Defensive pressure, offensive balance help Mesa romp past Regis
Sharaya Selsor had already had a tough week, and it was only Tuesday.
The junior guard for the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team was up most of Sunday night with a stomach illness.
Monday at practice, she got inadvertently popped in the nose during a half-court drill and wasn’t allowed to return to practice, a precaution against a concussion.
By the time Tuesday’s RMAC Shootout quarterfinal game rolled around, Selsor was just fine other than her nose being a little sore. No hint of a concussion or stomach bug, so she triggered the fourth-ranked Mavericks’ 74-50 rout of Regis University at Brownson Arena.
“How can you not be excited? I was just excited, ready to play,” she said. “My teammates got me the ball where I needed to get it. I wish the second half I could have gotten a couple more assists to my teammates.”
She scored nine points, had four assists and two steals in the runaway win that was over by halftime as the Mavericks built a 44-13 lead.
“That’s what my team needs from me when someone goes zone,” she said. “They were shading my side a lot, and I was trying to make cuts because they were going to follow me and that was going to get my teammates open.”
Allowing the Rangers (10-17) to shoot only 15 percent from the field in the first half, the Mavericks’ defense was as good as it’s been all season.
“That was our best half,” CMU coach Taylor Wagner said. “We got after it, we shot the ball well, we defended well. We looked like a team out there.”
Mesa (26-1) forced a handful of shot-clock violations and had the Rangers chucking up shots late in the shot clock on several possessions.
“I think our main focus this postseason is going to be defense. It has been all season,” forward Kelsey Sigl said. “Getting stops, that’s how our offense is fueled. We got after it in the first half.”
That defense helped the Mavericks go on a 14-2 run and push their 13-point lead to 27 points, 34-7, with 4:02 to play in the first half.
Katrina Selsor was an inside-out threat, finding seams in the Regis zone and attacking the basket and hitting one of the Mavericks’ 10 3-pointers, finishing with 10 points.
Christen Lopez hit a trio of 3-pointers and had nine points, Bruna Deichmann had 10 points, and Taylor Rock hit two early 3-pointers to help loosen up the zone.
“We knew we were going to have to hit some big shots from the outside, and those were falling and they had to respect that,” Sigl said. “(Then) I was able to get some looks inside. It worked out.”
Regis went more than seven minutes without scoring during Mesa’s early run and simply couldn’t get a decent look at the basket.
With Regis playing a zone to try to keep the Mavericks’ inside game in check, CMU’s passing had the Rangers scrambling to cover, and they couldn’t cover everyone.
“You can see with the balanced scoring, they’re just trying to figure out who they need to guard, so hopefully we can have that a couple more nights,” Wagner said.
Sharaya Selsor stepped in for a couple of midrange jumpers and buried a 3-pointer in the corner during a 16-3 first-half run that allowed the Mavericks to take control.
She scored seven of her nine points in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the game and spent much of the rest of her 27 minutes finding her teammates. Even more, she caused all kinds of havoc defensively for the Rangers’ Tae’lor Purdy, who finished with nine points on 3-of-11 shooting. She averages nearly 15 points a game.
The Mavericks’ starting five got most of the second half off. Sigl, who scored all 14 of her points in the first half, played only 4 1/2 minutes in the second half and didn’t take a shot. The rest of the starters joined her on the bench within three minutes.
The extended break should help the Mavericks this weekend when they host the final four of the women’s RMAC Shootout.
Colorado Mesa plays Fort Lewis College at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. At 5:30, Metro State plays Colorado Christian. The semifinal winners meet at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets go on sale at noon today by calling 1-800-410-MAVS (410-6287) or online at CMUTickets.com.
Sigl said the Mavericks must maintain Tuesday’s intensity throughout the playoffs.
“That’s what it needs to be from here on out,” she said. “Coach talks about three different seasons, and now we’re in the third season. It’s getting closer to our different goals, and we’re all just focused.”