Mavs’ goal: Cut the nets

Adding to RMAC banner is driving CMU women

Colorado Mesa University’s Katrina Selsor looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to during a drill at practice at Saunders Fieldhouse.



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Colorado Mesa University’s Katrina Selsor looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to during a drill at practice at Saunders Fieldhouse.

New CMU women’s basketball coach Taylor Wagner stresses energy, effort, execution and toughness.



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New CMU women’s basketball coach Taylor Wagner stresses energy, effort, execution and toughness.

Christen Lopez



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Christen Lopez

Katrina Selsor



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Katrina Selsor

Sharaya Selsor



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Sharaya Selsor

Taylor Rock



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Taylor Rock

Kelsey Sigl



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Kelsey Sigl

Colorado Mesa University’s Christen Lopez dribbles the ball down the court during a drill at practice at Saunders Fieldhouse.



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Colorado Mesa University’s Christen Lopez dribbles the ball down the court during a drill at practice at Saunders Fieldhouse.

Colorado Mesa University’s Taylor Rock sends the ball to a teammate during practice at Saunders Fieldhouse.



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Colorado Mesa University’s Taylor Rock sends the ball to a teammate during practice at Saunders Fieldhouse.

QUICKREAD

Taylor Wagner on Mavs’ 5 keys to success:

1. Toughness: “We’ve got to be extremely tough. That’s one thing we’ve talked about every single day, make sure we’re the aggressors and we don’t back down from anyone. Every day we practice it’s our home floor, and we’re going to protect it.”

2. Effort: “I think if we give good effort every single time, we work hard, we’re going to be able to cover up mistakes or weaknesses that we might have.”

3. Execution: “With the sets that we run, a lot of it has to do with timing and being in the right spots and being disciplined. I think if we can execute, we’ll be really hard to guard. You’ll have to pick your poison with what you’re going to take away. If you take it away you’re going to open up something different for some of the other girls.”

4. Believe in system: “No matter what you run, if you just believe in it, it’s probably going to work for you. It might be a little bit different from what they’re used to, but if we can get really good results from it, I think with the leadership we have ... they’re doing that right now.”

5. Have fun: “You’ve gotta have fun. If we can have fun working hard, being disciplined and having that energy, being tough, there’s not a better game to go out there and do with teammates. For myself and the players, we don’t want to just be mediocre. We want to be great this year, and I think we owe it to the seniors. This is their last year. I want them to go out with a bang and be there at the end competing. And who knows? We win a championship while we’re doing it. That’d be OK. We’re not doing this to come in second place.”

CMU’s Starting Lineup

PG: Christen Lopez, 5-4 Junior, 7.8 ppg, 157 assists, 120 steals (Miles, Mont., CC)

G: Sharaya Selsor, 5-9 Junior, 12.4 ppg, 2.3 apg (2010-11)

G: Taylor Rock, 5-10 Junior 10.9 ppg, 5 rpg, (Otero Junior College)

F: Katrina Selsor, 6-1 Senior, 11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg

F: Kelsey Sigl, 6-0 Senior, 18.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg

Off the bench

PG: Effo Baker, 5-5 Sr., 2.9 ppg, 1.4 apg

G: Bruna Deichmann, 5-9 Sr., 5.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg (Alaska Anchorage)

P: Hanna Bowden, 6-1 Jr., 4.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg

G: Laurel Kassel, 5-10 Rfr., Redshirted

F: Leanndra Gilbert, 5-10 Soph., 3.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg

F: Taylor Johnson, 5-10 Rfr., Redshirted

P: Chrissy Armstrong, 6-1 Soph., 2.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg

C: Erika Musante, 6-2 Soph., 1 ppg, 1.4 rpg

PG: Dallas Rohrbaugh, 5-7 Soph., 3.6 ppg, 1.4 apg

PG: Rachelle Litsheim, 5-3 Jr., 0.2 ppg, 0.6 apg

G: Kyra Peterson, 5-10 Jr., 14.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg (at Western Nebraska CC)*

G: Lindsey Shaw, 5-9 Jr., 0.7 ppg, 0.8 rpg (2010-2011)*

*—Injured, questionable return

Redshirts

G: Tawni Middleton, 5-6 Fr.

G: Danielle Rinaldo, 5-9 Fr.



Katrina Selsor remembers what it feels like to cut down the nets.

She was a freshman at CSU-Pueblo when the ThunderWolves won the RMAC Shootout (she was the tournament MVP), and she’d like nothing better than to bookend that with a conference title at Colorado Mesa University her senior year.

“We keep looking at this banner,” Selsor said Monday after practice, glancing up at the rafters at Brownson Arena.

