Mountain Lions set dubious record in season-opening loss
ALAMOSA â€" The Mountain Lions set a record theyâ€TMd rather have avoided in their season opener on Friday.
The No. 6-ranked West Texas A&M Buffalos, aided by 24 points by Jamie Dreiling and a school-record 37 UCCS turnovers, dispatched the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs 94-54 in the first game of the Adams State Bankers Classic at Plachy Hall.
â€œThey did a great job,â€ said UCCS coach Jessika Caldwell. â€œThey got tips on the basketball. They were able to disrupt us and play us tight enough to where we couldnâ€TMt make easy passes. We didnâ€TMt have very good flow in our offense to combat that.â€
The previous UCCS record for turnovers committed was 34, which was also set against West Texas A&M on Nov. 28, 2004.
So bad was the early performance that the Lubbock Christian team, which plays UCCS on Saturday, got up and left en masse with 6:57 still remaining in the first half. Who could blame the Chaparrals, though? With the score 31-13 and UCCS having already committed 16 turnovers, they likely thought no more scouting was necessary.
UCCS managed to trim the lead to 12, but a 23-12 closing run, including a 10-1 advantage over the final three minutes, pushed the Buffs lead to 48-25 at the intermission. That it took that kind of a run to build the lead despite UCCS having 21 turnovers and shooting 32 percent from the field in the half gave Caldwell some encouragement.
â€œWe did some good things defensively,â€ said Caldwell. â€œTowards the end, we kind of fell apart unfortunately. We did a good job in the first half of playing a good, strong defense against a team that really puts up a lot of points.â€
Janean Jubic led the Mountain Lions with 11 points and five assists. Nancy Hoist added seven points while matching Mallory Lowe for the team lead with six rebounds.
Emily Brister added 18 points for the Buffs (2-0), while Ashley Leven had 16.
The dominant performance by West Texas A&M hardly came as a shock. Aside from their national ranking, the Buffs were coming off a 26-5 record this past season and had four returning seniors in the starting lineup. UCCS countered with just one senior, Hoist, and a roster featuring six freshmen and three sophomores.
Caldwell said that West Texas A&M is the kind of team she wants to emulate as her young Mountain Lions mature.
â€œThatâ€TMs always the goal â€" to try to look like that,â€ said Caldwell. â€œThey have great All-Americans in Dreiling and Brister. They have some really legit scorers who caused us a lot of problems.â€
The last time Caldwell opened the season at Adams Stateâ€TMs Plachy Hall, her first career game as a coach in 2006, her Mountain Lions upset Pittsburg State behind a career-high 35 points by UCCS all-time scoring leader Jennine Sauter. The first-year coach suffered her first loss the next day as the Mountain Lions took a 36-point beating at the hands of â€" you guessed it â€" West Texas A&M.
As replays (and opponents) go, Saturdayâ€TMs season opener unfortunately looked more like the latter than the former.
â€œWeâ€TMve got a lot of work to do, thatâ€TMs for sure,â€ said Caldwell. â€œWe have to be able to handle pressure and take care of the ball. We need to treat it like itâ€TMs gold and not just throw it away.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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