Turnovers prove costly for UCCS women in loss to Colorado Christian
Kelsie Hert had 16 points and Christina Whitelaw added 15 points and eight steals as the Colorado Christian Cougars took an early lead and never fully relinquished it in a 64-59 victory over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Saturday evening at the Gallogly Events Center.
Whitelaw led a Cougar defense that forced 22 Mountain Lion turnovers, the second most giveaways surrendered by UCCS this season. Those turnovers proved to be the difference as UCCS outshot (42.6 percent to 38.7 percent), outrebounded (35-33) and even made more free throws (14-11).
The Mountain Lions, though, forced only 12 turnovers. That differential meant that Colorado Christian had 62 field goal attempts compared to just 47 for UCCS, more than enough to compensate for the percentage differential.
"We went through it (their press) in practice and walkthroughs, and we knew what to expect," said freshman Sammi Gentile. "We knew what to do, but just didn't do it."
Ashley Miller led UCCS (2-6, 1-3 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) with 12 points. Danielle Brown grabbed a game-high nine rebounds while her twin sister, Jessica Brown, had four assists. Gentile had a solid all around performance, producing career highs with nine points, seven rebounds, two blocked shots, two steals and two assists.
"It was kind of a team thing," said Gentile on her big night. "Being able to have the team around me and having everybody contribute made me feel more confident than I usually do. Our defense was good altogether, so we didn't have to rely on one person."
Gentile has been seeing an increased amount of minutes as of late and has responded with production.
"Practice has helped a lot," said the forward from Salida. "Just running through the plays over and over again at full speed. It's helped with conditioning and playing together and the energy we have together helps a lot.
A ferocious pressure defense caught UCCS off guard to start the game, resulting in four turnovers over the first 3:41 and a 10-2 Cougar lead at the 15:33 mark. The Mountain Lions worked their way back incrementally, finally tying the game at 19 with 7:06 left in the first half.
Colorado Christian responded to the challenge with a 7-0 run, five of those by Stephanie Allen, who finished with 10 points. A Jeri Pikul layup with 19 seconds remaining cut the CCU lead to 29-26 at the intermission.
The Mountain Lions, a team that had been relying on 3-pointers heavily through this part of the season, were a dismal 0-5 from behind the arc in the first half while 10 of their points came from the free throw stripe.
UCCS, however, wasted no time getting back on the 3-point train in the second half Pikul nailed a 3-pointer out of the gate to tie the game at 29. UCCS tied it again at 31 and 38 but could never take the lead. The final tie was at 42 with 9:40 remaining but, shortly thereafter, the Cougars got 3-pointers by Allen and Marissa Nelson to open a 53-46 lead.
A pair of 3-pointers by Miller helped the Mountain Lions to close to within two with six seconds remaining. However, Colorado Christian hit free throws from there to lock up win.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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