Mountain Lions shock UNK
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
â€œThis was a great game tonight," said Ota, who scored all eight of her points in the second half. â€œWe had some letdowns, but we were able to pull it off.â€
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.
â€œAs soon as I saw the shot leave her hand I knew it was in,â€ 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.
â€œWe never quit working on defense,â€ said McGee â€œWe were all diving on the floor after loose balls, it was a great effort all the way around.â€
The Mountain Lions know winning a game like this will open some eyes around the conference.
â€œThis win shows the rest of the teams in the RMAC that when you play us, itâ€TMs not just a gimmie game,â€ said Ota. â€œWe are a better team than that.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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