Roadrunners Sneak by Lady Grizzlies With Final Second Shot

Scott Krettzmann
ASC Sports Information

Fourteenth-ranked Metro State overcame a 3-point play from Grizzly senior Crystal Loch  driving the length of the floor in the final six seconds of the contest, and the Roadrunners escaped Plachy Hall with a 54-53 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) victory on Saturday night.
After entering Saturday night tied for sixth in the league standings with CSU-Pueblo, ASC is now alone in seventh place with 12-7 overall and 7-6 RMAC records, and sits one game ahead of Regis University. The Roadrunners, who suffered their first loss of the year Friday night to No. 5 Fort Lewis, are now embattled in a 3-way tie atop the league alongside the Skyhawks and Colorado Christian, each owning 12-1 RMAC records.
CSU-Pueblo and Mesa State, owning identical records of 11-6 overall and 8-5 in league play, sit fourth in the standings which will determine which eight teams advance to the RMAC Shootout at the beginning of March.
Facing their largest mountain to climb of the night, a 14-point second half deficit against the league’s top defensive squad, senior Vera Jo Bustos bucketed three of her team-leading 20 points with 13 minutes, 54 seconds on the clock.
Bustos’ basket was the catalyst for a 17-5 run in favor of the Grizzlies to give them their first lead of the second half, 45-44, after a Bustos layup with 6:40 remaining. Bustos scored eight points during the run, including both of her 3-pointers in the game.
Tawny Drexler put the lead back in the Roadrunners hands on their next possession, and after allowing just one Grizzly basket over the next 4:14, the game’s leading scorer, Jasmine Cervantes, hit jumpers on back-to-back possessions to put Metro State back on top by five (52-47) with a little over two minutes to play.
But with just under a minute remaining, Bustos came up big, coming off a screen from Loch to drain a triple from the right-hand corner, cutting the hole to two points (52-50) with under a minute left.
With 24 ticks on the clock the Grizzlies forced one of the Roadrunners’ 11 turnovers, putting them in position for the final shot of the game.
Loch brought the ball up court, and with the clock showing less than 10 seconds, took her defender 1-on-1, dribbling past her to the right. With a pair of hands in her face Loch went up and was fouled, but still managed to sink the bucket to tie the game.
Following a Metro State timeout, Loch hit her lone attempt of the night from the free throw line, and the Grizzlies had the lead.
But Jasmine Cervantes made her way the length of the court to score the final of her game-high 21 points with .01 seconds showing for the Roadrunners’ win.
Metro State and Adams State entered the night with the top two rebounding margins in the country, +13.5 and +12.0, respectively. Both showed their forcefulness inside, as the Roadrunners held a slim 37-36 rebounding advantage in the game, and their 18 offensive rebounds were the most by an ASC opponent this season, but led to only five second-chance points.
Senior Kendra Coveal was the the game’s top board crasher, grabbing 10 boards to equal her 10 points in here ninth double-double effort of the season. Coveal tallied eight of each during the second half.
Drexler led the rebounding effort for Metro State with nine rebounds, including seven on offense. The Grizzlies held Bratton, the RMAC’s No. 2 rebounder with 8.7 per game heading into the contest, to just four caroms.
The Grizzlies had a hill to climb in the first half as well, trailing by 11 with 7:27 before the break.
But Bustos sparked the ASC’s offense before halftime, and scored 10 in the first half to keep the Grizzlies close, 28-23, at the break.
Senior Ruchelle McCracken tallied a season-high10 points, one point shy of her career best of 11, a large part of the Grizzlies 26-18 scoring advantage in the paint. She also matched a career-high with three blocks on Saturday.
Adams State shot 42.9 percent (21-49) against a Metro State defense that has held opponents to 35.0 percent from the field this season. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies held the Roadrunners to just 32.8 percent (20-61) in the game, and both teams hit just three 3-pointers.
But Metro State managed to keep the Grizzlies away from the free throw line, and while ASC was good on 8-of-10 (80.0 percent) attempts from the charity stripe, the Roadrunners hit 11-of-17 (64.7 percent), giving them just enough for the win.
Coveal was once again the Grizzlies leader from the free throw line, hitting all four of her attempts Saturday, and making her 14-of-14 from the charity stripe for the weekend. Over last five games, Coveal has hit an average of 8.8 free throws per game and has shot 81.5 percent (44-54) from the line.
The Grizzlies’ bench was unable to score in the contest, going a combined 0-for-4 from the field, while the Roadrunners got 14 points for their reserves.
Adams State turned the ball over more than the Roadrunners (18-11), but was able to capitalize for 17 points off turnovers while Metro State managed just 13 points off of Grizzly miscues.
With nine games remaining on the schedule, Adams State will play five at Plachy Hall. Next weekend, the Grizzlies will play their second nationally-ranked team in a row, hosting Fort Lewis at 6 p.m. on Saturday night.
Now ranked fifth in the nation, ASC fell by a 77-70 tally against the Skyhawks on Dec. 11 when they were ranked third. Loch led the Grizzlies with 14 points in that contest while Bustos and Coveal chipped in with another 14 points each.
After handing the Roadrunners their first loss of the season of the season, For Lewis upped its own marks to 17-1 overall and 12-1 in conference with a 27-point victory, 77-50, over Regis on Saturday. is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet