Sauter's big night helps Stratton win her coaching opener
ALAMOSA â€" Jennine Sauter scored 35 points, the second-highest total in school history, as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs gave Jessika Stratton a victory in her first game as coach of the Mountain Lions, 76-72 over the Pittsburg State Gorillas Friday night.
Sauter did everything for UCCS (1-0). She made 15 of her 21 field goal attempts, grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, had a game-high five steals and blocked two shots.
â€œI havenâ€TMt felt this good in three years. This is the most amazing feeling,â€ said Sauter. â€œItâ€TMs the best feeling to have a team like this; have a coach like this.â€
The win was the opening game of the Best Western Alamosa Inn Classic. Immediately afterwards, host Adams State played West Texas A&M, whom the Mountain Lions will play Saturday.
Sauter had 18 of her 25 first-half points in the first nine minutes as the Mountain Lions built a 20-11 lead.
Coming into the game, UCCS senior center Julie Richards figured to pull triple duty since the Gorillas had the ability to throw three big post players, 6-foot-1 Tracy Patry, 6-0 Maggie Apt and 6-1 Emily Sloan, at her. With 15 fouls to give, Pittsburg State could afford to be aggressive. Richards could not.
â€œWhen Julieâ€TMs not in there, we have to pack it in more,â€ said Sauter. â€œWe have to help down low on the post because we donâ€TMt have the advantage of having a big person down there that dominates on defense.â€
Richards picked up her second foul of the half at the 14:18 mark, one of seven consecutive fouls called against UCCS. With Richards on the bench, Pittsburg State repeatedly pounded the ball inside with great effect, eventually tying the game at 22.
A Sauter 3-pointer gave UCCS a 31-28 halftime lead.
Richards and Stephanie Sauter, Jennineâ€TMs sister, came up big in the second half. Richards scored eight of her 10 points, mostly in the paint, in the period while Sauter made 4-of-6 3-pointers. She finished with 14 points.
The Mountain Lions built the lead to 71-54 with five minutes remaining when Pittsburg State (1-1) found its second wind. The Gorillas made six of their next eight shots to reel off a 13-0 run.
â€œWe knew we had to get a couple of big stops,â€ said Jennine Sauter. â€œIt came close, but we held tough.â€
A Richards hook shot was answered by a Maggie Apt layup. Jennine Sauter blocked a shot, which led to free throw by teammate Maribeth Martinez that put UCCS up 74-69. After Pittsbug State missed a jumper, Martinez added two more free throws.
Kara Kinney, who led the Gorillas with 27 points, hit a 3-pointer with one second left to provide the final margin.
Down the stretch, the Mountain Lions got key contributions from the bench. Crystal Armendarez powered for a momentum stopping layup. Mackenzie Knobbe nailed a clutch 3-pointer.
â€œI told the girls at halftime that (Pittsburg State) was going to go after Jennine,â€ said Stratton. â€œWe needed to make sure that we got production from everybody.â€
Sauterâ€TMs scoring performance was second in UCCS history only to Amber Andersonâ€TMs 37-point effort against Air Force on Feb. 22, 1994.
â€œIâ€TMm proud of the girls - they executed and did exactly what they were supposed to do,â€ said Stratton. â€œThey adjusted at halftime and they held on. When the game was on the line, they stepped up.â€
And what about the first game, and win, of her coaching career?
â€œI was pretty relaxed before the game,â€ said Stratton. â€œI got more nervous as the game went on.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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