Mountain Lions fall to New Mexico Highlands

By Chris Spomer published January 29, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS - Sammi Gentile's 20 points and nine rebounds weren't enough to keep the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs from falling 77-68 to the New Mexico Highlands Cowgirls Saturday evening at the Gallogly Events Center.

Lauren Wolfinger added 15 points for the Mountain Lions, who slipped to 7-12 overall and 6-9 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Danielle Brown had 12 points while Jessica Brown had a team-best four assists.

New Mexico Highlands (10-12, 6-9 RMAC) was led by Briana Gholston's 23 points, with Whitley Coca and China Smith added 18 and 15 points respectively. Coca grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and Gholston had four assists.

The teams had comparable shooting percentages and were even on turnovers. The decisive factor proved to be the Cowgirls' 46-34 advantage on the boards.

"Their big rebounders are their guards," said assistant coach Dave Lahnert. "We were aware that their guards crash the boards and are very, very active. They did exactly what we expected them to do, we just did not match that intensity."

New Mexico Highlands scored the game's first eight points and never trailed. A pair of Gentile free throws cut the gap to 15-12, but the Cowgirls responded with a 14-2 run, the first eight of those points by Gholston and Smith.

"We did not get off to a good start," said coach Lahnert. "They came out and they got off to a great start, I think at the ten minute mark we were down fifteen. We just didn't bring it tonight."

The Mountain Lions scored the next nine points to close to 29-23 but, again, Highlands answered. This time, a 10-4 run gave the Cowgirls a 42-29 lead with just 29 seconds remaining. A Payden Ackerman 3-pointer made the score 42-32 at the intermission.

UCCS scored the first six points of the second half to cut the gap to four. Shortly afterward, Gentile converted a three-point play to pull the Mountain Lions to within one at 46-45 with 14:54 remaining.

That's as close as it would get. The Cowgirls increased their advantage slowly and methodically by repeatedly going to Coca, Gholston and Smith. UCCS made a mini-run to get back to within six but, with just 43 seconds remaining, it was too late. The Cowgirls hit their free throws from there out and didn't let the Mountain Lions get any closer.

Ashley Miller and Jeri Pikul each had 2 blocks and combined for 10 rebounds and eight points. Pikul also had two steals.

Following his intensity comment, Coach Lahnert stated, "When there was a free ball, they would go get it and we wouldn't. We also struggled with our guards boxing out their guards and that really was the difference in the game."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Sammi GentileSammi Gentile30FJr
Sammi GentileSammi Gentile33FFr.
Sammi GentileSammi Gentile30FSo.
Jeri PikulJeri Pikul24GJr
Jeri PikulJeri Pikul23GFr
Jeri PikulJeri Pikul24GSo
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