|Posted February 26, 2010|
Pack moves to within a win of likely home playoff game
CSU-Pueblo 81, Mesa State 60
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - CSU-Pueblo stepped up in resounding fashion Friday night, downing Mesa State 81-60 and moving very close to hosting a home playoff game to open the RMAC Shootout.
The Pack improves to 17-9 with the win, a half-game behind second-place Adams State in the RMAC West Division. If CSU-Pueblo can snag a win Saturday night at Western State, the ThunderWolves will likely host a home playoff game with the Grizzlies. The only way Adams State will win the right to host, barring a CSU-Pueblo loss to Western State, is if Colorado Christian, Colorado Mines and New Mexico Highlands all win their Saturday night regular season finales.
Ignoring factors they cannot control, CSU-Pueblo took care of its own business Friday, playing one of its more dominant games of the season against the Mavericks. The Pack was untouchable in the first half, never trailing aside from giving up a game-opening three to Mesa State. CSU-Pueblo responded by opening up a 14-3 lead, stretching their advantage to 22 by the end of the first half, 43-21, practically securing the win by halftime.
The Pack benefitted from 10 first-half points by Rachel Espinoza (Jr., Pueblo, Colo.) and a near double-double in the first half alone by Caitlyn Jewell (Sr., Pagosa Springs, Colo.), who busted out for seven points and eight boards in the first frame. Jewell finished the contest with one of her best career stat lines, scoring 16 and going for 12 rebounds, securing the double-double while shooting 6-for-10 from the floor.
Also telling the story for the Pack was its impressive day dishing the ball. CSU-Pueblo logged 24 assists, one of the highest single-game team marks in program history. The Pack's point-guard combo of Espinoza and Kendall Babler (So., Rifle, Colo.) was unstoppable, combining for 15 assists between them, going for seven and eight assists, respectively. Defensively, the Pack was solid, out-boarding the Mavericks 41-31.
CSU-Pueblo's regular season finale comes Saturday in Gunnison at Western State against a Mountaineer squad that clinched the RMAC West Division's final playoff spot Friday.