Mountain Lions comeback comes up short in loss to Western New Mexico

By Doug Fitzgerald published December 5, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs trimmed 20 points off a 22-point deficit but couldn't manage the final two as in a 77-70 loss to the Western New Mexico Mustangs Saturday evening at the Lions' Den in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

The Mountain Lions went behind by 22 with 4:03 remaining in the first half. It took until 4:01 remaining in the game to get it to two, but UCCS converted on only one of its next six field goal attempts to hand the Mustangs their first win of the season (1-6).

"We've got to do a better job getting our kids ready to play from the start of the game," said UCCS coach Stephen Kirkham. "As a coaching staff, we've got to figure that out."

Lonnie Sanchez led WNMU with 19 points, while Audra Major came off the bench to score 17 and grab a team-high 10 rebounds. Krystal Davis added 10 points and nine rebounds.

Payden Ackerman led UCCS (3-4) with 16 points while Lauren Wolfinger and Mallory Lowe each added 11. Alyse Bessert had 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

The first half was a statistical nightmare for the Mountain Lions, who went 4-for-9 from 3-point range but an unbelievable 4-for-18 from closer. For you non-mathematicians, that's 22.2 percent, which would make for a bad batting average much less a shooting percentage. Meanwhile, the Mustangs, who came into Saturday's game shooting 30.3 percent on 3-pointers, knocked down nine of their 17 3-point attempts in the half.

Western New Mexico took control from the opening tip, answering a Lauren Holm layup with 11 straight points. The Mustangs built the lead to as many as 22 (38-16) before back-to-back 3-pointers by Janean Jubic put UCCS on the road to an 11-0 run. WNMU went into the intermission leading 40-27.

The Mountain Lions came back to shoot 44.1 percent in the second half, but that was offset by WNMU getting to the foul line 24 times, 18 of which were converted.

UCCS scored the first seven points coming out of the locker room and, after a WNMU free throw, got a three-point play by Miller to cut the deficit to four with 17:53 remaining. Major got a three-point play in response and UCCS followed with field goals by Bessert and Ackerman to make it 44-41 with 16:18 left.

That's where UCCS stalled, getting it as close on three subsequent occasions but never fully bridging the gap. The Mustangs finally put together a 15-4 run to open the lead to 14 with 6:39 left and appeared to have it iced. The Mountain Lions found one final push as Jubic and Ackerman hit 3-pointers to start a 12-0 run that made the score 65-63 with 4:01 remaining.

But the effort took its toll. UCCS went one for its next six from the field as WNMU took a 73-66 lead from which the Mountain Lions couldn't recover.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Lauren HolmLauren Holm22G
Lauren HolmLauren Holm22G
Lauren HolmLauren Holm22G
Lauren HolmLauren Holm22G
Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Janean JubicJanean Jubic12GFr.
Janean JubicJanean Jubic12GSo.
Janean JubicJanean Jubic21GJr.
Janean JubicJanean Jubic21GSr.
Alyse BessertAlyse Bessert44CJr.
Alyse BessertAlyse Bessert44CSr.
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