The Adams State Grizzlies women’s basketball team gave the Air Force Academy Falcons everything they could handle on their home court but ultimately fell short at the end, dropping the opening campaign of the 2009-2010 season by a final score of 65-59 on Tuesday night at Clune Arena.
The Falcons could not establish a large lead throughout the course of the game, never extending their lead to more than nine points in the second half. But they squashed two late rallies by the Grizzlies that got the score to within one possession by connecting on 9 of 10 free throws in the final minutes of the game that proved to be enough to seal the victory. It was the first win of the season for the Division I Falcons, after losing their first two games.
Junior guard Raimee Beck recorded her first career double-double for the Falcons, with 15 points to go along with her game-high 11 rebounds. Beck also recorded six assists.
Junior forward Kendra Coveal had a fine game for the Grizzlies, contributing 17 points and six rebounds, including five rebounds on the offensive glass. Junior guard Vera Jo Bustos added 12 points, and moved into fifth place on ASC’s Division II era career scoring list with 865 points for her career so far. Bustos now stands only seven points behind former teammate Laurel Mortensen for fourth place.
Sophomore forward Kelsie Kruger, an Alamosa High School grad and daughter of Coach Kelly Kruger, played a solid game in her first game action in over a year, hauling down nine rebounds to go with nine points from the field. Kruger missed all of last season due to injuries.
The Grizzlies started the game strong and jumped out to an early lead. The Falcons would not take the lead until the 13:12 mark of the first half. The score remained close until the 5:18 mark in the first half when the Falcons capped off a 15-2 run that extended the lead to 12 points, 29-17. The Grizzlies whittled the lead down to eight points at halftime, 33-25.
The Grizzlies opened the second half on a 9-2 run that brought the score to 35-34, but steady shooting by the Falcons progressively brought the lead back to nine points before some sharp shooting by Bustos and junior Division I transfer and former University of Northern Colorado Bear Paige Ricker brought the Grizzlies within three points with 8:05 remaining in the game.
The Falcons shot very well throughout the game, hitting 45.2 percent of their shots for the game, including an impressive conversion rate of 54.5 percent in the first half. The Falcons also connected on 23 of 31 free throws, for 74.2 percent.
The Grizzlies moved within two points when Coveal hit one of two from the charity stripe with 7:07 remaining, but could not get any closer, as the Falcons continued their solid shooting from the field and from the free throw line to seal the 6-point victory.
The Grizzlies now move on to play Northern New Mexico on Friday night and Oklahoma Panhandle State on Saturday night as a part of the Adams State Bankers Classic. UC-Colorado Springs is also participating. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. at Plachy Hall for both games.