Mountain Lions bounce back with victory Western New Mexico

By Alex Cramer published December 17, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo -- Abby Kirchoff continues to make significant contributions as a freshman as she had a career-high 23 points helping the University of Colorado Colorado Springs knock-off Western New Mexico 67-44 Saturday night at the Gallogly Events Center.

Kirchoff wasted no time getting started either as she had the Mountain Lions first 11 points as they jumped out to an 11-3 lead early.

"Abby is just a fireball," said UCCS senior Ashley Miller. "When she gets going she's just a spark that really ignites our team and gets us going."

Kirchoff did most of her damage early, pouring in 19 points in the first-half due largely to her ability to get to charity strip where she went 8-12 on the night. Her seven rebounds and three assists only added to her performance in which she played only 21 minutes due to the large UCCS lead in the second-half.

Western New Mexico's continually packed the middle and kept UCCS out of the paint but the Mountain Lions responded by making their living off the jump-shot.

"A lot of people have been zoning us, which we have actually really struggled with lately, but we hit some outside shots that kind of got us going," said Miller. "Overall I thought our outside shooting tonight was really good."

UCCS (33 percent on 3-pointers) shot just slightly better from behind the arc on the night  than their season average of 27 percent but ended up with a season-high eight 3-pointers going 8-25 as a team.

The UCCS bench also factored heavily into the box score with Lauryn Near pulling down a team high 11 rebounds and Trinidad, Colo native Payden Ackerman adding 12 points.

Heather Hamilton lead the Mustangs (0-9, 0-6 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) in scoring (12) and rebounding (8) while Amanda Tucker chipped in nine points and a team-high two assists.  

The win salvaged a weekend split that saw UCCS' home record improve to 2-1 on the young season.

"I definitely thought it was a game that we should have won, they were missing a kid that's a pretty good scorer for them, as well as the fact that they've really been struggling as a team. And to some extent for me I was looking for the team to bounce back," said Laster.

"I think our next challenge coming back from Christmas is how to play up to our level no matter who we're playing against and definitely know when we're playing against a good team we're bringing it but we just kind of struggling to some extent to find some consistencies."

The Mountain Lions (7-4, 3-3 RMAC) next game following the break will be New Year's Eve at 1:00 p.m. Dec. 31 in Pueblo, Colo.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Payden AckermanPayden Ackerman34G
Lauryn NearLauryn Near22FFr
Lauryn NearLauryn Near22FRS
Lauryn NearLauryn Near22FSo
Abby KirchoffAbby Kirchoff20GSo
Abby KirchoffAbby Kirchoff20GSo
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