Defense helps Colorado Christian upend Metro State
Colorado Christian University’s defense set the tone from the start, and the sixth-seeded Cougars upended No. 5 Metro State 53-48 in the first semifinal game Friday in the women’s RMAC Shootout at Brownson Arena.
The Cougars mixed up a variety of defensive looks, trapping ballhandlers, challenging shots and not giving the Roadrunners a decent look at the basket early.
“Metro is very, very efficient offensively,” CCU coach Tim Hays said. “Coach (Tanya) Haave always has good ball control. Rarely will you turn them over 10 times in a game, but we knew we had to disrupt what they do offensively because they pass the ball so well.
“We mixed up some different looks. We had to change it up and get them out of a comfort zone. That turned into some rushed shots. Our objectives were to challenge 3-point shots and rebound. We didn’t rebound well, but at least we got contests and made them take tough shots.”
The Roadrunners (20-10), ranked fifth in the South Central Region, shot 23 percent from the field in the first half, falling behind 31-19.
Mariah Metoyer didn’t miss a shot in the first half for the Cougars (18-10), the first No. 6 RMAC seed to play for the title since 2006, when CSU-Pueblo won the upset-filled tourney over No. 8 Colorado Mines. Metoyer, normally a guard, but who was pressed into service as a forward because of injuries, finished with 14 points. Kate Louthan and Kayla Fakelman added a dozen each.
Fakelman made a crucial steal and drove the length of the floor for a layup with 7:47 to play to give Christian a 47-40 lead after the Roadrunners had clawed back into the game.
The Roadrunners are likely safe to get a bid into next week’s South Central Region tournament, entering the weekend at No. 5, but will find out Sunday. For the Cougars, they must defeat Colorado Mesa in tonight’s title game to receive the conference’s automatic bid.