WBB: ThunderWolves comeback to knock off defending national champs

WBB: ThunderWolves comeback to knock off defending national champs

DENVER, Colo. (November 12, 2016) –  Down eight entering the final quarter, Colorado State University-Pueblo Women's Basketball fought back to defeat No .11 Lubbock Christian University, 65-61. A 16-of 18 (88.9 percent) performance from the free throw line helped the Pack cap their rally against the defending NCAA D-II National Champion.

Senior Jaszymn Johnson (Denver, Colo.) sparked the Pack with a team-high 15 points off the bench. Johnson grabbed eight rebounds including a late offensive rebound that helped the Pack seal the win. Playing in front of her hometown fans, Johnson hit three 3-pointers. She also drained all four of her free throw attempts including a pair of free throws that clinched the game late in the contest. She scored 8 points in the fourth quarter.

Molly Rohrer (So., Greenwood Village, Colo.) kept the Pack in the game early with 12 points in the first half. Rohrer finished  the game with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. The reigning Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year grabbed nine rebounds and four assists in the win.

Newcomer, Katie Cunningham (Jr., Aurora, Colo.) pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Cunningham also delivered five points. She added five assists and three steals. Through her first two games with the Pack, Cunning ham has averaged 10 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.

Playing with foul trouble, Lauren Heyn (So., Loomis, Calif.) recorded seven points, five rebounds and four assists. Heyn made the defensive stop of the night, blocking a game-tying attempt by Olivia Robertson with seven seconds left in the game.

Juniors Tuileisu Anderson (Vancouver, Wash.) and Taylor Long (Moreno Valley, Calif.) both collected 10 points for the Pack. Anderson hit the Pack's final two free throws to clinch the win for the ThunderWolves with less than a second left on the clock. Long knocked down three 3-pointers.

The Pack dominated the glass, outrebounding the Lady Chaps 45-24. CSU-Pueblo also swished nine 3-pointers on 36.0 percent shooting in the win.

It was a nightmare start for the Pack as they fell behind 7-0 midway through the first quarter. Heyn got the Pack on the board with 5:34 left in the opening frame. Heyn's field goal was one of only three in the first quarter for the ThunderWolves as they fell behind 16-9 after one.

Lubbock Christian took a double-digit lead just over three minutes into the second quarter, 21-11. CSU-Pueblo responded with an 8-0 run that cut the lead to two. With 11 seconds left in the second quarter, the Pack took its first lead of the game on a layup from Rohrer. The ThunderWolves carried a 29-28 lead into halftime.

The Pack's edge reached as many as five, 37-32, just over three minutes into the third quarter. Lubbock bounced back with 16 consecutive points as they took a 48-37 lead with 1:45 left in the third. CSU-Pueblo scored the last three points of the frame to get back within single digits.

Trailing 48-40 entering the final quarter of play, the Pack would not back down from the defending champs. It took over six minutes, but the Pack finally tied the match at 54 on a Cunningham triple. After Lubbock jumped in front by three, Johnson drained another 3-pointer to tie it once again.

Johnson's 3-pointer propelled the Pack to a 7-0 run that put them up 61-57. Heyn and Anderson both knocked down a pair of free throws during this stretch. A layup from Lubbock cut the gap to two with 18 seconds left. After a Pack turnover, the Lady Chaps had a chance to tie the game, but Heyn rejected Robertson's jump shot attempt with seven ticks left on the clock. After recovering the ball, Johnson swished two more free throws to put the Pack up four.

Lubbock scored quickly to make it a two-point lead for the Pack once again. CSU-Pueblo inbounded the ball to Anderson who was promptly fouled. The junior made both shots to close out the Lady Chaps 65-61. Anderson is 10-for-10 from the charity stripe this season.

The Pack now has a 2-0 record early in their 2016-17 season, avenging a loss to Lubbock in 2015-16 in the process. After going unbeaten in 2015-16, the Lady Chaps dropped to 0-2.

CSU-Pueblo will host the University of Alaska Fairbanks Friday at 5 p.m.in their home opener at Massari Arena. Friday's game will be the Pack's first of two in the 33rd Annual Al Kaly Shrine Classic.

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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics