitlin Duffy said. “We had quite a few turnovers and that slowed us down offensively. They hit some big shots, had some girls step up and hit threes.”
UNLV forced 23 turnovers during the game, which lead to 24 points, and held CSU to 4-14 shooting from behind the three point line.
“There was some pressure, denying passing lanes but it wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before,” senior forward Megan Heimstra said. “We came out kind of scared and not reading what they were giving us.”
UNLV took a 21-18 lead with 8:51 remaining in the first half and extended that to 29-25 at halftime.
CSU tied the game at 29 with 17:47 remaining in the first half, but the Rebels responded with a 9-2 run and continued to extend their lead from there.
Junior guard Rmanii Haynes put UNLV up double digits with a three with 12:58 left in the game and hit another one 11 seconds later.
The Rebels lead by as many as 14 in the second half and CSU never cut the deficit to single digits for the rest of the game.
Haynes scored 11 points in the game, one of three Rebels in double figures. Sophomore Alana Cesarz put in 14 while sophomore Briana Chalres came off the bench and shot 6-6 from the field to score 16 points.
CSU held UNLV’s leading scorer Kelli Thompson to eight points on 3-12 shooting, but the rest of the team made 10-18 three pointers to help pick up the slack.
“It’s definitely frustrating because it’s an accomplishment to stop their leading scorer, but we need to adapt during the game,” Duffy said.
The Rams now lost two out of their first three conference games, but return to Moby Arena, where the team has won four of its five games, for their next two contests.
“How they handle this loss is up to them, but they’ve got to do it with a tougher mindset,” CSU coach Ryun Williams said.
CSU plays New Mexico Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
“I think we’re finally getting our own identity,” Heimstra said. “We really rely on our strong defense and that turns us into a good offensive team. We’re really hungry for some wins.”