March 30, 2015
Just a few days after a semifinal loss in the RMAC tournament, the NCAA awarded the Mountain Lions a number two seed in the south central region for their first ever appearance in the tournament.
The regional tournament was held at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX. Backed by the RMAC Player of the Year, senior Abby Kirchoff, UCCS faced conference opponent CSU-Pueblo in the first round on March 13, a team they lost to on Feb. 7.
At halftime the score was tied at 37.
“Well last time we played [Pueblo], we were down 20 points at half,” head coach Shawn Nelson said. “So being tied was a good spot.”
UCCS went on to win 73-63 on a late second-half run to seal the victory and advance to the second round.
“Our semifinal game against [Colorado] Christian was just lingering over us a bit,” said Nelson. “We decided to go to a press and we started to play like we were capable of playing.”
Sophomore forward Tori Fisher had 14 points and her presence was felt on the glass as she grabbed seven rebounds in the win.
“I feel like we had been getting pushed around a lot in our previous games, especially CCU,” said Fisher. “That was a tough game for me. I wanted to come out relaxed and play my game.”
UCCS received a rematch against CCU in the second round on March 14.
Energy and momentum played a major factor as UCCS jumped out to a 20-point lead over CCU, winning 83-77.
In the third round on March 16, the Mountain Lions fell to host West Texas A&M 96-69.
“For a team that was 13-15 last year and a three-way tie for eighth spot in the RMAC playoffs, to now being in the sweet 16, it’s quite an accomplishment,” said Nelson. “Our players were the ones who did that. They had the decision to buy in, and we had a terrific season.”