The Skyhawks had beaten just about everyone ahead of them in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference during their nime-game winning streak.
Everyone except fourth-ranked Colorado Mesa.
Try as it might, the Fort Lewis College women’s basketball team couldn’t clip the Mavericks on their home floor, falling 76-68 on Saturday in Grand Junction to wrap up the regular season.
A combination of foul trouble and stellar performances by Kelsey Sigl and Katrina Selsor proved just a bit too much for the Skyhawks (17-9, 16-6 RMAC) to overcome.
Christie Groh, who scored 10 points, and Mary Brinton both fouled out while trying to contain Sigl, who scored 23, while Ashley Kuchar, who also scored 10, had four fouls.
Selsor finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
“We were frustrated by things. ... We were frustrated by the physicality of the game, and we let it take us out of a little bit of what we do,” FLC head coach Jason Flores said.
The Skyhawks, despite the loss, were much more competitive than in a 15-point loss to the Mavericks (25-1, 21-1 RMAC) in December.
FLC jumped out to a 23-11 lead early before the Mavericks swung back with the inevitable counterpunch, hitting hardest with a 19-8 second-half run that got them back in the lead 55-52, and the teams stayed in close contact from there until the Mavericks built a double-digit lead late and held on for the victory.
Kaile Magazzeni scored 14 to lead FLC, and Erika Richards had 11. Katerina Garcia had 10 points, six assists and six rebounds.
Despite the loss, FLC, which started its season 1-5, won 15 of its last 18 games to have a shot at an NCAA Tournament berth.
“While we’re disappointed, I told the players they’ve earned the right to be able to let this one go,” Flores said. “They’ve earned so much, and part of that is letting this go quickly and being excited about what we’ve accomplished.”
From here on out, it’s one-and-done basketball.
FLC lost out in the tiebreaker with UC-Colorado Springs and is seeded fourth for the RMAC Shootout. No. 4 Fort Lewis will host No. 5 CSU-Pueblo at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Whalen Gymnasium.
The winner will face the winner of top-seeded Colorado Mesa and No. 8 Regis on Friday on the campus of the highest remaining seed after Tuesday’s action.
No. 2 Metro State will host No. 7 Colorado Christian, and No. 3 UC-Colorado Springs will host No. 6 Colorado Christian in the other quarterfinals.
“They’ve played themselves into a home game on Tuesday,” Flores said. “There’s excitement about that, and we should be proud. ... We need to get right back on the horse.”