UCCS Starts 0-18 from Field, Comeback Falls Short Against Winona State
COLORADO SPRINGS- The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs missed its first 18 field goal attempts and could never completely recover as the Mountain Lions dropped a 67-59 decision at the hands of the Winona State Warriors Friday afternoon at the Gallogly Events Center.
The early cold spell allowed Winona State to take a 22-6 lead before UCCS made its first field goal. That margin grew to as many as 20 in the first half before settling at 36-18 at the break.
Freshman Jeri Pikul came off of the bench to score a game-high 15 points for the Mountain Lions (1-3).
"I was just playing my game," said Pikul. "I didn't want to let them shut me down just because I'm a freshman."
Lauren Wolfinger and Danielle Brown contributed 12 and 11 respectively and Wolfinger contributed a game-high three steals. Brown led UCCS with seven rebounds while her sister, Jessica Brown, led all players with five assists.
The Mountain Lions' first six points and eight of their first 10 came via the free throw variety as the Warriors opened up a 24-10 lead. Ashley Miller scored UCCS' first basket at the 5:49 mark in the first half and the Mountain Lions managed to cut the lead to 12 on three separate occasions with the last coming at the 4:15 mark to make it 26-14. Winona went on yet another run, this one 10-4, to close out the half with a 36-18 lead.
UCCS finished the first half a dismal 5-29 from the field and 0-9 on three-point attempts. From then on, however, it was a whole different game.
The Mountain Lions went on a 17-11 run out of the gate in the second half to climb back into within 12 once again. A 3-point basket by Wolfinger cut the margin to 11, but the Warriors answered quickly with a trey of their own.
After trading baskets, a 3-pointer and a quick layup by Pikul trimmed the lead back to 11 and two free throws by Ashley Miller brought the Mountain Lions back to within single digits (nine) for the first time since the 7:36 mark of the first half.
A layup by Jessica Brown got UCCS to within five with 59 seconds left in the game, but two free throws by Winona State after an intentional foul extended the lead back to seven and more solid free throw shooting by the Warriors held off the Mountain Lions comeback.
Wolff led the Warriors with 13 points followed by Natalie Gigler and Michelle McDonald, who each contributed 11. Wolff was also a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line and Michelle Tobin had a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Mountain Lions saw their field goal, 3-point and free throw percentages all climb significantly in the second half. The improved play resulted in the Mountain Lions outscoring the Warriors 41-31.
"I think the difference was a sense of urgency," said Pikul. "We talked about a post presence in the locker room and we brought that in the second half. We should have picked it up more on defense, though, in the second."
Thus far, the opponents UCCS have played boast an impressive 10-2 record, and the Mountain Lions have completed the easy part of the brutal beginning to their schedule. Defending champion Emporia State is on tap Saturday to conclude the 2010 Marriott Mountain Lions Thanksgiving Classic and the team the Hornets beat to win that title, Fort Lewis, comes to town Dec. 3. The Hornets defeated Oklahoma Panhandle State 93-45 in Game 1 of the tournament Friday.
"I'm stoked to get out and show everyone that we can play good basketball and we can play with good teams," said Pikul about playing the defending national champs. "I'm excited to show that."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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