An easy win
Mesa women run away from Hillsdale Baptist
Only seven minutes into Friday night’s game, it was clear the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team was head and shoulders above Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College, an NAIA school in Moore, Okla.
The Mavericks’ starting lineup completely overwhelmed the Saints, with a barrage of shots falling from all over the court and taking a 25-2 lead.
Everyone suited up played significant minutes in the Mavericks’ 87-24 rout on the first day of the Clarion Inn Thanksgiving Classic at Brownson Arena.
“Our team motto is be animals on defense, be relentless, regardless of the score, every possession,” junior guard Sharaya Selsor said. “At the end of the day we have to get better every single possession. We took it a possession at a time and got better. Our bench got better. We got a lot of positive things out of that.”
CMU coach Taylor Wagner couldn’t exactly tell his players not to shoot, and didn’t want to run up the score.
“The one thing we talked about all week was focusing on us and what we wanted to do, no matter what the score was, let’s play great defense,” he said.
“I thought the girls were engaged with that. That’s what we prepared for all week, knowing it might happen, it might be a bigger margin of victory and we could get a lot of girls in.”
The starting time set the tone quickly, with point guard Christen Lopez hitting two 3-pointers in the first three minutes.
“Lately I’ve been looking to score,” Lopez said. “I used to be the main facilitator at my junior college. Here, everybody’s unselfish and everybody’s willing to have an assist. It’s not mainly my job anymore and I can look to score and they trust me to shoot it.”
By the midway point of the first half, the starters were on the bench with a 25-3 lead, but the reserves didn’t let down.
Laurel Kasel, a redshirt freshman guard, hit a 3 from the corner and got a steal and a layup for a 30-3 advantage. Mesa had a 30-point lead with 5:22 left in the first half and it was never smaller than 30 the rest of the way.
Reserves played more minutes than starters, gaining valuable experience, and for the most part were as efficient at running Mesa’s system as the starters.
Several lopsided stats stood out — Mesa (3-0) shot 43 percent from the field, Hillsdale (5-4) only 17 (11 percent in the first half, when the Saints went 2 of 18). Mesa scored 28 points in the paint to Hillsdale’s zero and caused 21 Hillsdale turnovers.
But perhaps the most telling stat was this: Katrina Selsor, who played all but two minutes in each of the Mavericks’ first two games, played 14 minutes Friday, only 10 in the first half.
The first team came out less than five minutes into the second half — Wagner called time to get five subs on the floor — and didn’t return.
Kelsey Sigl led Mesa with 18 points in only 15 minutes of playing time. Sharaya Selsor, who spent most of the second half waving a towel from the bench, encouraging the young Mavs, had 14 points in 15 minutes.
“If you can run the floor and have a wide-open layup, you’re gonna take it, but we don’t want to settle and not give our best effort,” Lopez said. “If you’re in, you’ve gotta give it your all.”
The 63-point margin of victory broke the school record of 50, achieved twice in 2010, and the 24 points allowed were the fewest in school history — Regis scored 26 against the Mavs in 1979.
Kasel had 11 points off the bench and sophomore forward Leanndra Gilbert had 10 points and 10 rebounds as Mesa’s bench outscored Hillsdale’s 39-9.
Because the reserves played so well, Wagner knows he can go to his bench in just about any situation.
“Some of the kids didn’t even get in last weekend and what’s important for me, that I can trust them a little bit more,” the first-year coach said. “That’s great to see.”
Mid-America Christian 81, Northern New Mexico 54: The Evangels scored the first nine points of the game and built a 21-point lead midway through the first half on the way to the easy win.
Parris Price, a 5-foot-5 guard, hit four 3-pointers and scored 25 points for Mid-America Christian, which had five players reach double figures.
Sarah Martin scored 15, Kourtni Williams 13 and Emillie Schirmer 12 for the Evangels (6-1), who play Colorado Mesa at 5 tonight.
Michelle Montes led Northern New Mexico (2-8) with 13 points and Andi Hammons added 11.
Mid-America Christian hit 13 of 29 from the 3-point line and shot 42 percent from the field; the Eagles shot only 26 percent.