Mavs need to keep winning to make conference tourney
Last week of the regular season, and three women’s basketball teams are tied for sixth place in the RMAC.
They’re one game behind the fifth-place team and one game ahead of the ninth-place squad.
And if things stay the way they are, those three teams, all 10-10 in the conference — Colorado Mesa, CU-Colorado Springs and Colorado School of Mines — will make the conference playoffs.
Slip up, and anything can happen.
Lurking at No. 9 is Regis, which has one game remaining. However, it’s at RMAC regular-season champion Metro State, ranked seventh in the nation and second in the Central Region.
So many scenarios exist, if CMU coach Roger Walters broke all of them down, he’d never complete practice plans or scouting.
“It’s such a cluster at the six spot, one game between fifth and eighth,” he said. “That’s kind of where we’re at. Our focus is all on the Adams State game for sure.”
The players know exactly where they stand and how they got there, and since January turned to February, they’ve been in playoff mode.
“We kind of started the playoffs in Nebraska at the beginning of the month,” Walters said. “Gosh, we played well enough to get all five of those instead of four of five, but I’m still really happy with the way we’ve progressed the last three weeks ... Other than the first seven, eight minutes of the Western State game, we played really pretty well.”
For the Mavericks (12-12,10-10 RMAC), on a four-game winning streak, the math is simple: Win Friday at Adams State (7-17, 6-14) and they’re in. Lose and they must beat Fort Lewis (20-4, 17-3), ranked No. 15 in the nation, No. 4 in the region, in Saturday’s season finale in Durango.
“There’s pressure on this weekend, but if we do what we do, there shouldn’t be any excuses,” junior guard Katrina Selsor said.
Since Selsor returned from a hyperextended right knee on Feb. 4 and took over as the primary ballhandler, the Mavericks are 4-0. The three-post, two-guard offense isn’t a huge change.
“I was a point guard in high school,” she said. “Since (the first game against Adams State) we’ve changed a few things that have gone our way, three posts instead of three guards. They might struggle with that because they’re smaller, their guards are small.”
Last weekend against Western State, a 71-70 overtime win, Selsor scored 13 points and had seven assists, playing all 45 minutes. Walters took a couple of timeouts simply to get her a breather without subbing for his 6-foot-1 playmaker.
“She’s such a great passer,” Walters said. “She scores 13 and has seven assists, so (nearly) half our points run through the kid because she’s so heady. Defensively she’s super sharp and she gets the ball where it needs to go.
“We’re trying to get her a few more shots, but she’s so unselfish. That’s been a little bit of an issue; the more aggressive she is the better we are and she’s starting to understand that.”
The Mavericks beat Adams State 69-53 on Dec. 17 at Brownson Arena without leading scorer Kelsey Sigl, who missed that game and the 69-55 loss to Fort Lewis the night before with a concussion.
The Mavericks had high expectations for this season that so far they haven’t reached. Poor free-throw shooting all season and a rash of injuries and concussions in late December and early January sent them on a 1-9 skid after Christmas. But win Friday, and none of that matters.
“The important thing is getting in and once you get in, anything can happen,” Walters said. “We’re just one at a time right now. Friday’s now the biggest one. It was Kearney, then it was Chadron. It’s the same old thing; every game is so gigantic in conference and none of them are easy.”
The players have put the rough January in the past.
“It was definitely a rough few (weeks) but now that we’ve got everyone back that can be back, I think we can get these two and keep going,” Selsor said. “That’s all we’re trying to do.”