Defense lifts Mesa women to tourney rout
Granard wins first title, Mesa places 16 at Old Chicago
Stressing defense is paying off for the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team.
The Mavericks allowed Montana State-Billings to shoot only 29.4 percent from the field Saturday afternoon in their 69-47 victory in the Dixie State Tip-off Classic in St. George, Utah.
“They got after it,” CMU coach Taylor Wagner said. “Our girls did a nice job contesting shots the whole time and wearing them down.”
The Mavericks (2-0) trailed by five early, turning the ball over on their first two possessions. Down 11-6, Colorado Mesa went on a 14-2 run in a five-minute span.
“They caught us off-guard the first five or six minutes,” Wagner said. “We settled down and started attacking the basket and made our run.”
That run, started by two free throws from Bruna Deichmann and a three-point play by Effo Baker after Hanna Bowden blocked a shot and Baker grabbed the rebound, ended with Sharaya Selsor’s 3-pointer.
Kelsey Sigl’s jumper with 1:15 to play in the half made it 38-27.
Point guard Christen Lopez scored eight points in the opening minutes of the second half, making a layup on the first possession and following with back-to-back 3s for a 13-point lead, 46-33.
“That was critical,” Wagner said. “Not that they quit, but they stopped working as hard when we got that lead and extended it. They really couldn’t get back in the game at all.”
Sigl finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, and Deichman added 12 points for the Mavericks, who shot 49 percent from the field and 88.9 percent (16 of 18) from the free-throw line.
“They couldn’t guard (Sigl) in there,” Wagner said. “She did a good job in the paint and finished well.”
Mesa controlled the boards with 41 rebounds to Billings’ 25; Katrina Selsor had 12 rebounds for Mesa.
With Deichmann’s 12 points, CMU’s bench outscored the Yellowjackets’ reserves 25-10.
“Bruna was very aggressive to the basket. That’s something we tell the kids: The players that thrive in this game are the ones who can create their own shot and get to the basket,” Wagner said. “They switched a lot of things and made it difficult to run our stuff.”
Taylor Rock scored seven points after being scoreless in her CMU debut Friday, and she had a half-dozen rebounds.
Mesa’s 25 turnovers were still too many to please Wagner, but if the Mavericks continue to play defense the way they did in the opening weekend, they’ll be in every game, he said.
“I told the girls if we hold teams to 45, 46 points, we can score 47,” he said. “If they buy into that philosophy every game, we’ll be in it even if we have a bad shooting night.”