Fort Collins, Colo. - With eight points on Saturday afternoon in Colorado State's Moby Arena, senior Ta'Rea Cunnigan made San José State's women's basketball history by becoming the program's career-scoring leader with 1,762 points. The Spartans, however, came up on the short end of a 77-59 final score.
Cunnigan drained a 3-pointer with 8:15 to play to tie Karen Mason, who from 1978-81 scored 1,760 points and held the program's career-scoring record for 34 years. Four minutes later, doing what she has done best for three-plus years, Cunnigan used her speed to get out on the break, and with an assist from Rebecca Woodberry, scored a fast break layup to move into first place by herself. She finished the game with eight points, just the 15th time in 107 career games she didn't score in double figures.
"I think the best thing to say about Ta'Rea and this accomplishment was that after the game she was more concerned that we lost," head coach Jamie Craighead. "That shows what type of person she is and that's probably why she has been able to reach a milestone like this. She just wants to win. She's the type of player every coach wants to have on their team."
Cunnigan began this season with 1,495 points and in fourth place on the program's career scoring list. With an 11-point effort in a New Year's Eve win against Utah State (12/31/14), she passed both Elinor Banks (1,672 point from 1978-81) and Cricket Williams (1,676 points from 2001-04) to move into second place. Two games later, in a win over Air Force, Cunnigan became the second women's basketball player in San José State history to surpass 1,700 career points.
The only scoring milestone left for Cunnigan at San José State is the school record held by former men's basketball player Ricky Berry. Berry scored 1,767 points from 1986-88. Cunnigan, six points away, will have that record square in her sights when the Spartans take on Boise State in The Event Center on Wednesday, January 21.
While Cunnigan reached a milestone in the game, San José State suffered its fourth first-half sub-30 percent shooting performance in the last five games. As a team they made 10-of-37 shots, 27 percent, in the first 20 minutes.
Throughout, the game was played at a pace that suited Colorado State (13-4, 5-1 MW). They took their time, worked the ball around the outside and when the opportunity appeared made the interior pass that led to a good scoring opportunity.
The Spartans (8-9, 2-4 MW) led 5-3 on a Riana Byrd layup two and a half minutes into the game, but a Jamie Patrick jumper 30 second later gave the Rams a lead they would never give away. An Ali Bettencourt trey with 10:08 to play in the half made the score 23-14, but that was the last time the Spartans were within single digits.
It was still a 10-point game with 4:04 left in the half, 29-19, but Colorado State finished with a 13-4 run and took a 42-23 lead into the intermission. The Rams hit 47 percent of their shots in the opening half, led by 11 points from Patrick.
The teams traded buckets for the first nine minutes of the second half, before a 9-0 run gave Colorado State its largest lead of the game, 29 points, 66-37. Cunnigan responded with a 3-pointer, which tied her with Mason, cut the lead to 26.
The team closed the game on an 12-4 run for the final margin of 18 points. San José State shot 48 percent in the second half, its best 20 minutes since the second half against Air Force, when they sank 71 percent of their attempts.
Colorado State had four players in double figures. In addition to Patrick, who finished with 13, Alana Arias and AJ Newton scored 14 points each and Keyora Wharry added 10.
The Spartans return to action at home when they host the Boise State Broncos on Wednesday, January 21 at 7:00 p.m. in The Event Center.
San Jose State vs Colorado State
01/17/15 12 p.m. MT at Fort Collins, Colo. (Moby Arena)
At Fort Collins, Colo. (Moby Arena)
COLORADO STATE 77, SAN JOSE STATE 59
SAN JOSE STATE (8-9, 2-4 MW)
0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-68 2-6 59.
COLORADO STATE (13-4, 5-1 MW)
ARIAS, Alana 7-8 0-0 14; NEWTON, AJ 4-12 3-4 14; PATRICK, Jamie 5-14 0-0 13;
WHARRY, Keyora 5-7 0-2 10; GUSTAVSSON, Elin 2-6 4-6 8; MESTDAGH, Hanne 2-9
0-0 6; NYSTROM, Ellen 3-9 0-0 6; RYDER, Gritt 2-3 2-2 6; MIRKOVIC, Veronika
0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-68 9-14 77.
San Jose State................ 23 36 - 59
Colorado State................ 42 35 - 77
Colorado State 8-26 (PATRICK, Jamie 3-7; NEWTON, AJ 3-8; MESTDAGH, Hanne
2-9; RYDER, Gritt 0-1; GUSTAVSSON, Elin 0-1). Fouled out--San Jose
State-None, Colorado State-None. Rebounds--San Jose State 40 (WOODBERRY,
Rebecca 8), Colorado State 48 (NYSTROM, Ellen 9). Assists--San Jose State 15
Total fouls--San Jose State 14, Colorado State 11. Technical fouls--San Jose
State-None, Colorado State-None. A-1246