Women’s basketball defeated in NCAA first round

Mar. 28, 2016

Halle Thornton
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The No. 3 seed West Texas A&M University defeated the UCCS women’s basketball team, the No. 6 seed, 70-43 in the first round of the NCAA Division II National Tournament on March 10 in Lubbock, Texas.

This was the team’s second NCAA tournament appearance in program history.

The game was tied after the first quarter, with both teams at 12 points. But UCCS scored six points in the second quarter while West Texas poured in 19, leading to a 31-18 halftime deficit. UCCS scored eight points in the fourth quarter.

Junior forward Tori Fisher hopes the team will improve mentally when it comes to stressful situations such as the NCAA tournament.

“I think (our strengths and weaknesses) balanced each other out and we just needed to be more consistent with our play.”

After scoring 70 points in the RMAC semifinal on March 4 against Fort Lewis on 37 percent shooting from the field, UCCS shot just 21 percent against West Texas.

UCCS recorded its second straight 20-win season, third in program history. The Mountain Lions finished tied for fourth in the RMAC, going 16-6 in conference games before the RMAC tournament and 21-10 overall. They advanced to the RMAC semifinal for the second straight season.

Junior forward Brittany Hernandez is the third student-athlete in RMAC history to earn both overall and defensive player of the year in the same season. She was also selected to the RMAC All-Tournament team and named to the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association All-Region first team.

“I think the season went very good overall. Before Christmas break we were 6-5 and it was a struggle to win, but we pulled it out and ended at the national tournament,” she said.

Head coach Shawn Nelson thought the season went well.

“Anytime you earn a spot at the national tournament, it’s a success,” he said.

Nelson said the greatest strength of the team as a whole this season was the play of the team’s forwards. The greatest weakness was playing with consistency at both ends of the floor.

To improve next season, he said the team needs to improve physical strength so that they can compete at a higher level against opponents.