Mesa women win RMAC Shootout title
As soon as she spied the silver championship cup Saturday night, Kelsey Sigl made a beeline to center court.
Hot on her heels were the rest of the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball players, beaming.
“Heck, yeah,” Sigl said later about the Mavericks rushing to claim their prize after fending off Colorado Christian University 60-47 in the title game of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout.
When they entered the media room after the game, Sharaya Selsor was cradling the championship cup, and carefully sat it on the table.
Sigl fiddled with her piece of the net, her eyes darting back and forth to the trophy the team talked about winning as soon as last season ended with a first-round loss in the conference tournament.
Tournament MVP Katrina Selsor, who also won the award her freshman year, leading CSU-Pueblo to the Shootout title, said the second one is sweeter than the first.
“I think even more (special). At the beginning of the year we talked about this being one of our goals, and to accomplish being conference champions and this with the great group of girls that we have, it makes it that much more special,” she said.
A lot of that is because she shares it with her older sister, Sharaya, who was in the stands watching her sister three years ago.
“I’m so sad that it’s coming to an end,” Sharaya said, her voice cracking as the tears started to fall. “But it’s been so awesome, and I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else other than her and my teammates. It’s just been great.”
Next up: the South Central Regional, where the Mavericks will be the No. 1 seed this week and host the tournament at Brownson Arena. Pairings will be announced at 8 tonight online at ncaa.com.
The conference tournament champions from the RMAC, Lone Star and Heartland conferences receive automatic bids in the eight-team tournament, with five at-large berths.
Midwestern State rallied in the championship game of the Lone Star tournament to beat West Texas A&M 85-83. West Texas is ranked ninth in the region, Midwestern State is No. 2 behind the Mavericks. Abilene Christian, the third-ranked team in the region, was upset in the first round of the Lone Star tourney.
In the Heartland Conference title game, St. Mary’s, ranked sixth in the region, upended University of Texas of the Permian Basin 74-71. Permian Basin is fourth in the region, just ahead of Metro State, which lost to Colorado Christian in the RMAC semifinals.
The Mavericks (28-1) avenged their only loss of the season by withstanding Colorado Christian’s early defensive onslaught and wearing the Cougars down in the second half.
“I think one thing that started, really in preseason, they run a lot, and we expect a lot out of them,” CMU coach Taylor Wagner said. “You saw that in tonight’s game and during the course of the season. There’s a point where other teams hit the wall, and we continue to get stronger toward the end.”
Both Selsors made the all-tournament team, along with Kelsey Sigl, who led all scorers with 19 points and nine rebounds. Also making the team was Fort Lewis guard Katerina Garcia and CCU’s Mariah Metoyer and Kate Louthan.
After the Mavericks clearly were frustrated by the Cougars’ trapping, slapping defense in the first half, they settled down and took control coming out of halftime.
“It was definitely a physical game, and we could have been a lot stronger with the ball and limited our turnovers more,” Katrina Selsor said. “The second half we controlled it more. That team plays a different style than other teams we’ve faced. We could have done better, but we came out with the win, and we couldn’t have asked for a better game.”
Sigl went to work inside with back-to-back baskets, and Katrina Selsor drove the lane, scored and was fouled, making the free throw. It was the start of a 10-2 run that broke a 27-27 halftime tie and gave Mesa a 37-29 lead.
Colorado Christian (18-11), the No. 6 seed in the tournament, played a zone, trapping in the corners and causing 10 first-half turnovers.
Seven minutes into the second half, though, once their transition game kicked into gear, the Mavs started getting a little more space.
Taylor Rock hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and after a Sharaya Selsor steal, Bruna Deichmann scored on a baseline drive. Christen Lopez buried back-to-back 3-pointers, and with 10:15 to play, the Mavericks were clearly in control, 50-36.
About that time, two straight nights of intense defense seemed to take their toll on the Cougars. Shots that were falling early rimmed out or came up short. The Mavericks were latching onto rebounds, chasing down loose balls and blocking a half-dozen shots, three by Sigl.
And Sharaya Selsor, who had been bottled up in the first half every time she touched the ball, stepped in the lane for midrange jumpers, penetrated the lane and dished off to Sigl.
“They were shading my side in the first half. In the second half I was able to find a lot more seams,” she said. “In the first half I was kind of frustrated because I wanted to help my teammates, and I felt like I wasn’t part of the offense. I couldn’t find the seams. I was just patient, and eventually it opened up for me and I got a few more shots.”
As the clock wound down, the smiles started to widen, and suddenly the Mavericks were in the middle of a court-storming by the CMU student section.
“I just found Hanna,” she said, referring to junior center Hanna Bowden, “and I was just swarmed by everybody else. Our crowd was great tonight. Props to them. And we get to do it one more week.”
Metro State University guard Brandon Jefferson hit a jumper with one second left to lift the Roadrunners to a 61-60 victory over Fort Lewis College at the Auraria Events Center in Denver.
The Roadrunners (27-2) receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division II tournament beginning next weekend and likely will host the South Central regional. It was Metro’s first RMAC tournament title since 2010.
Fort Lewis point guard Marcus Ayala gave the Skyhawks (21-7) a 60-59 lead with nine seconds left. Neither team led by more than five points.
Jefferson led Metro State with 20 points. Ayala led the Skyhawks with 16 points.