UCCS loses heartbreaker to Western State

By Doug Fitzgerald published December 14, 2007

GUNNISON -- Audra Lawson's layup with 1.2 seconds remaining sent the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to its seventh straight defeat, a 68-67 loss to the Western State Mountaineers Friday evening at Paul Wright Gym.

"There are things that we'll take away from this game, as coaches and as players, that will hopefully help us in the long run," said UCCS coach Jessika Caldwell. "We had a lot of opportunities to close the game out and didn't."

The Mountain Lions appeared to have this one iced after a Tonya Tripp turnaround jumper gave them a 65-58 lead with just 3:12 remaining. A free throw by Lawson and two more by Sarai Martinez, though, cut the lead to four at the two minute mark. Martinez drained a 3-pointer with 1:09 left to make it 65-64.

Tripp converted a short jumper to give UCCS a three-point lead with 32 seconds left, but two Chelsea Wilkins free throws 10 seconds later reduced the lead, again, to one. Janean Jubic was able to dribble 10 seconds off the clock before getting fouled, but the Mountain Lion sophomore squandered her chance by missing the front end of the one-and-one.

"Janean is the player we want taking the foul shot with the game on the line," said Caldwell. "My heart breaks for her because I've been there before."

Wilkins grabbed the rebound and passed upcourt to Martinez, who found Lawson with an outstanding entry pass. Just like that, two teams headed in different direction on the momentum highway kept to their lanes as UCCS fell to 4-7, 0-3 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

"All I could do was say ‘argh' when Lawson got the ball," said UCCS freshman Kirstin Buttars, who finished with 10 points and team highs with seven rebounds and three steals. "Those two (Lawson and Martinez) hurt us all night. (Lawson) is such a good finisher."

Western State improved to 7-2, 1-1 in the RMAC. The Mountaineers outscored UCCS 23-9 at the foul line and 21-6 on 3-pointers. UCCS committed three turnovers down the stretch

The Mountain Lions shot a season-high 54.9 percent from the field. The defeat marked the first time in at least eight seasons that UCCS has shot better than 50 percent in a game and lost.

"Coach had us do new drills that focused on putting the ball in the net," said Buttars. "I think it helped us focus on the rim instead of the defenders all around us."

Tripp led the Mountain Lions with 22 points.

Western State got 22 points by Martinez plus 14 each by Lawson and Taryn Brennan. Brennan and Lawson each grabbed nine rebounds.

UCCS was playing without Jazzmin Awa-Williams, who sprained her ankle when she slipped on ice on Wednesday. That she would have difficulty negotiating ice is understandable since the native of Kailuakona, Hawaii had never had to walk on ice before. The good news is that Awa-Williams is expected to be back when the Mountain Lions play Newman on Dec. 28 in Denver.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Tonya TrippTonya Tripp43CSr.
Tonya TrippTonya Tripp43C
Jazzmin Awa-WilliamsJazzmin Awa-Williams30F
Jazzmin Awa-WilliamsJazzmin Awa-Williams30F
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