UCCS Women 77, CSU-Pueblo Women 67

Freshman Payden Ackerman had a career-high 19 points to lead the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs upset the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves 77-67 Friday evening at the Lions’ Den.

Senior Nancy Hoist grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds as the Mountain Lions (4-5, 2-0 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) built a 46-32 advantage on the boards. Jazzmin Awa-Williams added 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting, with five assists and nine rebounds.

Michelle Ambuul led CSU-Pueblo (8-2, 2-1 RMAC) with 18 points. Rachel Espinoza added 15 points, four assists and four steals.

UCCS shot 45.5 percent from the field, the fourth straight game the Mountain Lions have been over 40 percent. UCCS, which plays New Mexico Highlands Saturday at the Lions’ Den, has now won four of its past five games.

Ackerman, who was 6-of-12 from 3-point range, set another career high with eight rebounds. She was a part of the UCCS bench that produced 47 points, 27 more than the Thunderwolves.

CSU-Pueblo led by seven at the halfway point of the first half, but UCCS, behind four points by Awa-Williams, went on an 11-0 run to take a 26-22 lead. The advantage grew to 33-28 at the intermission.

The Thunderwolves opened the second half 9-3 behind five points by Espinoza to take a one-point lead. The game was tied at 42 when two Ackerman 3-pointers sparked a 17-4 UCCS run.

CSU-Pueblo used a 9-2 spurt, five of which were scored by Mary Rehfeld, to cut the deficit to 69-65 with 2:08 remaining, but UCCS made eight consecutive free throws to keep the Thunderwolves from closing any further.

The win was worth four points in the Steel & Silver Series, a rivalry competition between the two schools. UCCS, which has won the Ent Federal Credit Union Trophy in each of the three seasons during which the series has been contested, now owns a 16-6 lead in the 2008-09 standings.