Stats tell a good story for Mesa women’s hoops team

Hanna Bowden, 23, and the Colorado Mesa women’s basketball team rose to No. 13 in the latest rankings. The reason for the rise, and the Mavericks’ perfect record, has been their defense. Mesa is fourth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 48.2 points per game.

It’s easy to judge a team by wins and losses.

And 10-0 is as good as it can be for the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team.

But how the Mavericks stack up against other teams in the nation shows up in the NCAA ranking summaries, which are updated Monday mornings.

Through Sunday night’s win at Fort Lewis, the Mavericks are in the top 10 in the nation in six critical categories and in the top 40 in several more.

“That’s one thing to know we’re doing things right,” first-year coach Taylor Wagner said Tuesday.

The national stats ( don’t include Monday’s victory over Adams State.

When the USA Today/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association poll came out Tuesday afternoon, the Mavericks had jumped six spots to No. 13, the only RMAC team in the top 25. Metro State received one vote.

The men’s team, which was receiving votes last week in the NABC poll, dropped out after going 0-2 on the road. Metro State moved up one spot to No. 2 in the nation. Adams State is the first team in the receiving-votes category with 31. Fort Lewis got four votes.

“At the end of the day, the wins and losses are important, but I think looking at those national things and looking where we’re at on the big scale of things, we’re doing things right,” Wagner said. “The girls can see that things are working and that we’re one of the top teams in the nation.”

Wagner especially likes the defensive rankings, where the Mavs are fourth in scoring defense (48.2 points per game) and seventh in field goal defense (31.1 percent). The Mavs are No. 11 in field goal percentage (46.2).

“We want to have teams below 30 percent,” Wagner said. “If we can do that, we’re doing a good job, and hopefully we can shoot 31 percent.

“It’s big for them getting a new coach and seeing the system I’m going to run, they can be successful at it.

“As time goes on, hopefully we’ll play better basketball. We’re getting accustomed to each other a little bit better, and we trust each other more.”

That showed Sunday and Monday, especially with point guard Christen Lopez, who scored a season-high 16 points against Fort Lewis, then followed that with seven points, three assists and four steals Monday against Adams State, playing 39 minutes.

“She’s more comfortable with the offense and finding people and picking her spots,” Wagner said after Monday’s win in Alamosa.

Mesa is third in the nation in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by 29 points a game, ninth in 3-pointers made per game (8.7) and tied for first in the big category: wins. Only 12-0 Ashland (Ohio), ranked No. 1 in the nation, has a better record.

Individually, Kelsey Sigl is 11th in field goal percentage (60 percent), Sharaya Selsor is 15th in 3-pointers per game (2.44), and her three double-doubles has Katrina Selsor 39th in the nation.

The Mavericks return to practice Dec. 27, with their next game Jan. 4, the start of a challenging month in the conference.

“Eight of our next nine games are against the top teams in the RMAC,” Wagner said. “We’ve got a big month coming up, and we need to do really well coming back from break.

“They know what’s at stake and what’s coming up. I’m confident they’re mature enough to take care of themselves over the next nine days and be ready to come back. We don’t want to take a step back.”


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