Mavericks stunned by Colorado Christian
The school-record 18-game winning streak came to a halt Saturday night for the fourth-ranked Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team.
Twenty CMU turnovers resulted in 28 points for Colorado Christian, as the Cougars stunned the Mavericks 77-73 in Lakewood.
“That was the big difference in the game,” CMU coach Taylor Wagner said of the turnovers, 11 of which came in the first half. “When we needed to make plays, we didn’t get a shot, because we turned it over. We’ve talked about that all year.”
The Mavericks, as they’ve done all season, roared out of the gates, scoring 13 straight points to lead 13-2 early.
But just as quickly, the Cougars came back. With Kelsey Sigl and Katrina Selsor, the Mavs’ leading scorers, on the bench with foul trouble much of the first half, Mesa held only a one-point lead at halftime, 36-35.
Sigl played only four scoreless minutes in the first half, Katrina Selsor nine, scoring four points. Both fouled out late in the game, with Sigl scoring 14 second-half points and Selsor finishing with nine.
“Fouling has been a problem,” Wagner said. “And we got outrebounded by the last two teams. A rebound is a loose ball. They beat us to balls and hustle plays. At times we play hard, but we don’t do it all the time.”
Sharaya Selsor picked up the Mavericks (18-1, 14-1 RMAC) with 23 points, hitting 5 of 10 from the 3-point line.
Mesa shot 51 percent from the field, but Christian hit 61.4 percent against the Mavericks, which entered the weekend with the top field-goal defense in the conference (33.8 percent).
Five more turnovers in the first six minutes of the second half helped the Cougars build a 12-point lead.
That’s when Mesa made its run, with Sigl, checking in with three fouls, going inside for six points in a 10-0 run. Christen Lopez hit a 3-pointer during the run, and the Mavericks kept attacking the basket.
Sigl scored inside, and the Selsor sisters each hit a pair of free throws, with Katrina’s two giving the Mavs a 57-55 lead with 6 minutes, 40 seconds to play.
It didn’t last long, though.
Colorado Christian’s Taylor Torres hit a key 3-pointer during an 11-5 run for a 71-62 lead with 2:24 remaining. Torres came off the bench to lead a balanced Colorado Christian attack with 16 points.
With one more run in them, the Mavericks got it to three, 71-68, on layups by Bruna Deichmann and Sigl. Defensively, though, they couldn’t get a stop, and the Cougars hit six free throws in the final minute.
“They played for 40 minutes. We talked about that,” Wagner said. “That’s the team we want to be. I want to coach girls who play for 40 minutes and not let up. It’s OK if you make a mistake.
“We’ve relied on our talent a little bit too long. We’ve got to get back to basics and be a little more aggressive.
“We haven’t been able to close out teams. We’ve talked about give us a couple more minutes and take that 15-point lead and get it to 20, put that doubt in their minds.”
The Mavericks were one of only four undefeated teams in women’s Division II basketball and likely will drop a few spots in the national rankings this week.
Of more concern to Wagner is how the Mavericks respond to their first loss. He’s pretty sure he knows how they’ll react this week.
“I think we’ve got some girls that are stung a little bit,” he said. “I told them it’s not going to start Friday (at home against Black Hills State). It starts now and how you’re going to prepare yourselves all week. If we just show up Friday, we’ll get beat again.
“It’s a mental game now.”
But, he said, losing now isn’t a season-killer, and actually, it might be good for his team.
“It’s like we’ve been saying all week: We don’t need to fix a lot to figure out our problems,” Wagner said. “It’s a little chink in our armor. We’ll come back refocused.”