Each sport has a banner in the arena listing the conference championship years. The last number on the women’s basketball banner is 2002.

“At the end of the year we want a 13 on that banner, so when we come in here, we know our hard work went to that. That’s what we want this year,” she said. “We want the RMAC tournament, we want first in RMAC and to be successful after that. That’s what we want for ourselves, for the school. All the hard work, you want it to pay off.”

When Roger Walters resigned in April, the Mavericks were pretty much on their own to keep working out over the summer until Taylor Wagner was hired in late June.

“We definitely stuck together, and we always have, ever since Day 1 when I came here,” Selsor said.

Selsor has a slightly different role in Wagner’s system than she had the past two years, when she was strictly a guard. Now she’s more of a forward/guard, with Kelsey Sigl playing more of a post in the 4-out, 1-in setup.

Wagner has installed two motion offensive sets and a slew of half-court set plays — half of the large whiteboard in his office lists those plays, and time in each practice is devoted to running set plays until they become second nature. Of course, the Mavs want to rebound and run, scoring easy buckets in transition, but if that doesn’t happen, Wagner will pull a play from his deep bag of tricks.

“Five or six we’ll run all the time,” Wagner said. “Some of the specials we’ll run once, maybe twice a game. We might not even run some of those, but we’ll have them in.”

By running set plays, Wagner said, the Mavs can make sure they get the right players in the right spots to be successful.

And they’ve got plenty of options.

Sigl, a 6-foot forward, is the RMAC Preseason Player of the Year after averaging 18.3 points a game last season. She drew double- and triple-teams last season and expects more of the same this winter. Backing her up is 6-1 junior Hanna Bowden, whose game is more polished after a year of playing time and working against Sigl every day.

“Some of the set plays will help us get (Sigl) in the right spots,” Wagner said. “She realizes she’s gonna have to be able to become a facilitator to open herself up. If she makes a couple of nice passes to people, that’ll free her up to do what she does. She’s a great player and can score in different ways. She’ll cause people some fits this year.”

But, Wagner said, spend too much attention to Sigl and the Mavericks can hurt you from every other spot on the floor.

First there’s Selsor, who can score inside and out, rebounds as well as anyone and is an outstanding defender.

“She’s a great player,” Wagner said. “She does a lot of things really well, and that’s the best thing about her. Because of her length, she could be one of our better defenders, if not the best, one of our better rebounders, if not the best. She’s able to score, distribute the ball. She can help us in a lot of different ways.”

And back after a year out of school is her older sister, Sharaya, a 5-9 junior.

“My big sister but little sister in eligibility,” Katrina said with a laugh. “I missed playing with her last year, and I think she’ll help us a lot this year.”

Sharaya Selsor’s perimeter shot, which was good two years ago, is more consistent, and she’s still a terror on defense.

When she goes to the bench, the Mavs will match her energy level with senior transfer Bruna Deichmann, who played in the NCAA Division I Elite Eight last year with Alaska Anchorage. The two will also be on the floor together at times, giving the Mavericks a double dose of frenzy.

Deichmann, a 5-9 guard, is from Brazil and wasn’t thrilled with the cold weather in Anchorage, Wagner said. She played at the College of Eastern Utah before going to Anchorage.

Also new to the lineup is shooting guard Taylor Rock, a 5-10 junior who played for Wagner at Otero Junior College, where the Rattlers reached the NJCAA national tournament, and point guard Christen Lopez, a 5-4 junior transfer from Miles (Mont.) Community College.

“Me, Kelsey and Raya, we’ve played together, and Taylor Rock is a great kid, a great shooter,” Katrina Selsor said. “She’ll fit really good into the system. Christen makes great reads to set us up, and that’s what a point guard is supposed to do.”

Lopez isn’t very big, but she sees the floor well, and her quickness allows her to break down the defense and drive to the basket.

Rock is a left-handed 3-point shooter who is deceptive on defense.

“She’s not the most athletic person, but she’s long and she’s in the right spots. Because she’s in the right spot, she can make plays defensively,” Wagner said. “She had over 90 steals last year just by herself. She knows how to play the game.”

That’s what Wagner really likes about the team he inherited. The upperclassmen have that sense of urgency to win and a high basketball IQ, and the younger players are quick studies.

The players have bought into his system quickly because they all have the common goal that wafts over their heads in the gym every day.

“We want it,” Katrina Selsor said, sneaking another peek at the banner above midcourt. “We really want it.”

Color/CMU maroonWOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Color/C=100 M=40 Y=0 K=0MAVERICKS TIP OFF FRIDAY

SEASON OPENER: Colorado Mesa at Dixie State Tip-Off, Friday vs. Simon Fraser; Saturday vs. Montana State-Billings, St. George, Utah.

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