Mavs use home-court advantage to get first win

PHOTO BY DANIELLE STOMBERG—Mesa State’s Alaina Brennan with a jump shot against Johnson and Wales University Friday night during the Holiday Inn Classic at Brownsen Arena.



It’s good to be home.

After a rough start to the 2008-09 season on the road, the Mesa State College women’s basketball team found playing at home to be much more friendly.

The Mavericks (1-2) raced to a 19-2 lead and cruised to a 85-50 victory over Johnson & Wales on Friday night at Brownson Arena.

“We wanted to come out with a lot of energy not only for ourselves but for the crowd,” Mesa senior Stephanie Delgado said. “We needed this win for our confidence. We came out with a lot of energy. This win definitely helped us.”

Heather Habekost led the Mavericks with 23 points and six assists.

“I finally made shots,” Habekost said. “Coach (Timi) Brown stressed that I push the ball and attack. If I’m not going to pull up and stop, then go all the way.”

The junior point guard from San Juan Capistrano, Calif., dictated play from the start.

That’s exactly what Brown wants from that position.

“Heather was phenomenal,” Brown said. “She did everything I envision from a point guard. She pushed the ball until somebody stopped her.

“I want a scoring, aggressive point guard. Everything starts with that position. That’s one reason we recruited her. She can score and defend. ”

After Habekost’s 23 points, the Mavericks had a balanced scoring attack.

Alaina Brennan and Abby Hancock each had nine. Delgado and Jennifer Landers chipped in with eight each.

“All 15 contributed tonight,” Brown said. “If we play that style, we’ve got to be ready to play off the bench. A good thing about it is we play a lot of people.”

Johnson & Wales (2-7) had three players scored in double figures, led by Andrea Austin with 13.
The Mavericks came out putting pressure on Johnson & Wales, an NAIA school in Denver, and it paid off.

Mesa State forced 34 turnovers and held Johnson & Wales to 33.9 percent from the floor.

The Wildcats committed 21 turnovers in the first half, leading to a dozen field goals for Mesa.

“We put in the 1-2-2 this week and it got us amped up,” Habekost said. “We got some steals early and some easy baskets.

“Coach Brown said we have one chance to make a statement at home.”
Mesa built a 24-point lead late in the first half and led by 20 at halftime.

Johnson & Wales, though, came out in the second half with an 18-10 run to cut the deficit to 12, but that was as close as the Wildcats would get.

“They got over the top (of the press) a bit,” Brown said. “If our second line of defense is going for the ball, they better come up with the steal. We tell them all the time, if you’re not confident you can get it, don’t try it. (The Wildcats) adjusted well, but we countered and realized our mistakes.”

Mesa responded with a 19-2 run to take a 71-42 lead and finished the game with a 12-0 run.

CHADRON ST. 68, DOMINICAN (Calif.) 51

The Eagles opened the second half with a 16-4 run to pull away with their first victory of the season.

Chadron State (1-3) shut out the Penguins for the first seven minutes of the second half to key its run.

“We made a commitment to play defense and held them without a score on their first 10 possessions,” Chadron coach Tim Connealy said.

Sunni Busch led the Eagles with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Alyssa Lyman added 17 points and Kristy Long had 15.

Kelsey Janusch led Dominican (1-5) with 16 points. Raquel Gomes had 12 and Michaelia Baskervill scored 10.


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