The Black Hills State women's basketball team went cold late, falling 84-69 to Colorado State-Pueblo in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship game on Saturday evening in Pueblo, Colorado.
Lyndzi Rich had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Yellow Jackets (24-7). Keely Bertram finished with 13 points and eight boards, while Remi Wientjes added 10.
Bertram and Rich were named to the All-Tournament Team.
"I'm extremely proud of this team," BHSU coach Mark Nore said in a release. "It was a tough loss, but we'll walk out of here with our heads held high."
The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the first quarter, but the No. 1 seeded Thunderwolves (25-6) eventually came back to take the lead, 15-14, with 2:48 left in the period. CSU-Pueblo eventually wrapped up the quarter on a 16-2 run to hold a 22-16 lead.
BHSU won the high-scoring second quarter, 26-24. With 2:28 remaining in the half, Rich reached double-figures, scoring on an assist by Bertram.
On the ensuing defensive possession, Rich took a charge, giving the ball back to BHSU, which took advantage when Bertram drained a 3-pointer to get the Yellow Jackets within two, 40-38, with 2:07 to play in the second. The Jackets entered the locker room down, 46-42.
With 1:37 remaining in the third, and the Yellow Jackets down seven, 59-52, Danielle Noble sank a deep 3, then took a charge on the defensive end. Once again, they responded with Katie Messler scoring a lay-up and BHSU trailed, 61-59, with 10 minutes to play for a title.
Both teams tightened up the defense in the fourth quarter, with two minutes elapsing before anyone scored. With 4:42 remaining, BHSU's Alyssia Martinez was fouled shooting a 3-pointer, and a technical was also called on the ThunderWolves.
Martinez made four out of the five free throw shots to put the Yellow Jackets within one, 68-67. With 3:22 left, Rich got a pass inside from Rachel Erickson and made her layup to put BHSU up, 69-68. However, CSU-Pueblo responded with 16 unanswered points, as the Yellow Jackets were unable to get any shots to fall, and the ThunderWolves earned the victory.
BHSU shot 45.3 percent from the field (24-for-53), while CSUP was 44.8 percent from the floor (26-for-58). The Yellow Jackets were 4-for-14 (28.6 percent) from beyond the arc, while the Thunderwolves were 5-for-15 (33.3 percent) on 3-pointers. BHSU went 17-for-23 (73.9 percent) from the free-throw line, and were edged in rebounds, 36-32.
Katie Cunningham led all scorers with 26 points and also had 14 rebounds, while Molly Rohrer scored 20, and Taylor Long had 12 for the Thunderwolves.
Cunningham was named the MVP of the RMAC Shootout, while Rohrer, Lauren Heyn, and Emily Hartegan of MSU Denver joined Rich and Bertram on the All-Tournament Team.
The Yellow Jackets will learn their NCAA fate tonight at 8 with the tournament selections. They entered the weekend ranked sixth in the South Central Region, with eight teams making the tournament.