Late Comeback Falls Short as UCCS Falls to Cowgirls

By Alex Cramer published December 16, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS - Missed opportunities and turnovers ultimately doomed the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Friday evening as they fell to the New Mexico Highlands Cowgirls 67-65 at the Gallogly Events Center.

After being down by as many as 14 points with under eight minutes remaining, the Mountain Lions mounted an impressive comeback that fell only a Lauren Wolfinger 3-pointer short.

"Highlands played a great game but its mainly ourselves and our execution and whether or not we're ready to play and we weren't at the start of the game," said Wolfinger. "When we want to play and everyone's on the same page it's a whole different team."

This was indeed a different team as the Mountain Lions uncharacteristically gave away 15 first-half turnovers. After a turnover-filled first half saw both teams' sloppy play combine for 28 turnovers at the break, the second-half saw UCCS limit their turnover number to three.

Behind a barrage of 3-pointers from New Mexico Highlands' leading scorers Whitley Coca (18 points) and Alyssa Lopez (16) the Cowgirls lead the majority of the second-period as UCCS struggled to score points.

"I thought we struggled to find a combination that was really going to work hard consistently, said UCCS coach Corey Laster. "We finally found it at the end, I think Lauren picked her game up and started playing well for us as well as Danny Brown started to play really well."

Fortunately, senior Danielle Brown provide tonight's dailey-double as she connected on back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Mountain Lions the momentum the had been searching for all night.

Another quick three by Wolfinger and a pair of Jessica Brown free-throws made it 53-51 with 4:45 remaining.

Well placed time-outs by New Mexico Highlands coach Tiffany Darling got the Cowgirls back on track following the 13-1 UCCS run, but Jessica Brown converted an old fashion three-point-play to give UCCS a 62-61 lead with 45 seconds left. Like she had done all night though, Coca immediately hit another jump shot to put the Cowgirls back in front.

The ensuing possession was the Mountain Lions best chance at taking back the lead as Wolfinger had a good look at a 3-pointer that just missed.

Free-throws made up the rest of the game as the two-point win gave New Mexico Highlands (5-4, 1-4 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) its first RMAC win of the young season.

"This is a team we really have struggled with. We lost to them twice last year, and then this year they're struggling to kind of find themselves, haven't found a win in the RMAC and we've been kind of good at giving teams a win," said Laster. "Last year we gave Chadron they're first win and this year we gave Highlands their first win."

Jessica Brown ended the night as the Mountain Lions leading scorer with 17 points and a team high three assists. Danielle Brown (12) and Wolfinger (11) chipped in to the scoring total as well.

The loss continued the Mountain Lions (6-4, 2-3 RMAC) struggles in conference play so far this season.  

"We are the type of team that still doesn't understand how to win consistently," said Laster. "We have enough talent to do it but there's still a struggle of how to get it done, so I thought that situations reared its ugly head for us and we struggled with that all game long."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jessica BrownJessica Brown22GSr.
Jessica BrownJessica Brown22GSr.
Danielle BrownDanielle Brown21GJr.
Danielle BrownDanielle Brown21GSr.
Lauren WolfingerLauren Wolfinger13GSr.
Lauren WolfingerLauren Wolfinger03GFr.
Lauren WolfingerLauren Wolfinger13GSo.
Lauren WolfingerLauren Wolfinger13GJr.
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