UCCS holds on to top Western New Mexico
SILVER CITY, N.M. â€" Natalie Laraâ€TMs game-tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer went in but barely missed beating the buzzer as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs held on for a 60-57 victory over the Western New Mexico Mustangs Thursday evening at Dragâ€TMs court.
Emily Jenkins posted her fourth consecutive double-double for the Mountain Lions (3-8, 2-2 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) with 2 points and 12 rebounds. Nancy Hoist just barely missed matching Jenkinsâ€TM feat with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Jenkinsâ€TM play over the past four games has been a highlight for UCCS. The senior from Lynnwood, Wash., has averaged 12. points and 13.8 rebounds over that span.
â€œItâ€TMs a combination of things,â€ said Jenkins of her recent surge. â€œIâ€TMm getting back into the flow of things after a year off and I also k now we need someone to consistently contribute both in scoring and rebounding.
â€œI just try to do that the best I can.â€
UCCS led 59-57 when Whitney Lewisâ€TM shot with six seconds remaining hit every side of the rim but the inside, bounding on the iron three times before falling out and into the waiting arms of Hoist, who was immediately fouled.
â€œThat was nerve wracking,â€ said Hoist. â€œI was trying to get good rebounding position.â€
Hoist made the first free throw, but her second missed, setting up Laraâ€TMs attempt.
The bigger Mountain Lions pounded the ball inside all evening, often drawing fouls. UCCS shot 37 free throws but wasted the opportunity by converting on only 20 of the attempts.
â€œWhen we make our free throws and layups weâ€TMll be dangerous,â€ said Jenkins.
â€œOur game plan is usually to establish the inside first,â€ said Hoist. â€œThat opens up open perimeter shots.â€
But most of that futility came in the gameâ€TMs first 35 minutes. The Mountain Lions made six of their final eight attempts when Western New Mexico was frantically working to claw its way back into the game.
â€œDown the stretch when we needed baskets, we executed and got good shots,â€ said UCCS coach Jessika Stratton. â€œWe also made clutch free throws.â€
The Mountain Lions also grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and had a 42-28 overall advantage on the boards.
Ashley Vigil was perfect on four field goal attempts, including two 3-pointers, to score a team-high 12 for the Mustangs. Crystal Smith added 10 points.
The first half was as sluggish as would be expected from two of the three lowest scoring teams in the RMAC.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Candace Thornton and Dolly Fiedelman gave the Mountain Lions a 16-9 lead with eight minutes left, but three UCCS turnovers over the next four minutes helped facilitate a 10-2 run by the Mustangs that tied the score.
The only score over the halfâ€TMs final two minutes was a 3-pointer by Janean Jubic that gave UCCS a 24-21 lead at the intermission.
The Mountain Lions will play New Mexico Highlands at Las Vegas, N.M. on Saturday.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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