Friday, March 9, 2007

SPORTS>>AF knocks off Colorado State

By Melissa McKeown
Athletic media relations office

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AFNEWS) Hitting the game-winning layup with 0.7 seconds left on the clock, junior Alecia Steele helped lead the Air Force women's basketball team to a 47-46 victory over Colorado State in the first game of the Mountain West Conference Championships, March 6 at the Thomas and Mack Center. With the win, the Falcons' first-ever tournament victory, the Falcons move to 6-22 on the season, while the Rams end the year with an 8-21 overall record.

The Falcons, down 46-45 in the last minute, missed three shots down the stretch that would have put them ahead, including a jumper by Pamela Findlay with five seconds left. However, Steele grabbed the offensive board on Findlay's miss and scored on the putback to give Air Force the one-point advantage with less than a second remaining.

Air Force led for much of the opening half before CSU grabbed its first advantage with just over two and a half minutes remaining. Though a bucket from sophomore Kory Gladysz put the Falcons back on top, the Rams scored with just 37 seconds left in the half to take a 21-20 lead into the locker room.

The Falcons opened the second half on an 8-0 run to regain the lead, and got out to a 33-24 advantage following a three-pointer from senior Letricia Castillo. However, a 7-0 run by Colorado State brought the Rams back within two points. While Air Force extended its lead to six points, CSU kept coming back, eventually taking the lead when a jumper by Emily Neal with just 50 seconds remaining gave the Rams a 46-45 advantage. Neither team shot particularly well in the game, with the Falcons knocking down 33 percent of their shots while the Rams hit just 32 percent from the field. Air Force struggled at the free throw line, connecting on 55.6 percent (10-of-18).

Steele was the lone scorer in double figures for the Falcons, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds, for her eighth double-double of the season. Meanwhile, Castillo added eight points, three assists and three steals for Air Force. For the Rams, Sara Hunter recorded 17 points, while Marilyn Moulton notched a game-high 13 rebounds. Now the Falcons move on to face top-seed BYU in the quarterfinal matchup March 7.

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