Poor Free-throw Shooing costs Mountain Lions
Kalee Modlin scored 21 points and had eight rebounds to lead Nebraska-Kearney to its sixth straight win, dropping the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions 72-58 Friday night in the Lionsâ€TM Den.
CU-Colorado Springs played well, and hung close with the Lopers (8-6, 6-0 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) for most of the game. Poor free-throw shooting, however, hurt the Mountain Lionsâ€TM chances of knocking off one of the conferenceâ€TMs top teams.
CU-Colorado Springs, which came into Fridayâ€TMs game dead last in the conference in free-throw shooting at 61 percent, shot a season-low 36.4 percent (8-for-22) from the charity stripe.
Modlin, who was named preseason RMAC Player of the Year, scored 17 points in the first half as Kearney used a late run to open up a 37-27 halftime advantage.
â€œModlin is a really great player,â€ said Mountain Lion coach Marty Fletcher. â€œShe hurt us early but we able slow her down a little bit after halftime.
CU-Colorado Springs (5-8, 1-5) opened the second with a zone that didnâ€TMt allow the Lopers to feed the ball into the post. When the Mountain Lions switched back to a man defense later in the half, they had Emily Jenkins, cover Modlin, also a change from the first half.
The combination of the zone and Jenkinsâ€TM defense held Modlin off the scoreboard for the first 13:00 of the second half. As Modlin struggled so did the rest of Kearneyâ€TMs offense and Mountain Lions were able to creep back into the game.
Janie Ota knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 50-47 with 9:20 to go. But the Mountain Lions cold free-throw shooting eventually caught up with them. CU-Colorado Springs scored just nine points the rest of the way, missing seven free-throws down the stretch.
Jennine Sauter led the Mountain Lions with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jenkins, who missed the past three games with an ankle injury, had 13 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
The Lopers outrebounded CU-Colorado Springs 54-33 and came up with 18 offensive rebounds. Fletcher knows his Mountain Lions have to get better at limiting opponents to just one shot.
â€œThe way we play pressure defense, teams are not going to be able to beat us with that first shot,â€ said Fletcher. â€œIt's those second and third shots that kill us. So we have to do a better job of blocking out.â€
The Mountain Lions have now lost four straight RMAC games and finished just 1-5 against the RMACâ€TMs tougher Eastern Division.
â€œIt was a good effort against a really fine team,â€ said Fletcher. â€œBut we have got to continue to improve and play better, and I think we will.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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