Lions spring into first with win over Mesa State
Julie Richards had 27 points and 12 rebounds to help the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs take sole possession of first place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferenceâ€TMs Western Division lead with a 71-70 victory over the Mesa State Mavericks Saturday night at the Lionsâ€TM Den.
Mesa State had a chance at the end when Maribeth Martinez missed two free throws with 4.7 seconds left that could have given UCCS a three-point lead. The Mountain Lions pressed, forcing a couple of quick passes. Rebekah Calvert split the defense but failed to get the shot off in time.
Richardsâ€TM big night came as part of UCCS coach Jessika Strattonâ€TMs game plan.
â€œWe really focused on doing the high-low because (the Mavericks) werenâ€TMt that tall,â€ said Richards. â€œWe wanted to capitalize on the post with Jennine (Sauter) and I working that â€" get (the ball) in high then throw it down low and vice-versa.â€
Richards went 13-of-20 from the field, a sharp contrast from her struggles on Friday night against Western State when it seemed that nothing would fall. The senior from Doherty High School made the first two field goals of the game, both on lob pass assists by Stephanie Sauter.
â€œThe first two shots that Stephanie passed to me, that just got my motivation going,â€ said Richards. â€œ(Friday) I didnâ€TMt have that good of a shooting night.
â€œBut itâ€TMs a new day and a new game and I was confident in my shooting.â€
With Saturdayâ€TMs win, UCCS (7-8, 5-5 RMAC) took sole possession of first place in the division after Colorado State-Pueblo lost its game Saturday at Fort Lewis.
Jennine Sauter added 19 points for the Mountain Lions, while Martinez had 10 points and seven assists.
Brittany Fowler led Mesa State (5-12, 3-6 RMAC) with 24 points. Calvert added 13, while Hutto had 11.
A Richards offensive rebound and follow gave the Mountain Lions a 30-25 lead at the half. Mesa State tied the score for the first time at 32 with 17:51 left in the game after a short jumper by Cassie Hutto. Neither team would lead by more than four points the rest of the game and the score would be tied on nine more occasions.
Richards credited persistence for the Mountain Lionsâ€TM ability to stay in and close out tight games this season. UCCS has come from behind in the second half to win in each of its past three games and has won five of its past six overall.
â€œWeâ€TMre a good team,â€ said Richards. â€œThe main thing is never giving up and keep trying.
â€œWe never gave up.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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