The Paw Print
The Adams State College Grizzlies women’s basketball won again on Saturday night, defeating the arch rival Western State College Mountaineers 69-64 in a game that reduces their magic number to two games in the hunt for the privilege to host a home playoff game for the first time since the 1982 season.
Junior guard Vera Jo Bustos continued the dominating play she has had over the Mountaineers during the course of her ASC career, scoring a game-high 24 points and pulling down seven rebounds. In six career games against the Mountaineers, Bustos has averaged 21.5 points.
Sophomore forward Kelsie Kruger had 12 points, junior guard Crystal Loch posted another solid game off the bench with 10 points, and junior forward Kendra Coveal had a solid 8-point, 10-rebound effort.
The Mavericks were led in the scoring column by freshman forward Katie Hall, who had 16 points and sophomore guard Nikki Trujillo with 13 points. Senior forward Kristen Forbes had 11 points on a dismal 2-for-12 shooting performance, but converted 7-of-8 free throws.
The Grizzlies jumped out to an imposing 42-26 lead at halftime following a slow-paced, foul-plagued first half that saw the Grizzlies sink 10 free throws in comparison to the 15 free throws converted by the Mountaineers. The key difference in the half was in shooting percentages, as the Grizzlies knocked down 56 percent of their shots while the Mountaineers struggled from the field, hitting only five shots as a part of their paltry 19.2 percent success rate.
The Mountaineers knocked the lead down to nine points with 11:21 left in the game before the Grizzlies brought the lead back up to 13 on back-to-back jumpers from Loch and Kruger, forcing the Mountaineers to call a timeout with 10:22 remaining.
The Mountaineers came storming out of the timeout, as Trujillo scored 10 of her 13 points on a 16-4 run that culminated in the Mountaineers taking a 59-58 lead with 3:08 remaining after Trujillo’s third 3-pointer of the game.
The momentum wouldn’t belong to the Mountaineers for long, as the Grizzlies came back and scored four points in a row on a Bustos mid-range jumper and two Coveal free throws to take the lead for good.
With the loss the Mountaineers dropped to 9-16 overall and 7-10 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play.
The Grizzlies improved to 19-5 overall and 13-4 in the RMAC, and simultaneously inched closer to their first 20-win season in 25 years while guaranteeing a showdown with the Colorado State University – Pueblo ThunderWolves in a playoff game on March 2. The site is to be determined, but the Grizzlies still control their destiny heading into the final games of the season this week at Plachy Hall.