CSU-Pueblo evens season series

By Doug Fitzgerald published February 5, 2011

PUEBLO - Just over a month ago, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions handed Colorado State-Pueblo a 21-point loss. Saturday evening at Massari Arena, the Thunderwolves got even.

Behind 22 points by Rachel Espinoza and 18 by Kendall Babler, CSU-Pueblo defeated UCCS 75-69. The duo combined to go 13-for-15 from the field and 12-for-13 from the foul line as the Thunderwolves evened the season series between the teams.

By doing that, the Thunderwolves claimed two points in the Steel & Silver Series. CSU-Pueblo trails the rivalry series between the schools 20-8. Twenty-three points are needed to clinch the Ent Federal Credit Union Trophy for 2010-11.

Erica Hicks added 15 points Saturday for CSU-Pueblo (13-7, 10-6 RMAC). Espinoza had a game-high seven assists while Caiti Forrester had eight rebounds. The Thunderwolves outrebounded UCCS 46-36.

With the loss, UCCS dropped to 7-13 overall and 6-10 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play. The Mountain Lions are now a dismal 1-7 on the road.

Lauren Wolfinger led UCCS with 16 points and four assists. Sammi Gentile added 14 points and Nine rebounds, while Jessica Brown had 13 points. Danielle Brown grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Mountain Lions unfortunate tendency to start slow manifested itself again. UCCS made just four of its first 19 field goal attempts to dig a 19-9 hole through the first half's first 12 minutes. But it didn't end there. After UCCS cut the gap to seven, as the Thunderwolves crafted a 23-11 run to close the period with a commanding 44-25 lead.

CSU-Pueblo outshot UCCS 58.6 percent to 31.4 percent in the first half. Included in those numbers was the Thunderwolves' 7-for-14 performance from 3-point range while UCCS went 0-for-7.

An 11-4 start to the second half gave the Thunderwolves their largest lead, 26 points, with just over four minutes expired. Five different players scored as the Mountain Lions answered with a 12-0 run to cut the gap to 55-41 with 12:01 remaining. Just over five minutes later, a Jeri Pikul 3-pointer got UCCS to within 11 at 59-48.

That's as close as it would get. CSU-Pueblo made eight of its final 10 free throws after going 7-for-20 up to that point.

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