Thornton, shooting prove keys to win over Cougars
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.
â€œDuring the week, coach [Jessika Stratton] told me my shot was flat,â€ said Thornton. â€œI tried to make sure to get more arch into it tonight and it worked.â€
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.
â€œEvery team has those kinds of nights where they canâ€TMt miss,â€ said Emily Jenkins. â€œWe havenâ€TMt had one all season, so it was nice to get one of those tonight.â€
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.
â€œShe [Thornton] did awesome tonight, she really came through,â€ said Jenkins. â€œ[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.â€
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.
â€œRegardless of that [12 missed free throws] I think it wouldnâ€TMt have mattered,â€ said Jenkins. â€œIâ€TMm sure we would have been able to battle our way through it.â€
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
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