Behind Gentile's career best 22, UCCS tops rival CSU-Pueblo
COLORADO SPRINGS- The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs defeated rival CSU-Pueblo handily Monday night at the Gallogly Events Center. After a slow start by both teams, the Mountain Lions opened up a 17 point lead with 3:11 left in the first half and never looked back as they cruised to a 77-56 win, their largest victory margin of the season.
The Mountain Lions (4-7, 3-4 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) were lead by Sammi Gentile's career high 22 points. Danielle Brown contributed 12 points of her own while her sister, Jessica Brown, added 10. Lauren Wolfinger chipped in 11 while distributing a game high six assists.
To go with her 22 points, the freshman from Salida also grabbed a game high seven rebounds (matching her career high) and set a career high with her game best three steals.
"It was kind of a team effort. Everyone worked together and we kind of fed off each other," said Gentile on her performance. "We did some things on defense too, and that contributed to offense."
Both teams got off to a sluggish start coming out of the holiday break as the first part of the game was tremendously sloppy.
The difference was UCCS' ability to shake off the rust that was holding them back early on, while the Thunderwolves (7-4, 4-3 RMAC) couldn't seem to get things going, finishing the night shooting a dismal 33% from the field and only 2-of-14 from behind the arc.
"I think it was just us coming back from break and trying to get into a groove." said the freshman on the slow start.
With the rust gone around the mid-way point of the first, the Mountain Lions used the play of Gentile to open up a 17 point lead with 3:11 remaining in the half. Gentile had 12 of her 22 points in the first.
The Thunderwolves went on a small run and were able to close the gap to just 10 at the break.
The Mountain Lions came out of the gate strong and with more strong play from Gentile, managed to not let CSU-Pueblo get much closer. In fact, their lead grew and UCCS wanted to work the shot clock and get off a quality shot with as little time on the shot-clock as possible.
They did just that.
The Mountain Lions shot an impressive 56.3% from the field in the second half, with most of their shots coming with less than 10 seconds on the shot clock. The execution in the second half prevented any sort of comeback attempt by the Thunderwolves as UCCS opened its largest lead of the game 68-44 (24 points) with 5:22 remaining.
The teams traded baskets down the stretch to provide the final score, 77-56, and UCCS' largest victory margin of the season (21).
Jessica Brown and Ashley Miller each recorded six rebounds for the Mountain Lions as the team out rebounded CSU- Pueblo 41-28. Wolfinger added two steals and a career high three blocks defensively.
Kendall Babler lead the Thunderwolves offensively with 15 points, while Amanda Bartlett added 14 and Rachel Espinoza 11.
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