The Colorado State University-Pueblo women’s basketball team finally found its form on their home court Friday night. Granted it wasn’t until very late in the first half, but they showed signs of the team that went to NCAA Division II National Tournament last year.
After what head coach Kip Drown repeatedly shouted as “embarrassing” early in the game, the Pack proved their dominance in a 74-55 win over University of the Southwest at Massari Arena.
“You have to play the game the same regardless,” Drown said about playing down to their opponents. “I’m just disappointed in our effort. It’s a shame.”
The USW women’s basketball team is in its first year of existence, and it was clear in the first 15 minutes the ThunderWolves took their opponent lightly.
“We definitely did take them lightly. We didn’t come to play,” sophomore Amanda Bartlett said.
CSU-Pueblo, with what had to have been close to a 5-inch advantage at every position, had a poor performance on the glass. The Mustangs only had one player, Amy Gates, over 5-foot-8-inches, and she was often taking shots from behind the arc. Despite all this the two teams battled to a tie in the rebounds category.
“You look at the rebounds at 42-42, and then you look at the roster and their team’s height, and it just doesn’t add up,” said Drown who was confused about his team’s lack of effort on the boards.
Bartlett was the team’s lone bright spot in the opening minutes as she scored CSU-Pueblo’s first seven points of the game. The 6-foot forward had her coming out party with a team-high, career-high 19 points and six rebounds in her first start of the season.
Fellow sophomore, Rachel Espinoza, joined her housemate in the points category with 12 in the first half to lead her team at the break. She finished with 16 points, four steals and four assists.
Caitlyn Jewell came off the bench and provided the some strength on the glass for the Pack as she grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. She also scored 16 points.
Sirena Medrano was the main threat for the Mustangs coming into the game. She averaged 22.7 points per contest before Friday night. The junior from Texas scored a team-high 19 points.
The win puts CSU-Pueblo at 5-1 on the season as the team concludes the tournament with a matchup today against Texas-Permian Basin at 6 p.m.
“We have a chance to redeem ourselves,” senior Mary Rehfeld said. “We need to prove to ourselves and to everyone that we’re a much better team than what we showed tonight.”