COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Senior Vera Jo Bustos (Las Vegas, N.M.) averaged 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists during a weekend sweep that allowed the ASC women’s basketball team to clinch a first-round Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout game, and for her efforts was named as the RMAC/Baden Offensive Player of the Week, it was announced on Monday.
Bustos earned the honor for the second time this season and made it four straight weeks that Adams State has claimed league offensive recognition. Bustos, who ranks third in the league in scoring (17.1/game), first in 3-pointers made (2.9/game) and seventh in assists (3.5/game), now leads one of the league’s hottest teams into the league tournament.
The Grizzlies, who had moved up to eighth in the Feb. 23 edition of the NCAA Division II Central Region Rankings, wrapped up an 8-0 month of February with the wins over Mesa State and Western State. The 8-game winning streak is the longest in the Grizzlies’ NCAA D-II era (1992-93/present) and is currently the second best in the RMAC behind only the 10-game streak of top-seeded Metro State.
The weekend wins also allowed the Grizzlies, 20-8 overall and 15-7 in the RMAC, to secure their second consecutive 20-win season and only second such season in the program’s D-II era. It was also the first time Adams State has accomplished the feat since posting back-to-back 20-win seasons when it was accomplished in the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons by the then ASC Indians.
But it took a second-half rally in the regular-season finale against the archrival Mountaineers to pull it off. Trailing by three (24-21) coming out of the locker room, Bustos led a second-half comeback during which she scored all of her game high 18 points to boost ASC to a 66-63 victory.
Adams State enters the RMAC Shootout as the No. 4 seed and will turn around to host the fifth-seeded Mavericks for the second game between the two teams in less than a week.
This is the second straight season that the Grizzlies have earned the right to host a first-round RMAC Shootout game. Last season the Grizzlies fell to Colorado St.-Pueblo, 70-61, in the first post-season women’s basketball action at Plachy Hall since 1992.
Having now made the RMAC Shootout in each of the last four season, the Grizzlies are still searching for their first D-II era post-season victory. The Mavericks last made the league tourney in 2008 and will be in hunt of their first pose-season win since 2003.
The visiting team won both regular season match-ups between Adams State and Mesa State, with the Mavericks claiming victory by a 66-63 tally on Dec. 20 at Plachy Hall before the Grizzlies retaliated with a 73-57 win last Friday night in Grand Junction, Colo.
Adams State was ranked eighth in the region during Friday’s match-up, at which time MSC was ranked ninth in the region before falling to the Grizzlies. But the Mavericks rebounded to claim a Saturday night victory over the region’s top-ranked regionally and third-ranked nationally Fort Lewis, preventing the Skyhawks from claiming a share the RMAC regular-season crown.
ASC previously met up with Mesa State in post-season play in 1994 when the host Mavericks won 79-64.
The Adams State men’s basketball squad, which earned the No. 4 seed in the men’s tournament, will also be hosting a RMAC Shootout game Tuesday night immediately following the women’s game as they host No. 5 seed New Mexico Highlands.
Tuesday will also mark the first time in the Grizzlies’ D-II era history that both men’s and women’s teams have a home playoff game.
The winner of Tuesday's Adams State-Mesa State affair will continue on to Pueblo, Colo. on Friday, March 4, where they will take on the winner of the match-up between the tournament's top-ranked Roadrunners and No. 8 seed Western State at 1 p.m. at the Colorado State Fair Events Center.
Tuesday’s women’s game is set to tip-off at 6 p.m. followed by the men at approximately 8 p.m., and the ticket booth at Plachy Hall will open at 4:30 p.m. There are no ticket sales in advance. For further details about the Tuesday doubleheader click here.
Fans unable to make the trip to Plachy Hall onTuesday night can follow all the Grizzly post-season action by checking out live stats, listening at www.kspk.com (104.1 FM in Alamosa), or by viewing the game through subscription-based AmericaOne (formerly B2 TV). Further information regarding single-game viewing passes for the RMAC Shootout contests at Plachy Hall will be available on Tuesday.
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