Mountain Lions fall short of win against Lopers

By Matt Sandstead published February 23, 2007

COLORADO SPRINGS â€" Despite having a lead at halftime, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs could not hold off the playoff-bound Nebraska Kearney Lopers Friday night in the Lionsâ€TM Den, as the Lopers defeated the Mountain Lions 67-57.

A pair of free throws by Caroline Ottino gave UCCS a three-point lead with 14:52 remaining in the game. The Lopers answered by scoring the next 13 points to take a 49-39 lead. The 13-0 run proved to be the key for the Lopers as they extended their all-time series lead over the Mountain Lions to 17-2.

The Lopers (19-7, 13-5 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) came into the game third in the RMAC Eastern Conference behind Metro State and Regis. The Lopers took over the game in the second half shooting 52 percent from the field while holding the Mountain Lions to 36.7 percent.

The Mountain Lions (9-17, 7-11 RMAC) were playing without leading scorer Tonya Tripp, who sprained her ankle during practice this past week, and point guard Stacy LaBuhn, who has missed more than half the season with a knee injury.

Scarcely-used Whitney Knobbe came off the bench to collect seven points, five rebounds and three steals â€" all in the first half as the Mountain Lions went to the locker room with a 30-28 lead. Knobbe finished the game with nine points, six rebounds and three steals â€" all season highs.

"I haven't gotten to play much this season and it's been really frustrating," said Knobbe. "So when I get the chance to play I wanted to take advantage of my opportunity.

With Tripp out of the lineup and Nancy Hoist playing limited minutes due to an injury, senior Caroline Ottino played 21 minutes and eight rebounds â€" both season highs â€" and had a career-high eight points.

"Every time Caroline gets into the game she makes sure she does what she's supposed to," said Knobbe.

This focus led to Ottino being only one of two Mountain Lions to not commit a turnover all game â€" the other being Emily Jenkins.

The Mountain Lions forced the Lopers into 19 turnovers and committed 20 themselves, which is a much different outcome compared to the first meeting between the two teams this season where the Mountain Lions committed 32 turnovers.

"Everyone was really hustling since we had a fast lineup in tonight," said Knobbe. "Everyone had nothing to lose and we wanted to accomplish something before the end of the season."

The Mountain Lions were led by Jenkins with 14 points, while Jade Meads led the Lopers with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Mountain Lions host Chadron State to conclude their season tomorrow night in the Lionsâ€TM Den.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Mackenzie KnobbeMackenzie Knobbe33GSo
Mackenzie KnobbeMackenzie Knobbe34GFr.
Mackenzie KnobbeMackenzie Knobbe33GJr.
Mackenzie KnobbeMackenzie Knobbe33GJr.
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino13C/FSr.
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino13FSo.
Caroline OttinoCaroline Ottino13FSo.
Emily JenkinsEmily Jenkins22FSo.
Emily JenkinsEmily Jenkins22FSo.
Emily JenkinsEmily Jenkins33FJr.
Emily JenkinsEmily Jenkins33FSr.
Whitney KnobbeWhitney Knobbe24G
Whitney KnobbeWhitney Knobbe24G
Tonya TrippTonya Tripp43C
Tonya TrippTonya Tripp43CSr.
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