Pack denied RMAC history as hot-shooting Griffins hand CSU-Pueblo its first loss

Pack denied RMAC history as hot-shooting Griffins hand CSU-Pueblo its first loss

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (February 10, 2017)   Colorado State University-Pueblo had entered the gym 24 times in 2016-17 and 24 times, the Pack left with a win. For weeks it looked like  a team needed to play a perfect game to beat the No.3 ranked ThunderWolves. Saturday night, Westminster College played that perfect game as they stopped the Pack's historic win streak at 24, handing CSU-Pueblo its first loss in 11 months, 85-81.

With their loss to the Griffins, the Pack was unable to match the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's record for consecutive wins at 25. However, the ThunderWolves still have a share of the RMAC's Regular Season Championship, a 24-1 record, and an 18-1 mark in conference games. Following their upset win, Westminster stands 9-13 (6-12 RMAC).

Three-pointers proved to be the difference in the game. The Griffins shot 14-of-27 (51.9 percent) from downtown. Without leading scorer and 3-point shooter Tuileisu Anderson (Jr., Vancouver, Wash.) the ThunderWolves could only make 7-of 29 (24.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

Jaszymn Johnson (Sr., Denver, Colo.)scored 18 points for the Pack. She would sink 8-of-8 at the free throw lie. Johnson grabbed a career-best 15 rebounds. Her 15 rebounds set a season-high for the Pack. Defensively, Johnson contributed one block and two steals.

Molly Rohrer (So., Greenwood Village, Colo.) also totaled 18 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the field. She finished with one more block and now has 55 rejections this season.

Junior Taylor Long (Moreno Valley, Calif.) scored 14 points hitting 4-of-9 from the floor. Long swished 3-of-6 from downtown. She came away with two steals for the Pack.

Point guard Katie Cunningham (Jr., Aurora, Colo.) scored 10 points for the Pack, making 4-of-7 from the field and a pair of free throws. She pulled down eight rebounds and dished out five assists.

Lauren Heyn (So., Loomis, Calif.) tacked on 11 points on 5-11 shooting from the field. Heyn led the Pack with two blocks. She pulled down four rebounds.

Coming off the bench, freshman Khiya Adams (Falcon, Colo.) scored a career-high seven points, including five in the fourth quarter. Adams was perfect shooting the ball, making 2-of-2 from the field and 1-of-1 from beyond the arc. She also swished 2-of-2 at the line.

The Pack began the game with a 7-0 run that made it look the like the ThunderWolves would cruise to victory. However, Westminster answered with a seven-point run of its own to tie the game. Four consecutive points put the Pack up 11-7. After a Westminster 3-pointer, the Pack would close the quarter on another 7-0 swing to take an 18-10 lead after one.

A Long 3-pointer in the opening minute of the second quarter gave the Pack its largest lead of the game at 21-10. The Griffins would chip away at the Pack's lead, cutting the deficit to 37-33 at halftime.

In the second half, the Griffins upset dreams became reality as they took the lead, 50-47, midway through the third quarter. Six consecutive points for the Pack put them up 53-50. It would be the Pack's last lead of the game. The Griffins ended the quarter on a 10-2 that gave them a 60-55 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Pack trimmed the Griffins lead to 62-61 thanks to a Johnson 3-pointer. However, a 9-1 run for the Griffins made it a 71-62. Westminster would lead by as many as 11 at 77-66.

CSU-Pueblo used a 12-4 run to climb back within three. However, the Pack would not get closer as the Griffins would pull off the 85-81 upset win. The loss is the Pack's first true road loss in over a year as they had not lost on the road since Jan. 23, 2016.

Though they will not have the RMAC's record for consecutive wins, the Pack already has a share of the 2016-17 RMAC Championship. CSU-Pueblo will have a chance to clinch their first outright conference title since 1987-88 with a win in their final home regular season game Saturday Feb. 18 when they face Colorado Christian University at 5:30 p.m.

The Pack's showdown with the Cougars will also be Senior Night at Massari Arena. CSU-Pueblo Athletics will celebrate the careers of the four women's basketball seniors and three men's basketball seniors.

– 30 –

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