|Posted December 3, 2010|
Pack, Espinoza pull out thriller over Adams State
Espinoza scores six, steals three in final minutes to spur win.
PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Dec. 3, 2010) - CSU-Pueblo gravely needed to start its conference schedule Friday, kicking off against 5-1 Adams State, with a bang.
And in typical ThunderWolf style, they responded with an explosion.
After playing ho-hum basketball for 36 minutes, CSU-Pueblo erased a 10-point lead with 3:36 remaining, many big plays coming on the back of senior point guard, Rachel Espinoza (Sr., Pueblo, Colo.) as the Pack used a 12-1 run, including the to clip Adams State 60-59.
Despite shooting just 25 percent from the field and getting out-rebounded 42-33, CSU-Pueblo relied on simple relentlessness down the stretch.
The Pack halted six straight Adams State possessions, four of which came by turnovers. Three of those turnovers came by way of steal forced by Espinoza, part of her five steals on the night.
Espinoza certainly took the wily Pack team on her Pack in the final 3:36, registering six points, three steals and two assists during the 12-1 run. And of course, it goes without saying that she put in the game-winning layup with four seconds remaining that lifted the Pack to the win. She finished with a game-high 19 points, as well as seven assists, five steals and five boards.
Also notable was the Pack's defensive play, especially in containing the RMAC's Preseason Player of the Year, Vera Jo Bustos. Just a week after claiming Chuck Stephens Classic most valuable player honors at Massari Arena, Bustos was held in check, going just 3-for-10 with seven points. Her biggest contribution were her six assists.
With the win, CSU-Pueblo has a chance to be an unlikely 2-0 with the third-ranked team in the nation, Fort Lewis, coming to town for a showdown Saturday night. CSU-Pueblo will look to defeat a ranked team at Massari Arena for the first time school history.