Thornton, shooting prove keys to win over Cougars

By Matt Sandstead published January 26, 2007

COLORADO SPRINGS â€" Candace Thornton had 15 of her 19 points in the final nine minutes of the first half to help the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs break open a close game and roll to an 87-75 victory over the Colorado Christian Cougars Friday evening at the Lionsâ€TM Den.

It was a career high scoring night for Thornton, who topped her previous best mark of 12.

Thornton sparked a 32-13 UCCS run to end the first half that turned a 20-18 deficit into a comfortable 50-33 lead at the break. Thornton outcored the entire Cougar team 15-13 over the half's final nine minutes.

In the three previous games, Thornton made just 5-of-17 from the field. During the run in the first half, Thornton went 5-for-6 from the field, as well as 3-for-4 from behind the arc.

“During the week, coach [Jessika Stratton] told me my shot was flat,” said Thornton. “I tried to make sure to get more arch into it tonight and it worked.”

It was apparent that the rest of the team was listening to Stratton as well, as the Mountain Lions shot 61.1 percent from the field, the highest by a UCCS womenâ€TMs basketball team in at least the past seven years.

The Mountain Lions (8-10, 6-4 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) headed into halftime with a 50-33 lead thanks mainly to a 63.3 first half shooting percentage and 25 points from the bench.

“Every team has those kinds of nights where they canâ€TMt miss,” said Emily Jenkins. “We havenâ€TMt had one all season, so it was nice to get one of those tonight.”

Colorado Christian (5-13, 1-9 RMAC) was able to cut the lead to six with 12:30 remaining in the game, but the Mountain Lions answered with a 16-2 run to put the game away. The Mountain Lions made a key substitution that sparked the reversal of the Cougarâ€TMs comeback.

The substitution came when the Cougars went on a 10-1 scoring run over the course of the first 3:10 of the second half. Stratton sent Thornton back into the game and the Mountain Lions cruised to a 22-10 scoring run over the next 8:50 to build a 20-point lead with eight minutes remaining.

“She [Thornton] did awesome tonight, she really came through,” said Jenkins. “[Thornton] brings a lot of intensity and focus [from the bench] and when we see her go after the ball like she does, it becomes contagious.”

The Cougars shot a horrendous 36.8 percent from the free throw line on 7-for-19 shooting. The Cougars final deficit was 12. Ironically, the Cougars also missed exactly 12 free throws.

“Regardless of that [12 missed free throws] I think it wouldnâ€TMt have mattered,” said Jenkins. “Iâ€TMm sure we would have been able to battle our way through it.”

Jenkins finished with 18 points and a season-low four rebounds. Tonya Tripp chipped in 16 points and a game-high 10 boards while Nancy Hoist added 11 points. Talmai Aguirre led the Cougars with a game-high 20 points. She also had five assists and four steals. Abby Rosenthal added 17 points, while Sara Davis had 16.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Emily JenkinsEmily Jenkins22FSo.
Emily JenkinsEmily Jenkins22FSo.
Emily JenkinsEmily Jenkins33FJr.
Emily JenkinsEmily Jenkins33FSr.
Tonya TrippTonya Tripp43C
Tonya TrippTonya Tripp43CSr.
Candace ThorntonCandace Thornton23G/FJr.
Candace ThorntonCandace Thornton23G/FSo.
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