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Gazette Premium Content Abby Kirchoff ties scoring mark as UCCS earns basketball sweep

by Justin Felisko sports@gazette.com - Updated: February 28, 2014 at 10:35 pm

UCCS junior guard Abby Kirchoff confidently approached the free-throw line with 2 minutes and 17 seconds remaining on Friday with the Mountain Lions clinging to a 77-76 lead against Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference foe Regis.

The 5-foot-11 guard dribbled the ball briefly, hit the first free-throw attempt and later connected on her second with ease to tie the UCCS school record for total points in a season and propel the Mountain Lions (12-13, 11-10) to a 84-81 victory.

The two free throws capped Kirchoff's 10-for-10 performance from the charity stripe, and her 28 points, as she continued to cement herself among the UCCS greats by tying Jennine Sauter's 2005-06 program record 542 points.

"I didn't even know. My mom just texted me that," Kirchoff said. "That's pretty awesome. It's an honor. It's crazy. I never thought it was going to happen."

Just over a minute later, Jessika Kienitz - who scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half - made it 81-76 on a deep jumper from the left side.

Kellie Krueger also had a strong second half and finished with 18 points.

Kirchoff's free throws also helped the Mountain Lions extend their winning streak to four games as they look to qualify for the RMAC postseason for a second consecutive year. UCCS is tied with Black Hills State for seventh in the conference, but sits only one game back of fourth place.

Mesa Ridge graduate Brandi Collins finished with 10 points and six assists for the Rangers.

The UCCS men's team held off an upset bid by Regis and extended its program-record winning streak to 10 games by defeating the Rangers 76-73.

Derrick White (25 points) was called for a charge with 20.8 seconds remaining, but showed composure at the other end of the court to draw a foul on Regis' Corbin Green with 11 seconds to go.

Tim Billingsley then made two free throws with eight seconds remaining and Jarrett Green's game-tying 3-point attempt went in and out at the buzzer.

"It was wild," White said. "I didn't think it was a charge, but I knew they were going to come at me. Jarrett Green had been killing us all game so I just tried to get a stop.

"This helps us learn how to finish games, like we made free throws and a lot of stuff that we need to do in the playoffs if we want to succeed."

The Mountain Lions (19-6, 16-5) have already clinched the RMAC's No. 3 seed and will host their first home playoff game in program history on Tuesday.

Coach Jeff Culver agreed that UCCS may have lacked some urgency without having anything to play for against Regis (7-19, 4-17); however, he was proud that his team held off the Rangers.

"It's a classic set up game," Culver said.

Both Mountain Lions' squads host Metro State on Saturday.

"We wanted to determine our own future and we need both these wins to get in the playoffs," Kirchoff said. "We needed the win tonight and tomorrow we definitely need the win."

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