Awa-Williams celebrates her birthday by leading team to win

By Doug Fitzgerald published December 5, 2008

GOLDEN, Colo. â€" Some people really know how to celebrate a birthday.

On Friday, her 20th birthday, Jazzmin Awa-Williams recorded her first career double-double to lead the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to an 88-56 victory over the Johnson & Wales Wildcats in the first game of the Oredigger Classic at Lockridge Arena.

Awa-Williams established new career highs for points with 21 and rebounds with 10. The sophomore from Kailuakona, Hawaii, was also efficient, making nine of her 14 field goal attempts.

“All I wanted was a win for my birthday,” said Awa-Williams. “I got that and a lot more and it feels great.”

She led a UCCS bench that scored 53 points on 19-of-40 shooting. The Mountain Lion reserves came into the game shooting a combined 25.5 percent from the field.

Another Hawaiian, Nancy Hoist joined her former Konawaena High School teammate in the double-double category with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Payden Ackerman added nine points, while Alex Pitts and Jessica Lynch each had eight. Karlee Gradisar had a game-high five assists.

It was the first win for UCCS after opening the season with four losses.

“It feels … not as tense. We were so worried about getting a win,” said Awa-Williams. “When youâ€TMre on a zero (win) record, you want that win really bad. Now that we have it, we just want to work on improving.”

Her coach agrees.

“We still have a lot to work on and a lot to build upon but this was a good stepping stone,” said UCCS coach Jessika Caldwell. “I thought that we did some things better. I thought that we had really good balance in our scoring on offense, we took good shots and I was really pleased with the movement for the most part.”

Patricia Weldon and Andrea Austin led Johnson & Wales (2-10) with 10 points each. Jacinda Baumann had four of the Wildcatsâ€TM 10 blocked shots.

Johnson & Wales led once â€" at 1-0 â€" but did not score again until nearly eight minutes had expired. By that time, UCCS had built a 15-1 advantage behind six Awa-Williams points.

Johnson & Wales managed to get the deficit into single digits five times over the rest of the period, but each time the Mountain Lions were able to answer, taking a 43-30 lead into the intermission.

“I thought we kept our composure when they kept hanging around,” said Caldwell. “We did a good job of answering when they made a run.”

UCCS put together a 22-6 over a six-minute period beginning with just under 13 minutes remaining to blow the game open.

UCCS will play Oklahoma Panhandle State at 4 p.m. on Saturday while Johnson & Wales will face the host Colorado School of Mines at 6 p.m.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jazzmin Awa-WilliamsJazzmin Awa-Williams30F
Jazzmin Awa-WilliamsJazzmin Awa-Williams30F
Jessica LynchJessica Lynch2G
Jessica LynchJessica Lynch2G
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