Mavs open Wagner era with big win
Colorado Mesa University’s women’s basketball team undoubtedly turned a few heads Friday afternoon.
The Mavericks knocked off Simon Fraser University 62-45 in the first game of the Dixie State Tip-Off in St. George, Utah.
Simon Fraser entered the game 3-0 after beating Grand Canyon, ranked 13th in the USA Today Division II preseason rankings, and No. 8 UC-San Diego last week.
The Clan also downed West Texas A&M, which received one vote in the preseason poll. Simon Fraser, in Burnaby, British Columbia, received 50 votes in the preseason poll, sixth in the “receiving votes” list.
The Mavericks’ defense, though, allowed the Clan to shoot only 34 percent from the field to give Taylor Wagner his first win at CMU.
Katrina Selsor scored 19 points, Kelsey Sigl added 17 points and Sharaya Selsor chipped in with 12 for the Mavericks (1-0).
“We really focus on winning hustle plays and we did that tonight,” Wagner said. “We got a lot of loose balls. Our defense can be really great if we buy into it.
“We missed a lot of layups and had turnovers that we shouldn’t have. First-game jitters; maybe now that’s over with and we can keep getting better.”
Katrina Selsor had only three points at halftime, but hit a 3-pointer six minutes into the second half and took off from there.
“She just let the game come to her,” Wagner said. “She was able to hit some shots and that opened her up to get to the basket. I’m not sure how many free throws she made (7 of 11) but she was scoring from different areas, from the 3 and the free-throw line and got to the basket.”
Colorado Mesa, which plays Montana State-Billings at 1 this afternoon, shot 41 percent from the field and trailed only once in the game, 1-0.
The game was tied 14-14 with just more than eight minutes to play in the first half, but Sigl hit three straight buckets on the way to a 29-23 halftime lead.
“For 40 minutes we played hard,” Wagner said. “We’ve been focusing on that the last week in practice, to be consistent with that. I’m really proud of them.
“We can’t have any letdown (today). We talked about that, too. It’s important to keep going and remember the things we did today and do well tomorrow, have that same intensity. If we do that, we’re pretty good. We’re hard to guard.”
Sigl, the RMAC preseason player of the year, buried a 3-pointer with 11 minutes to play for a 43-34 lead.
Katrina Selsor scored nine points in a three-minute stretch after her sister made a free throw to put the game out of reach, 54-38 with 5:55 remaining.
Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, a 6-foot-2 senior forward for Simon Fraser, had 14 points and nine rebounds.
“She was a phenomenal player and we did a good job keeping her off the boards and not giving her second-chance opportunities.,” Wagner said. “That was big; we weren’t going to hold her scoreless.”
Bruna Deichmann, a senior transfer from Alaska-Anchorage, scored seven points in her CMU debut.
“We kept coming at them,” Wagner said. “The big thing was our defense was what got our runs. Our defense was fueling our offense and that’s going to be a theme for us all year.”