Colorado Mesa women feed off crowd, top Tarleton
One look around Brownson Arena Friday night, and the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team was raring to go.
As the stands kept filling up, the Mavericks responded, putting on an offensive show and clamping down on Tarleton State (Texas) defensively in a 67-54 victory in the opening round of the Clarion Inn Thanksgiving Tip-Off.
“The crowd, that gets me every time,” said Hillary Duncan, a senior transfer who got her first glimpse of a Brownson Arena crowd (890 without students on campus because of the holiday). “Playing at home, the crowd gives you a big boost. It was awesome; it made me smile.”
The Mavericks, who lost two close games on the road last week, made sure this one didn’t go down to the wire.
They raced to an 11-2 lead and in the first nine minutes of the game had Tarleton calling timeout three times, trying to make adjustments.
“They’re so well-coached, I think we might have caught them on a good night shooting the ball,” CMU coach Roger Walters said. “I think we caught them on a good night and elevation might have had something to do with it, but our kids played with a lot of heart and it was fun to see them get what they deserve tonight.”
The Mavericks just kept pushing the pace, running when they had the chance, cutting to the basket, dominating the glass and not letting the TexAnns, ranked No. 20 in the preseason, get into the game.
Katrina Selsor, who has been the steady rebounder and passer during her career, was dominant on both ends of the floor, hitting 6 of 8 shots and scoring 15 points to lead the Mavericks (1-2).
“The last few games I’ve been thinking about it,” Selsor said of her offense. “Tonight I didn’t have a chance to think about it; I just let the game come to me.”
Kelsey Sigl had 14 tough points inside and had seven rebounds, as did Selsor, and Duncan came off the bench for 11 points.
“It’s fun coming off the bench,” she said. “We just have so many different looks, coming off the bench is refreshing.”
Down 35-21 at halftime, the TexAnns pressed fullcourt in the second, but for the most part, the Mavericks handled it.
“There are always some tweaks, we have to make better choices inbounding the ball,” Walters said. “Once we got the thing in, we handled it pretty well.”
They built the lead to 21 points, 44-23, when Dallas Rohrbaugh hit two free throws.
Tarleton went on a 13-3 run, fueled by CMU turnovers and missed shots, and cut the lead to 11, 47-36, with 11:08 to play.
Selsor hit a couple of free throws and after Tarleton answered, Duncan went coast-to-coast. She made a nice move in the lane to get to the basket for a layup and a 51-38 lead.
Rohrbaugh, a freshman point guard from Erie, made a pretty no-look pass after breaking the press, with Sigl converting, and the lead was back to 17, 57-40.
The Mavericks shot 52 percent from the field and cut their turnovers nearly in half, 15, from the first two games.
Defensively, though, is where they stood out. Tarleton, which won 25 games last season, shot only 22 percent from the field in the first half and 27 percent for the game.
The Mavericks had 43 rebounds and blocked four shots, and contested nearly every shot the TexAnns took.
“When we play like that we’re really good,” Walters said. “That was fun to watch for everybody. Defensively, that led to a lot of the early run-outs.
“The kids had great energy tonight and were really focused. It was fun to watch.”
CU-Colorado Springs 109, Oklahoma Panhandle 98: Sammi Gentile scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds off the bench to lead the Mountain Lions to a school-record offensive night.
Six UCCS players reached double figured, with Abby Kirchoff adding 16 off the bench and Sam Patterson, Ashley Miller and Danielle Brown scoring 12 each. Lauren Wolfinger had 11.
Panhandle (0-6) has allowed 100 or more points in five of six games, and took 88 shots, 44 from beyond the 3-point line and 44 inside the arc, hitting 15 of each.
The Mountain Lions (3-1), though, grabbed 60 rebounds, 20 on the offensive end, and shot 53 percent from the field.
COLORADO MESA 67,
TARLETON STATE 54
UP NEXT: Oklahoma Panhandle vs. Colorado Mesa, 5 p.m. today at Brownson Arena