CSU-Pueblo women to face tough first round opponent


 The RMAC Shootout champions will travel to Minnesota this week.

Colorado State University-Pueblo earned a sixth seed in the Division II national tournament’s central region and will play third-seed Winona State University. CSU-Pueblo’s sixth seed is the highest in school history.

The first round matchup is scheduled to tipoff at 2 p.m. on Friday on the Minnesota State University-Mankato campus.

rachel-cheering-on.jpgCSU-Pueblo won its last eight games of the season establishing a new school record for victories in a season (22).

ThunderWolves sophomore point guard Rachel Espinoza, a first team all-RMAC west division selection, leads the Pack in scoring and assists, averaging 13.9 points and 3.5 assists per game.

Winona St. is 23-6 overall and finished Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play in second place with a 15-5 mark.

The Warriors are led by Ana Wurtz and Jenny Steffen.

Wurtz leads the Warriors attack, averaging 16.1 points per game. The 3-point specialist shot 44 percent from beyond the arc on 86-of-194 attempts and entered the NSIC postseason tournament ranked fifth in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage.

The Warriors are the third-ranked 3-point shooting team in Division II women’s basketball, knocking down 41 percent of their attempts.

Steffen, a senior guard, averages 14.4 points per game and shot 89 percent from the free throw line this season.

CSU-Pueblo is the third RMAC team Winona St. has faced this season. The Warriors played Adams State College and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in November, winning both games by an average of 30 points. Winona St. ended the regular season on a 10-game winning streak, but was upset on its home floor in the NSIC tournament semifinals.

CSU-Pueblo is one of three RMAC teams competing in the central region.

The University of Nebraska-Kearney and Fort Lewis College each earned at-large bids. Kearney is seeded fourth and Fort Lewis is second. Should the ThunderWolves and Skyhawks each win their first round contests, the teams would matchup in the second round. CSU-Pueblo upset highly-ranked Fort Lewis 83-65 in the Shootout semifinals Friday.