Mountain Lions score school-record 109 points in win over Panhandle State

By Doug Fitzgerald published November 25, 2011

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The University of Colorado Colorado Springs set a new school record by scoring 109 points Friday afternoon in a 109-98 victory over the Oklahoma Panhandle State Aggies in the first game of the 2011 Clarion Inn Thanksgiving Classic at Colorado Mesa's Brownson Arena.
The previous high score by a UCCS women's basketball team was 102 against Fort Lewis on Jan. 28, 1994. Other records fell as well. The Mountain Lions' 41 field goals made broke the previous mark of 39 set on Feb. 27, 2009 against Regis. UCCS also grabbed 60 rebounds, breaking the previous mark of 59 set on Nov. 18, 1995 against New Mexico Highlands.
The Mountain Lions also had six players score in double figures, matching a school record that was last accomplished on Feb. 27, 2009 in a 106-101 loss to Regis. Friday's shootout was also the most points scored against a UCCS women's basketball team since that same Regis game.
Sammi Gentile led UCCS (3-1) with 18 points and 13 rebounds.  Abby Kirchoff was next on the list with 16 points, followed by Danielle Brown, Ashley Miller and Sam Patterson, each with 12. Lauren Wolfinger finished the double-digit list with 11.
Patterson and Danielle Brown each added seven of the Mountain Lions' record rebounds total.
Jeri Pikul and Miller each had four of UCCS' 27 assists which, by the way, was one short of the school record. Jessica Brown had four steals and Miller blocked three shots.
"It was a different kind of game but I think we handled it pretty well," said Gentile, who recorded UCCS' first double-double of the season. "It wasn't what we were used to dealing with but we pulled through."
Quinae Thomas led five Aggies in double figures with 16 points. Carmela Garcia was also outstanding for OPSU (0-4) with 14 points, five assists and four steals.
Mountain Lions coach Corey Laster found himself in the unique position of having broken the school scoring and rebounding records and being less that happy with the game.
"I would have much rather played better defense," he said. "Yeah, we scored a lot of points and had a lot of easy layups, but we definitely didn't play defense tonight."
Panhandle State runs a version of the Grinnel system, pressing and trapping the entire length of the court. Offensively, the first open shot goes up with the philosophy being that the goal of any offense is to break down the defense. Shooting before the defense sets up accomplishes the same goal.
The result of the frenetic style of play is that they create lots of turnovers but also give up a high shooting percentage since the constant trapping often results in layups on the other end. The scores of a game played in that style are also notoriously high.
All of those tendencies were in full evidence Friday. OPSU forced 29 turnovers, which was just 1.4 above its season average.  Half of the Aggies' field goal attempts were from 3-point range, though their 34.1 percent conversion rate was 11.7 percentage points above their season norm. UCCS' rebound total was reflective largely of the sheer number of shots (165) attempted and the Mountain Lions shot a season-best 53.2 percent from the field.
"We knew about the Grinnel system, which is what they run, in terms of trying to shoot a lot of threes and that the pressure was going to force us to play fast," said Laster. "You really can't run any kind of an offense against it."
"I thought this game was going to hit upon a lot of our weaknesses; things that we've got to get better at. We held on the win the basketball game, which I'm really happy for. We played well in spurts. That's exactly what I thought might happen but was hoping to avoid. We can learn a lot from what we saw."
What everyone else saw was jailbreak basketball. OPSU sprinted up and down the floor by choice; UCCS did so by necessity. Once they broke free from the trapping defense, the Mountain Lions had no choice by to sprint in order to avoid being trapped again. Pass midcourt and there's a two-on-one opportunity waiting.
Because of the flow of play, UCCS, a good 3-point shooting team, attempted just four of them. The only thing that could stop the sprint-fest was the whistle, and there were plenty of those. Fifty-five fouls were called, resulting in 65 free throw attempts.
"There were a ton of fouls called in this game, so there was no rhythm to it whatsoever," said Laster. "I think that took both teams out of what we wanted to do."


UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Sammi GentileSammi Gentile30FSo.
Sammi GentileSammi Gentile33FFr.
Sammi GentileSammi Gentile30FJr
Jeri PikulJeri Pikul23GFr
Jeri PikulJeri Pikul24GJr
Jeri PikulJeri Pikul24GSo
Abby KirchoffAbby Kirchoff20GSo
Abby KirchoffAbby Kirchoff20GSo
Sam PattersonSam Patterson32F/CSo
Sam PattersonSam Patterson32F/CSo
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