Time travelers: Retro jerseys do the trick as Mesa State tops Western State
Throwback wasn’t just the uniforms Saturday night.
“That kind of looked like the olden days,” Mesa State women’s basketball coach Roger Walters said. “That was fun. We were so solid. It’s a really nice feeling when you can beat a really super solid team, and they are that.”
The Mavericks played like some of the teams of old, dominating the paint on both ends of the floor and taking control against Western State in a 78-68 victory at Brownson Arena.
The Mavericks (10-5, 7-4 RMAC) wore bright gold uniforms with the old Maverick “screaming cow” logo on the leg of their shorts.
The uniforms were a hit with the players, and the new look gave them a bit of a spark on both ends of the floor.
“I like them,” junior post player Amy Weitzeil said. “They’re awesome. They’re a lot of fun. I’d love to play in them again. It made it a lot of fun and the girls were really excited. It made tonight a lot more fun.”
On defense, the Mavs clamped down on the Mountaineers (5-10, 3-8), allowing them to shoot only 23 percent from the field in the first half and 33.9 percent for the game.
Western State’s leading scorer, Brooke Pendergraft, didn’t score in the first half and finished with only three points. She averages 14 a game.
“Whoever’s zone she was in, we wanted to make her put it on the floor and try to beat us off the dribble,” Walters said. “The kids did such a good job. They’re more comfortable in matchups now that we can recognize shooters. That’s a huge stride right there..”
Mesa’s defense led to running a crisp offense, with four of the five starters scoring in double figures. Sharaya Selsor led the way with 18 and Katrina Selsor had 15, hitting a couple of early 3-pointers, which opened things up inside for Amy Weitzeil and Kelsey Sigl to go to work. The Mavericks shot 53 percent from the field.
Sigl had 13 points and Weitzeil 10 in an outstanding all-around game.
“Amy was spectacular tonight. She’s had such a great couple of weeks of practice. She’s come out of her shell,” Walters said. “I’m just really proud of her tonight. She was a beast at both ends.”
Weitzeil had five rebounds, two blocks, two steals and one assist.
“I was waiting for one of these games,” she said. “There are different ways of playing defense; you can just feel it, you know you’re going to get around and get a steal. I don’t know, tonight it just seemed easier.
“I think we came out ready and we all played as a team. Our defense was great.”
Mesa held Western State without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes in the first half, but led only by eight, 29-21, when Natalie Giese hit a jumper with 2:58 to play.
After that, though, the Mavericks outscored Western 9-6 in the final minutes of the half to lead 38-27.
After Sharaya Selsor hit a 3, Katie Brady, who scored nine points, drove and dished to Weitzeil for a layup and a 36-22 lead. With three seconds on the shot clock, the Mavs inbounded the ball to Weitzeil, who went right to the hole for a basket. And for good measure, she swatted a shot on the baseline with 6 seconds left in the half.
Weitzeil and Sigl hit back-to-back buckets, with Weitzeil stealing a pass to the post between, to open the second half as they started to build the lead. It got to 16, 45-29, when Katrina Selsor grabbed an offensive rebound, hit a layup and was fouled.
She made the free throw, but the Mavericks, who shoot 76 percent from the free-throw line as a team, made missed 15 free throws. By pounding the ball inside, though, they got enough chances to put the game away. Mesa hit 23 of 38 at the line, Western 18 of 27, with three players fouling out.
“We struggled at the line tonight,” Walters said. “I’d like to think that’s our strong point. It would have given us a little more breathing room, but we got it done. We’ve been so good this whole year shooting free throws but hey, we’ll take it and run.”
And the way they played Saturday, those gold uniforms might show up again in a game other than in February for Cancer Awareness Night.
“I know they will (want to wear them again),” Walters said. “We’ll have to think about it.”