COLORADO SPRINGS — The Falcons completed the season sweep of the Rams on Saturday, and did so in comeback fashion, taking their first lead after 38 minutes of play en route to a 67-63 win.
Today's victory marks the first time since the 2007-08 season that Air Force has claimed both regular-season games over Colorado State. Now with 13 wins overall and seven wins within the Mountain West, the Falcons have matched the program's respective Division I bests in both categories with still six regular-season games remaining.
Cierra Winters didn't record a point in Wednesday's win over Wyoming, but the same could not be said this afternoon. Winters exploded for a team-high 19 points, the result of an efficient 8-14 day from the field.
Riley Synder and Lauren McDonald also finished with 15 points each, with McDonald providing the go-ahead bucket in the final quarter. McDonald’s 15 points match her career-high, which coincidentally was set earlier this season in Air Force's road win at CSU.
Haley Jones ended her day with 12 rebounds, the eighth time this season she has managed at least 10 rebounds.
The Falcons did well to match up with a slightly larger Rams team on the low block, as the rebounding numbers resulted in nearly identical totals. Air Force won the scoring battle down low, outscoring CSU 36-24 within the painted area. The home team also provided advantages in regards to points from turnovers, second-chance points, fastbreak points, and bench points too.
The afternoon did not start with much vigor from the Falcons, as the Rams jumped out to a 11-0 lead in the game's first three-plus minutes. However, Air Force outscored Colorado State 20-12 over the remainder of the quarter to reignite the fan base in Clune Arena.
As they did in the first quarter, Air Force spent much of the afternoon chasing Colorado State, but the home team was up to the task. The Falcons even trailed by as much as 10 late in the third quarter, but the Air Force defense made a strong final stand.
Chris Gobrech's team held Colorado State to only two made shots over the final 10 minutes, allowing her scrappy group to take advantage of the opening. Down 61-58 with just under three minutes remaining, Jones snatched one of her eight defensive rebounds and went coast-to-coast to trim the CSU lead to 61-60.
The Rams ensuing possession ended abruptly after Jo Huntimer's fourth steal of the day, who ran the floor before finding McDonald to give Air Force its first lead of the day at 62-61. Colorado State again turned the ball over, this time Jones coming up with a steal with 90 seconds left.
Jones missed her initial attempt at the basket, though McDonald came up with a crucial offensive rebound. McDonald then successfully sent an acrobatic left-handed floater up-and-in to extend the Air Force lead to 64-61.
Even after being forced to foul, Colorado State had an opportunity to tie the game with five seconds remaining, but a three-point try fell wayward to secure the win for the Falcons.
Next, Air Force returns to the road for a matchup with New Mexico on Wednesday, February 9. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm MT.