The Air Force women’s basketball team opened at Clune Arena against Adams State for the second year in a row on Tuesday night, but sophomore Anna Gault had a very different experience.

Gault provided key leadership on the court and sparked the Falcons with five steals and four assists as they defeated the Grizzlies 65-59.

“Last year I was a freshman and I was just trying to get comfortable,” the point guard said. “This year was a lot different, but we have so many younger players and I know how that is when you’re a freshman and getting a lot of minutes out there.”

The Falcons (1-2) leaned heavily on their nine freshmen, and were not disappointed. Forward Katie Hilbig finished with 12 points — including a six-point run in the first half — and Dymond James added nine.

“Kat (Schjodt) and Liz (Dunsworth) started really strong for us, but eventually they have to get a breather,” Falcons coach Ardie McInelly said. “Katie and Dymond really held their own. With Katie, we felt she could beat her players off the dribble, so we didn’t really have to make many changes.”

But with the game on the line, experience won out. The Falcons were up by four with just over a minute remaining, and Gault and junior Raimee Beck combined for eight of the Falcons’ last nine points. Beck finished with a team-high 15 points and 11 rebounds.

“Anna has become a great point guard, and she knows who to get the ball to in tough situations,” McInelly said. “I think she and Raimee were the only ones to touch the ball in that last minute or two.”

The Falcons also made strides defensively, holding Adams State’s leading scorer Vera Jo Bustos to 12 points.

“Vera Jo Bustos is the kind of player that can really come out and career on you,” McInelly said. “We kept her under her average, and that was our goal.”