The Paw Print
Adams State’s women’s basketball team suffered a difficult 48-37 loss to #1 seed Metropolitan State College of Denver on March 4 in the semifinals of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament. The Grizzlies rose up from a 24-8 halftime deficit to force overtime, but the team unfortunately could not complete the comeback.
The entirety of the game was a defensive battle. Metro State, led by RMAC Coach of the Year Tanya Haave, held Adams State to a dismal eight first half points by playing aggressive and forcing ASC to shoot tough shoots. As a team in the first half, the Grizzlies shot 4-19 from the floor. Turnovers became a frequent problem as well, as Adams State gave the ball away 14 times, many of which were high passes, seemingly due to miscommunications. Metro State played consistently disciplined throughout the half as ASC was not given a single opportunity to shoot a free throw.
Adams State head coach Kelly Kruger accredited the poor offensive outing to the Roadrunner’s defense saying simply, “Metro State does it right.”
The second half was a completely different story. The Grizzlies came out with a defensive passion and allowed only 11 points, which is currently the Roadrunners’ season low for points scored in a half, who shot a disappointing 18.2 field goal percentage. The offensive production improved to 43.5 percent with senior guard Vera Jo Bustos, a unanimous First Team All-Conference Selection, leading the way with 10 points in the half. Bustos had the opportunity to win the game for Adams State in regulation with a 3-point shot as time expired, but the attempt narrowly missed.
In overtime, the morale of Adams State soon declined as Metro State regained their composure and began playing like their usual, intelligent and disciplined selves. The game ended with the Roadrunner’s going on a 13-2 run. The flustered Grizzlies shot 1-11 including Bustos’ seven missed attempts.
After the game, Bustos admitted she was somewhat frustrated in overtime, but kept an optimistic attitude. She plans to come back with a better mindset in time to begin the NCAA Division II Tournament.
A familiar foe awaits the Adams State women’s basketball team which on Sunday was named to the 64-team NCAA Division II Tournament field for the second straight season and just the second time in school history.
The Grizzlies received the news of their selection as the eighth seed in the Central Region while watching the Selection Show live on NCAA.com alongside Grizzly Club members in the Dr. Joe I. Vigil Hall of Fame Room in Plachy Hall. Owner of a 21-9 overall record following its trip to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Shootout semifinals, Adams State will meet up with the region’s No. 1 seed Fort Lewis in the quarterfinal round at Whalen Gymnasium in Durango, Colo. at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 11.
Friday’s meeting will be the first in NCAA tournament action between both teams and will be their third of the season.
The Skyhawks, ranked 4th in the March 1 set of WBCA Division II rankings, earn the region’s No. 1 seed after posting an overall record of 28-2 this season and winning their first RMAC Shootout tournament title in school history by topping league regular season champion Metro State on Saturday afternoon.
Fort Lewis has won the last eight meetings between the two teams dating back to Feb. 2, 2008, and has not been ranked lower than 11th nationally during that time. The Grizzlies last win against FLC came at Plachy Hall on Feb. 17, 2007, as the Grizzlies topped an unranked Skyhawks squad 67-66.
The Central Region’s #8 seed Adams State will commence the tournament in Durango, CO to face off against #1 seed Fort Lewis College, the 2011 RMAC Shootout Champions, in the first round. Their team had one player on each of the three All-Conference teams this year: senior guard Abby Jackson (First Team All-Conference), junior forward Mary Rose Paiz (Second Team All-Conference), and sophomore guard Katerina Garcia (Third Team All-Conference). The Skyhawks won the last eight meetings between these two teams dating back to February 2, 2008, and including both of their two games against the Grizzlies this season, the first with the score being 77-70 on December 11, 2010 and the other taking place on January 29, 2011 resulting in a 78-64 victory for Fort Lewis. The game tips off at 6 p.m. on March 11 in Fort Lewis’ Whalen Gymnasium. In their previous meetings this season, the Skyhawks earned a 77-70 victory over the Grizzlies on Dec. 11 in Durango, and were 78-64 winners on Jan. 29 at Plachy Hall. The Grizzlies have won nine of 10 since their second loss to Fort Lewis.