Strong defense, rebounding lift Mavs to 12th straight win
Say this about the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team: When the Mavericks don’t play well on Friday night, watch out on Saturday.
The No. 13 Mavericks ramped up their intensity on the defensive end Saturday night in a 68-53 RMAC victory over Colorado School of Mines at Brownson Arena, led by junior guard Sharaya Selsor.
The win was the 12th straight for the Mavericks to open the season, breaking the school record of 11, set in 1999.
“We’ll take it,” CMU coach Taylor Wagner said. “That’s good. We’ve got to keep it going.”
Selsor, as always, drew the assignment of guarding the Orediggers’ top outside scoring threat, Angie Charchalis (17 points per game), and allowed her only two first-half points and seven in the game.
“I still played the whole fundamental off-ball (defense), except I wasn’t going to help deny drive, but pretty much the idea was we limit her touches, we limit her chances of scoring,” Selsor said. “She’s a great basketball player.”
The two smiled and patted one another on the back as they prepared for the opening tip — they played against each other in high school, Selsor at Glenwood Springs and Charchalis at Moffat County. After that, though, Selsor was all business.
“I’ve been guarding Angie since I was about 8,” Selsor said, grinning.
With the Orediggers’ outside game stalled, the Mavericks went to work offensively, shooting 50 percent from the floor in the first half, running the floor better than they had the night before and dominating the boards.
“I felt like we came out really strong. We had an excellent first half, the second half I felt like we wore down a little bit, more of the conditioning thing,” Wagner said. “We let them go on a little run. The difference tonight, we stopped that run and made shots and kept that lead where it was comfortable. As a coach it’s not comfortable, but they did a good job and they continue to amaze me at how well they do.”
The Mavericks had a 41-28 advantage on the boards and gave up only six offensive rebounds to the Orediggers (8-5, 5-2 RMAC), only two in the first half. Katrina Selsor, the Mavs’ leading rebounder, had nine, with three others grabbing a half-dozen each, Kelsey Sigl, Bruna Deichmann and Taylor Rock, who had two offensive rebounds on the same possession in the first half, allowing the Mavericks control the game early.
For the second straight night, CMU (12-0, 8-0) built a huge lead early, going up 19, 28-9, on a layup by Hanna Bowden.
With seven seconds left, Sharaya Selsor gave the Mavericks a 19-point halftime advantage by draining a 3-pointer from the corner. In addition to controlling Charchalis, Selsor finished with 20 points.
“It’s easy when you have people on the floor like Katrina that can create shots for you,” she said of her younger sister. “She did that for me tonight. She got it right in my pocket; it didn’t take a lot of work on my end on offense.”
Selsor also made sure she was in shape for the demands on both ends of the floor.
“She knows she’s gonna guard the best perimeter player,” Wagner said. “She’s got a touch responsibility. She’s got to guard the best outside scorer and she’s got to score for us. We ask a lot. Last night she played 40 minutes and tonight 38. She’s playing a lot and doing a great job and hopefully we can continue to get the output from her as the year continues.”
Sigl established things inside early, scoring 15 of her game-high 21 in the first half. Katrina Selsor finished with 16 points and eight assists.
After a ragged win on Friday, the Mavericks knew what needed to be done Saturday.
“We learned from last night we have to be aggressive and we need to continue to get better in that area and find each other when our teammates are open,” Wagner said. “We’re getting shots inside, we’re getting rhythm shots, those shots the girls take in practice every day and are normal for them. When we do that, we get a high percentage.”