GOLDEN – Backed by a career-high tying 22 points from sophomore Taylor Helbig, the Colorado School of Mines women's basketball team led for almost the full 40 minutes of Friday evening's home-opener versus Chadron State on its way to a 65-59 victory at Lockridge Arena.
Helbig led four Mines (5-4, 2-1 RMAC) starters in double figures thanks to game-highs in both three-pointers and free throws, hitting 4-of-6 and 6-of-9, respectively. Junior Tory Langas recorded her first double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds; senior Angie Charchalis added 12 to go along with a season-best eight boards and junior Courtney Gallo added 11.
Mines twice built an eight-point advantage in the opening 11:15 of the first, the latter coming with 8:45 on the clock at 22-14 thanks to 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) shooting, yet the Orediggers finished the half only 2-of-16 as the Eagles closed to within 30-27 at the break.
Following intermission, CSM quickly pushed the lead to 41-27 with eleven unanswered points in the first 2:27, keyed by a baseline jumper from Langas and a pair of right wing three-pointers by Helbig sandwiched around a triple from classmate Danielle Skinner.
Chadron State answered with 11 of the game's next 12 points over the ensuing seven minutes, pulling within 46-42 on a triple at the10:26 mark.
Mines extended the cushion back out to 52-44 with 7:31 remaining and later to nine at 61-52 with 1:02 to play. However, the Eagles would not go quietly as a lay-in and three-pointer cut the lead to five with 30 ticks left, before Helbig and Charchalis combined for 4-of-6 free throws in the final 26 seconds to preserve the win.
Dallas Shaw finished with 15 points to lead Chadron State (1-5, 1-2 RMAC) and Kattie Ranta added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Orediggers go for two in a row tomorrow as conference newcomer Black Hills State visits Lockridge Arena for the first time as part of another Mines basketball doubleheader. The women tip off at 5 p.m., followed by the men at 7 p.m.