Mesa women win in dramatic fashion
Welcome back, Hannah Breidel.
After spending the past two weeks on the bench with a sprained ligament in her left knee, the 5-foot-8 junior guard for the Mesa State College women’s basketball team was cleared to play this week.
“I picked a good weekend to come back, that’s for sure,” Breidel said.
Did she ever.
Breidel hit a deep 3-pointer from the corner with 36.5 seconds remaining Sunday night as the Mavericks claimed their first Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory of the season, 58-57 over Metro State.
“I think we finally played together. I have goosebumps,” said Breidel, who led the Mavericks with 15 points and seven rebounds. “We did so many things better than we did last night. I’m so proud of my teammates. I’m beaming right now.”
First-year Roger Walters leaped off the sidelines in celebration when Courtney McCaig corralled the final rebound of the game after Metro State had three shots to win the game.
Jasmine Cervantes’ missed jumper was tipped around, with Mesa’s Meagan Selvidge and Cervantes latching onto the ball.
Metro kept possession with 8.1 seconds left, and after Brandi Valencia missed a quick jumper, the ball was batted around before Leandra Sands threw up a desperation shot at the buzzer that fell into McCaig’s hands.
After meeting with his team, Walters found a quiet corner behind the gym and wearily sat down, a smile across his face.
“We played together at both ends, which was really good,” he said. “That’s where we’ve been trying to get, and it’s nice to see it happen finally.”
Mesa State (2-5, 1-3 RMAC) played most of the game without their leading scorer, Jennifer Landers, who had the stomach flu. She played 12 minutes in the second half after sitting out the first half and scored two points.
The Mavericks led 26-21 at halftime when Jocelyn Zarling banked home a shot from just beyond halfcourt, but Metro State used a 13-2 run to open the second half for a 34-28 lead.
Down 45-37 with 7:45 to play, something clicked.
“We said, ‘We’re not going to lose another game, we’re going to play together,’ ” Breidel said. “(Walters) got pretty (upset) at us. It’s kind of nice to get a fire lit for a little bit. I’m glad he did scream at us and finally got us going.”
Katie Cupp drove the length of the floor for a layup, Alaina Brennan hit a 3-pointer, Breidel dove on the floor for a steal, which turned into a 3-pointer by Selvidge, her only bucket of the game, and Breidel buried another 3 from the top of the key.
All of a sudden, the Mavericks had regained the lead, 48-45, with 5:10 to go.
To Walters, what happened was simple: The Mavericks did what he’s been preaching from Day 1 in the program. They transferred what they do on the practice floor to the game floor.
“I think I sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher most of the time,” he said with a chuckle. “We transferred tonight from the practice floor to the game floor and it was really fun to recognize that.”