The game was right in the hands of the Colorado State University-Pueblo women’s basketball team before #6 ranked Fort Lewis College snatched it away for a 64-59 victory Saturday night at Massari Arena.
The Skyhawks got all they could handle from the ThunderWolves who played a back and forth game all night. The game featured six lead changes and 11 ties with the ThunderWolves leading the game all the way until 3:56 remained in the second half.
“We had the game where we wanted it. We just couldn’t finish the job, but we got to go back and get better because our season is far from over,” said coach Kip Drown.
The Pack had its opportunities late in the game to come out with the victory. A jumper by junior guard Rachel Espinoza, who was also fouled on the play, cut the Ft. Lewis lead to 57-55 with the help of a free throw.
With 2:09 remaining in the game Ft. Lewis set up in their own end up by two points. The Pack forced a miss from senior forward Audrey George but the rebound was picked up by senior guard Laura Haugen, who helped extend the Skyhawks possession.
After a Ft. Lewis timeout, again the ThunderWolves were able to force two misses from the Skyhawks that were both consequently rebounded by Ft. Lewis to extend their possession and eat up one minute on the clock.
“All you can do is simply tip your hat and say they’re a great basketball team and when it was on the line they made the play and we didn’t make it,” Drown said.
With the game extended by three offensive rebounds, Haugen was able to find an opening to knock down a 3-pointer to put the Skyhawks up 60-55.
The Pack was able to cut the deficit to three with a lay-up by freshmen forward Katrina Selsor, but a 3-pointer from Haugen all but sealed things up for the Skyhawks.
Ft. Lewis was dominant on the boards, outrebounding the Pack 43-25. The Skyhawks were also able to get to the charity stripe seven more times, which was all the difference in a five-point game.
“They made the big plays tonight, and even with someone in their face they made some huge shots,” Espinoza said.
Senior post player Allison Rosel and Mackey led the Skyhawks with 22 points each.
Espinoza turned in a fine game scoring 13 points, a little under her season average of 15.6 points per game. She was also able to net career high totals in assists, nine, and steals, seven.
“Hopefully we can regroup from this, finish the season strong, and see them again,” Espinoza said.