Michelle Ambuul wasn’t going to lose her final game at Massari Arena.
The senior knocked down the go-ahead free throws with 9.4 seconds left in the game as the ThunderWolves won their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout quarterfinal matchup with Metropolitan State College 57-54 to advance to the semifinals for the second consecutive year.
Ambuul missed a 3-point attempt from the right corner, but was fouled after the shot by Roadrunners guard Chelsea Williamson.
“It was pretty scary and honestly I thought I was going to have three free throws, but the ref said it was a one-and-one”, said Ambuul of the pressure situation.
She drained both free throws to give CSU-Pueblo a 55-54 lead. ThunderWolves guard Jonnie Draper stole the ensuing inbounds pass and was fouled with seven seconds remaining in the contest. Draper made her two foul shots to stretch the margin to three points.
Metro State had a good look for a game-tying 3-pointer from the right wing, but Mary Rehfeld deflected the shot to secure the CSU-Pueblo victory.
The ThunderWolves struggled in the second half to score points. Metro State opened the half on a 25-6 run to turn a 10-point deficit into a 48-39 lead with 6:47 left in the game.
“Metro is a really good shooting team and we couldn’t stop them in the second half,” CSU-Pueblo coach Kip Drown said.
CSU-Pueblo shot 3 of 20 during the 13-minute stretch.
“I thought we were getting good looks but we just couldn’t make anything,” Drown said.
Metro State standouts Rae Bean and Megan Sinclair combined for 22 second half points to lead the Roadrunners’ charge. Sinclair finished the game with 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Ambuul led three ThunderWolves’ players in double figures with 15 points.
CSU-Pueblo was outrebounded 25-12 in the second half.
The Pack closed the first half on a 10-3 spurt to take a 33-23 advantage to the locker room.
Rehfeld offset a poor shooting performance from the field by sinkin 6 of 6 free throw attempts. She shot 3 of 16 from the floor. For the game CSU-Pueblo shot 15-for-18 from the charity stripe while Metro State managed to make only 1-of-4 attempts.
The ThunderWolves found a way to win despite being outshot and outrebounded by the Roadrunners. Metro State shot 42 percent from the field, including 15 of 28 in the second half.
But they couldn’t score a point the last 3:55.
CSU-Pueblo held the Roadrunners scoreless for the final 3:55 of the contest, ending the game on a 10-0 run. The ThunderWolves forced five Metro State turnovers during the decisive run and the Roadrunners missed all four of their field goal attempts.
CSU-Pueblo will face top seed Fort Lewis College on Friday at the State Fairgrounds Events Center. The game will tipoff at 2 p.m.
The CSU-Pueblo men advanced to the RMAC Shootout semifinals with its 64-59 road victory over Mesa State College. This marks the first time in school history in which both the men’s and women’s programs have advanced to the RMAC Shootout semifinals in the same season.
The men will face first-place Metro State on Friday following the conclusion of the women’s game.