Brennan adds spark off bench for Mesa
Alaina Brennan is about as hybrid a basketball player as you’ll find.
She has the height of a guard and the mentality of a center.
“Rover,” she quipped about her “point/post” position for the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team. It’s fitting she chose rover to describe herself — she plays outfield on the softball team. “I’m Tebow; in the fourth quarter I decide to play.”
It was a little bit earlier than that Friday night, a four-minute span early in the second half when Brennan gave the Mavericks the lift they needed in a 67-59 victory over Chadron State at Brownson Arena.
“I think it’s my job to come in and give an extra little spark when I can, do my job and fill in where we need a little lift here and there,” the senior said.
Just after checking into the game, Brennan drove the lane and hit a runner, drawing a foul. She converted the three-point play for a 39-32 lead but wasn’t nearly done.
She trailed the break on the Mavs’ next trip down the floor and buried a 3-poiner and then, after Dallas Rohrbaugh missed a pair of free throws, Brennan latched onto the offensive rebound.
Brennan brought the ball back into the lane, shooting a running hook and drawing the foul on the miss. She hit both free throws for a 44-36 lead with 12:47 to play.
“My favorite thing is getting offensive rebounds on free throws,” she said. “That’s my favorite thing to do. I pulled it out and saw a gap and tried to use my 5-foot-5 post moves.”
Brennan’s eight-point run allowed the Mavericks to get a little bit of breathing room in the ugly, foul-plagued game in the RMAC opener for both teams.
“Tim (Connealy) does a good job with them and they have a lot to do with the way we play,” CMU coach Roger Walters said. “They’re super scrappy, they’re going to play hard, they’re going to get in your face and they’re going to go to the boards and do all the little things right. They did more little things right tonight than we did.”
The Mavericks, though, did enough behind Kelsey Sigl’s 15 points, Katrina Selsor’s 12 and Amy Weitzeil’s 10 to overcome first-half foul trouble and finally take control.
“It was just the effort going in,” Sigl said. “The mindset you’re going to get every rebound, just be relentless. That’s something we need to work on as a whole unit. We’ll get better at it.”
And it was better in the second half. The Mavericks (3-2, 1-0 RMAC) stopped turning the ball over — 14 of their 19 turnovers were in the first half — and got tougher on the boards.
“We’re trying to tell them you can learn from wins just like we learned from the first two losses,” Walters said. “This is one we’d better learn from.”
The game was physical from the start, and the Mavericks lost sophomore post Hanna Bowden to a concussion.
With just less than eight minutes to play in the first half, she grabbed an offensive rebound, scored and turned to run down the floor. She caught a shoulder from a Chadron player in the face as the two crossed paths.
Her head snapped back and she crumpled to the floor. She came back in for a couple of minutes later in the half but left complaining of concussion-type symptoms.
Her parents took her home to Montrose to keep an eye on her overnight. Walters said Bowden won’t play tonight against Nebraska-Kearney and will likely miss next week’s games.
“That hurt us because H was playing well,” he said. “I thought we had some kids play really solid tonight.
“Amy was spectacular, she got us going in the second half, was just a beast. She got some second-chance buckets, four offensive boards, that just set the tone for the second half.”