|Posted February 13, 2010|
Win slips away against sixth-ranked Fort Lewis
No. 6 Fort Lewis 64, CSU-Pueblo 59
The ThunderWolves narrowly missed out on a monumental win Saturday as sixth-ranked Fort Lewis used a late surge to rally over CSU-Pueblo and win 64-59.
The ThunderWolves, fresh off a win over Adams State last night, are once again tied with the Grizzlies for second place in the RMAC West Division standings at 11-4.
The Pack played strong against the Skyhawks, holding a 32-30 halftime lead. But a would-be clash of the RMAC titans turned into a slopfest in the second half, as each team had lapses, committing 13 turnovers each. CSU-Pueblo ended the game with 23 turnovers and Fort Lewis had 24.
Since both teams had trouble getting up the court, the game remained a back-and-forth affair until midway through the half. CSU-Pueblo used a 9-2 run to get up by six, 47-41, at the 10:29 mark.
But slowly, missed shots by the ThunderWolves in key situations allowed Fort Lewis to slowly whittle down the lead. By the 3:56 mark, Fort Lewis retook the lead and kept it, using two big three-pointers down the stretch to keep the Pack out of striking distance.
The Fort Lewis comeback undid one of the finest games in the career of Rachel Espinoza (Jr., Pueblo, Colo.). Despite scoring under her season average and netting 12 points, she recorded a career-high nine assists, the most assists by a ThunderWolf since 2000, and also set a career-high in steals with seven.
With the loss, though, CSU-Pueblo is likely still in good shape in the NCAA Division II Central Region rankings. The Pack will likely get a bump up the rankings on virtue of Friday's defeat of third-ranked Adams State, which could help the Pack claim an at-large bid to the National Tournament in March.
The Pack will have a four-game road swing before the playoffs begin Mar. 2.