Mountain Lions shock UNK

By Mike McNeeley published January 16, 2004

Nobody beats the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers at home. Its an unwritten rule of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, you go into Kearney, youâ€TMre going lose.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (4-4, 3-3 RMAC) broke that rule Friday night when Janine Ota hit a 3-pointer with one second left to lift the Mountain Lions to a stunning 68-66 victory over the Lopers (11-3, 5-1 RMAC).

It was only the second time ever that Nebraska-Kearney lost a home game to a RMAC school. The Lopers had been 91-1 up until that point. Its also only the second time CU-Colorado has ever beaten the Lopers

“This was a great game tonight," said Ota, who scored all eight of her points in the second half. “We had some letdowns, but we were able to pull it off.”

CU-Colorado Springs went up 64-56 with 2:09 remaining thanks to back-to-back 3â€TMs by Jennine Sauter and Meghan McGee. UNK rallied back with a 7-0 run to cut the Mountain Lions lead to one. B.J. McNeally hit a free-throw with 15 seconds left to put CU-Colorado Springs up 65-63.

The Mountain Lions then fouled Kearneyâ€TMs Allison Kruger, sending her to the line for two free-throws. Kruger hit the first then missed the second, but was able to track down her own rebound and put in a lay-up to give UNK a 66-65 lead with six ticks left on the clock.

McNeally took the inbound pass, streaked down the floor, and found an open Ota on the right wing. Ota canned the game-winner.

“As soon as I saw the shot leave her hand I knew it was in,” said McGee, who finished with a game-high 24 points.

The Mountain Lions, who entered the game shooting 29 percent from 3-point range, shot an astounding 13-for-24 (54 percent) from behind arc Friday. McGee and Sauter, who had 17 points, each hit five 3-pointers.

CU-Colorado Springs trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half and were down 38-33 at the break. The Mountain Lions opened the second half forcing Kearney into four straight turnovers, and went on a 9-0 run capped by back-to-back treys by Ota and Sauter.

The Mountain Lions played tenacious defense forcing the Lopers into a season-high 28 turnovers. McNeally had eight steals, Ota and Sauter had four apiece. CU-Colorado Springs turned many of the turnovers into points on the other end. The Mountain Lions scored 26 points off of Loper miscues.

“We never quit working on defense,” said McGee “We were all diving on the floor after loose balls, it was a great effort all the way around.”

The Mountain Lions know winning a game like this will open some eyes around the conference.

“This win shows the rest of the teams in the RMAC that when you play us, itâ€TMs not just a gimmie game,” said Ota. “We are a better team than that.”


UCCS Players/Staff Featured

BJ McNeallyBJ McNeally10GJr.
B.J. McNeallyB.J. McNeally10GSr.
Jennine SauterJennine Sauter21FFr.
Jennine SauterJennine Sauter21FSo
Jennine SauterJennine Sauter21FJr.
Jennine SauterJennine Sauter21FSr.
Meghan McGeeMeghan McGee41FSr
Meghan McgeeMeghan Mcgee41FJr.
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