Mesa dominates all facets of game in rout of Chadron
The swagger was back Saturday night at Brownson Arena.
Chadron State was a mere speed bump in Colorado Mesa University’s 82-37 rout at Brownson Arena.
“He (CMU coach Taylor Wagner) just told us don’t play the score, which is what we’ve been doing the last couple of games,” point guard Christen Lopez said. “We’ll get up and just start relaxing. We didn’t want to do that.
“To us, we have to play every possession as if the score is tied. We want to win every possession we have. Whether they’re tied or down by 30, we can’t let up.”
The seventh-ranked Mavericks (20-1, 16-1 RMAC) had 53 points by halftime and had given up only 11. This one was over early, when the Eagles (3-18, 3-14) shot only 7.7 percent (2 of 26) from the field in the first half.
“We had a what, a 42-point lead? The game was decided by then, but we wanted the girls to play hard,” Wagner said. “We talked about we’ll probably see zone a lot, and it’s a great time to practice against it and find each other. We were lucky enough to be able to do that.”
The Mavericks challenged shots, dominated the boards and got into their transition game.
Despite Chadron’s zone defense collapsing on Kelsey Sigl, the Mavericks found other ways to score.
Lopez had 13 points, Katrina Selsor attacked from the wing for 18 points and 11 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season, backup guard Laurel Kasel finished with 14 points, and Bruna Deichmann scored 12.
“Any time we see zone we talk about you’ve got to get offensive rebounds out of it and get stuff out of transition so we don’t have to see it every possession,” Wagner said. “That starts with (defensive) stops. Getting those stops we can get out and get easy buckets. Early on we got a lot of stuff in transition, and that helped a lot.”
Lopez hit a pair of 3-pointers when the Eagles were concerned more about Sigl inside as the Mavericks scored the first 11 points of the game and never looked back.
“They were packing it in, and obviously if anyone watched the Christian game, they’re obviously going to want to zone us,” Lopez said. “The best thing we can do is kick it out and hit a couple of shots and spread the defense. If it doesn’t spread the defense, then we’ll just keep shooting.”
Defensively, the Mavericks challenged every shot and didn’t give the Eagles many open looks. Chadron State didn’t score until the 14:37 mark of the first half when Kate Simonton hit a layup after Lisa Durden’s steal.
It was one of only two field goals in the first half for Chadron, and Lopez scored as many points as Chadron’s entire team did in the first half with 11
Mesa dominated the boards, outrebounding Chadron 55-32.
With the lopsided score, the bench got plenty of playing time, with four reserves playing 13 or more minutes.
Kasel said she tried to ignore the scoreboard, knowing every minute the freshman gets is valuable experience. Colorado Mesa’s lead swelled to 51 points, 71-20, when she hit a 3-pointer with 11:44 on the clock.
“That’s your shot to really improve. That’s how you have to view it,” the redshirt freshman said. “I just took every possession as it was and tried to play the best I could and as hard as I could.”
The Mavs were feeling better about how they played after suffering their first loss of the season a week earlier.
“Everyone feels a little more confident in what we’re trying to do,” Lopez said. “You don’t like a loss at all, but everyone wants to get back to how we were. Obviously when we’re good on defense it helps the offense. Everyone feels better about their place, and we trust each other.”
Mesa, which has clinched a spot in the RMAC Shootout and has a two-game lead on Metro State and CU-Colorado Springs for the No. 1 seed, reached 20 wins for the first time since 2002-03.
“This team … I could use the term greedy, but we have higher goals and expectations,” Wagner said. “They’re focused on the next game.
“It was a little bit of reality when we lost, and we’ve got to focus on how we’re going to get to be a championship team rather than just thinking we’re going to be there.”