Win over Western New Mexico an inside job
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Saturday's win was an inside job for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Led by 21 points by Tonya Tripp, the Mountain Lions scored 32 points from inside the paint to defeat the Western New Mexico Mustangs 72-61 at the Lions' Den.
Emily Jenkins and Candace Thornton added 17 points each as UCCS (7-8, 2-3 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) executed a strong inside-out offense. Tripp and Jenkins did most of their damage inside, while Thornton made four of the Mountain Lions' six 3-pointers.
UCCS also made 20 free throws, most of which came because of fouls near the hoop. That means that all but two of the Mountain Lions' points came by way of layup, 3-pointer or free throw. There was just one mid-range jumper.
Add to that a 45-28 rebounding advantage and UCCS' inside dominance was clear.
"Candace has been shooting really, really well from the outside, but you can't live and die by the 3-pointer," said Tripp in reference to Thornton's 43.5 3-point percentage over the past four games. "(Coach Jessika Caldwell) is having us pound it down inside, looking for the double teams and create mismatches. That's kind of our game in general."
But the night didn't begin that way. Western New Mexico came out with an aggressive, half-court trap defense that both forced turnovers and gave up layups. Nine of the UCCS' 12 first-half turnovers came in the first 10 minutes. During the same span, the Mountain Lions converted just two of their eight layup opportunities.
That combination had Western New Mexico holding a 29-16 lead with 6:05 remaining in the half. That's when the Mountain Lions saw something.
"We took some time to figure out how to break their 1-2-2 press," said Tripp. "We were trying to dribble through it instead of passing over the top and looking middle. Once we started hitting the middle of the court we were able to break it."
It also allowed Tripp to start pinning the defender so that UCCS could pass over the top. The senior from Dilworth, Minn., scored eight of her 14 first-half points as the Mountain Lions went on a 17-3 run to take a one-point lead. The Mustangs, though, took a 35-33 lead into the intermission.
The Mountain Lions were leading 43-39 with 14:09 remaining when Tripp had five points and Nancy Hoist four during an 11-1 UCCS run over the next 4:15. The lead never dipped below double digits after that.
Jocelyn Chaves led Western New Mexico (0-12, 0-5 RMAC) with 12 points.
It was the Mountain Lions' third win in their four games since ending a seven-game losing streak. UCCS had started the season 4-0 with a tournament title at the Disney's Division II Tip-Off Classic.
UCCS will try to make if four out of five on Monday at Colorado College.
"It feels good to be winning again," said Tripp. "We were kind of down in the dumps during the losing streak. It's starting to feel like Disney again. The team chemistry is building."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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|May 28, 2008||Mountain Lions add four more to 2008-09 women's basketball squad||University of Colorado at Colorado Springs womenâ€™s basketball coach Jessika Caldwell announced Wednesday that she had signed four players to National Letters of Intent.|
|February 27, 2008||Tripp named second-team all-RMAC.||University of Colorado at Colorado Springs center Tonya Tripp was named second-team all-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference team for the East division, the conference announced Wednesday.|
|February 23, 2008||Season ends with loss to Nebraska-Kearney||KEARNEY, Neb. -- Four Mountain Lions scored in double figures but the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs were nonetheless beaten Saturday, 82-67 by the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers at the health and Sports Center.|
|February 21, 2008||Tripp's 28 not enough as Mountain Lions fall to Chadron State||CHADRON, Neb. -- Tonya Tripp had 28 points and 12 rebounds and Janean Jubic had eight assists but the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs nonetheless fell 86-81 to the Chadron State Eagles Thursday evening at Armstrong Gym.|