UCCS Mountain Lions restore roar with sweep of Black Hills

By: BENN FARRELL sports@gazette.com
January 24, 2014 Updated: January 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm
photo - Abby Kirchoff, shown here scoring against New Mexico Highlands on Dec. 20, led tthe UCCS women with 19 points in Friday's victory over Black Hills State.  (Kent Nishimura, The Gazette)
Abby Kirchoff, shown here scoring against New Mexico Highlands on Dec. 20, led tthe UCCS women with 19 points in Friday's victory over Black Hills State. (Kent Nishimura, The Gazette) 

It had been two weeks since the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs last saw a win.

After a sweep by the men's and women's teams against Black Hills on Friday, however, there's a new roar on their home court.

The Mountain Lions women (6-10, 5-7 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) ended their streak with a 71-60 win over the Yellow Jackets (10-6, 9-3), which were tied for second in the conference entering Friday.

The men prevailed 81-52.

For the women, junior guard Abby Kirchoff finished with 19 points.

UCCS coach Corey Laster said the Mountain Lions defense lacked in the first half but adjusted in the second.

Offensively, he said there was much improvement from last week.

"We're starting to respond to things we are trying to do well," Laster said. "But there is still another level for us."

Black Hills scoring leader Chelsey Biegler put up seven points in the first 10 minutes of the first period but Mountain Lions defense soon shut the junior guard down.

In the second period, Sammi Gentile got hot under the bucket to maintain the Mountain Lions' 7-point spread into the final 10 minutes.

"We kept pushing in transition and in post," Gentile said. "This was the first time we put two halves together."

UCCS was able to fight off Black Hills' late full-court press for the win, snapping its two-week losing streak.

"We've been capable of this all year," Laster said. "We've been having to bounce back with a win at home. We've been in the few loses we've had recently, but our execution is getting better."

The UCCS men improved to 10-6 overall and 7-5 in the RMAC.

The Mountain Lions found their rhythm at the end of the first period and were able to extand the lead to 10.

Sophomore guard and scoring leader Derrick White led the team with 29 points and he added two steals. Sophomore forward Dalton Patten who had been quiet earlier finished the period with four drops from the floor.

Black Hills (7-9, 5-7) began to cut the UCCS lead, but a buzzer beater from freshman guard TreShawn Wilford, who had six rebounds in the period, gave the Mountain Lions a 36-28 halftime lead.

"Offensively, we just continued what we did against Colorado Christian last Saturday," coach Jeff Culver said. "We scored 100 points in that game, but defensively we didn't have the same effort. This time, we had the extra effort from our defense as well as our offense. We really needed that to happen in the last three games."

Patten and Wilford each had 12 points. Wilford led in rebounds with nine.

Culver said the team had let things slide over the last couple weeks.

"Those last three games really shaped our practices," he said. "It was nice to see them come in with a different defensive chip on their shoulders."

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