|Posted March 7, 2009|
Deja Vu - Pack takes third RMAC title in four seasons
RMAC Championship: CSU-Pueblo 62, Colorado School of Mines 42
CSU-Pueblo senior wing forward Shandryn Trumble (Sr., Green River, Wyo.) had her share of struggles Saturday night in CSU-Pueblo's RMAC Championship tilt vs. the Colorado School of Mines at the Colorado State Fair Events Center.
Trumble may have scored a total of 15 points for the Pack in the final two rounds of the RMAC Tournament, the last of which the Pack pulled out Saturday with a 62-42 win over the Orediggers. But a big thing was missing from her repertoire - she didn't know how to properly cut down a basketball net, a rite of passage the Pack players took part in after earning their third RMAC title in four seasons.
Luckily for Trumble, her teammates have had quite a bit of experience in the subject of cutting down nets.
In a game that was hardly ever in doubt, CSU-Pueblo preyed on poor shooting by an Orediggers team that was victimized by 25 turnovers compared to just nine by the ThunderWolves. CSU-Pueblo shot just 32.8 percent from the field, but it was much higher than Mines' 28 percent from the floor.
Despite CSU-Pueblo's dominance of Mines, the game wasn't without its drama, and unfortunately so.
A head-on second half collision between Mines' Brecca Gaffney and Peanut Eickelman, arguably Mines' top two players, stopped the game for 20 minutes as both were tended to. Eickelman emerged from the collision to walk off under her own power, but Gaffney was carted off the court, leaving all in attendance with heavy hearts as both teams prayed for her recovery. But unfortunately, the game had to continue, and for better or worse, the Pack emerged from the emotional stoppage in play with control of the game.
Already leading by ten, CSU-Pueblo relied on big threes down the stretch by Michelle Ambuul (Sr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Amanda Bartlett (So., Kiowa, Colo.), who was an all-tournament selection after leading all scorers with 17 points.
A complete ownership of the lane by point guard Rachel Espinoza (So., Pueblo, Colo.), the eventual RMAC shootout MVP, helped to take the Orediggers out of their game.
The Pack's third RMAC championship win in four seasons sends them to the NCAA Division II national tournament once again, this time with high hopes of getting higher than an eighth-seed in the Central Region tournament, a seed the Pack had been relegated two each of its previous two trips to the big show.
CSU-Pueblo set school records with wins (it is now 22-8 in 2008-09) and boasts wins over two top-ten teams this season (No. 4 Fort Lewis in the RMAC semifinals, No. 9 Quincy (IL) in November). The ThunderWolves entered the weekend ranked eighth in the Central region.
The Pack will find out its tournament fate Sunday night, when the NCAA will announce the field of 64 in the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Selection show, which streams online at 7 p.m. MST on NCAA.com.
The 2009 Central Regional Tournament will be held March 13, 14 and 16. The top seed from tomorrow night's selection call will host the tournament. Each of the eight regional winners will advance to the Elite Eight March 24, 25 and 27 in San Antonio, Texas.
2009 RMAC Shootout All-Tournament Team
MVP - Rachel Espinoza, CSU-Pueblo
Mary Rehfeld, CSU-Pueblo
Amanda Bartlett, CSU-Pueblo
Brecca Gaffney, Colorado Mines
Savannah Afoa, Colorado Mines
Alison Rosel, Fort Lewis