It’s official: Mavericks lock down RMAC
CMU women celebrate their first title since 2001-02 season
It was a long time coming, but Saturday night in Gunnison, the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team could finally celebrate goal No. 1.
The fourth-ranked Mavericks clinched the program’s first RMAC championship since the 2001-02 season with a convincing 86-48 victory over Western State Colorado University.
“We accomplished one of our goals, but by any means it’s not over,” first-year coach Taylor Wagner said. “There’s a lot more we want to do. It’s good for the girls, but there’s still a lot of basketball to be played. We want to be able to keep it going and experience this a couple more times.”
With Kelsey Sigl recording her third straight double-double, scoring 26 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, the Mavericks left little doubt early that they would lock down the title they’ve coveted since last season ended.
“Their focus all year has been great,” Wagner said. “There’s not one moment anything they’ve done has gone to their heads. They’ve kept a humble approach and that says a lot about their character and who they are off the floor.
“That’s what’s most special about this team. We have a great team basketball-wise but they are phenomenal people, and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
The Mavericks (23-1, 19-1 RMAC), ranked No. 1 in the South Central Region, will host the RMAC Shootout March 8-9, provided they win their first-round home game on March 5. Pairings will be set after this weekend’s regular season ends.
For a while, Sigl was scoring at the same rate as the Mountaineers’ entire team. She had 19 first-half points as the Mavericks built a 40-21 halftime lead.
They steadily expanded the lead until it swelled to 38 points, 76-38 when Christen Lopez hit a 3-pointer, with just more than five minutes to play.
Sharaya Selsor finished with 15 points and Bruna Deichmann 11. Katrina Selsor had nine points and seven rebounds.
Colorado Mesa dominated the glass with 48 rebounds and scored 19 second-chance points. Western shot only 26 percent from the field.
“Defensively we got after it,” Wagner said. “We made them take tough shots. Early on in the first half we didn’t rebound as well and weren’t helping (on defense). The second half we did that. I was really pleased with the defense and being committed to that.”
Defense is only one aspect of Wagner’s system the Mavericks have adapted to, but it’s made the difference.
“We talked about taking pride in it and having fun with it,” he said. “Overall, our defense is the best and our offense is the best in the conference. To have both of those is kind of special and a special team can do some good things later on.”
Saturday’s win was Colorado Mesa’s fifth straight since its only loss of the season, and all of them have been lopsided.
“They were excited about accomplishing what they did,” Wagner said of the Mavericks finally being able to celebrate the championship. “In the locker room they were pretty ecstatic. It’s good to be able to celebrate. It’s been awhile since a Mesa team won the conference outright.”