Lions' Den retired with uninspring effort

By Doug Fitzgerald published December 20, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS â€" The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs retired its uninspiring venue, the Lions' Den, with an equally uninspiring performance as the Mountain Lions shot a miserable 25.8 percent from the field in a 60-42 loss to the Valley City State Vikings Sunday afternoon.

Mallory Lowe had 13 points and 13 rebounds to log her fourth double-double of the season for UCCS, which lost its sixth straight game to fall to 3-7. Lauren Wolfinger added 10 points, while Payden Ackerman had seven points and a team-best five assists.

The points total was the lowest by a UCCS women's basketball team since the team hit 40 in a loss to Nebraska-Kearney on Jan. 14, 2006.

"We're really struggling to find five kids who will show up every game," said UCCS coach Stephen Kirkham. "Every game its somebody different who decides not to show up and give it pretty much zero."

UCCS' indoor sports (volleyball, men's basketball and women's basketball) will now play their home games at the new UCCS Events Center, which has been constructed adjacent to the Lions' Den. The first games in the new facility will be a men's/ women's basketball doubleheader against Fort Lewis on Jan. 8. The UCCS basketball teams will also play home games against Adams State on Jan. 9 before the official grand opening ceremonies on Jan. 22 against Regis.

The loss prevented a unique trifecta for UCCS. The Mountain Lions volleyball team won its final game in the Lions' Den, 3-2 over Regis on Nov. 7. The UCCS men's basketball team followed suit on Friday with a 96-88 win over Colorado State-Pueblo. A win Sunday would have given every UCCS team that plays its games in the facility a win in its Lions' Den swan song.

But that was not to be as the Mountain Lions opened, as has been their habit all season, painfully slow.

UCCS made only two of its first 15 field goal attempts, allowing it to reach the seemingly mandatory double-digit deficit at 7:17 of the first half when a Heidi Larson layup made it 20-9. The slow-starting Mountain Lions have now trailed by double digits in the first half of seven of its 10 games this season.

UCCS answered with an 8-2 run to cut the gap to five, but missed its final nine field goal attempts to allow the lead to swell back to nine (26-17) at the intermission. For the period, the Mountain Lions shots an impossibly poor 18.2 percent from the field.

The 17 points was the lowest single-half output this season for UCCS. It was also the lowest point total in a half by the Mountain Lions since Dec. 29, 2007 when they scored only 12 in the first half of a 68-47 loss at Concordia-St. Paul.

Sunday's lead was 11 with 17:22 remaining when the Vikings went on a 14-4 run to push it to 21 at the 9:52 mark.

Caitlyn Wojahn led Valley City State with 15 points and five assists. Abby Rittenhouse added 14 points, while Larson had 10. Limon High School graduate Amanda Brown had eight points and six rebounds in her Colorado homecoming.

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