Defining the Mavs
Despite different players, Mesa displays uncanny consistency the past two years
Consistent: con·sis·tent, adj.
Always acting or behaving in the same way
Of the same quality; especially: good each time
Continuing to happen or develop in the same way
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better word to describe the Colorado Mesa women’s basketball team the past two seasons than consistent.
Consider, through 14 games last season and the first 14 this season, some startlingly familiar numbers.
The Mavericks shot 43.5 percent last season. This year’s Mavs are shooting 45.2 percent as a team.
The 2012-13 team averaged 73 points per game and allowed 51.2 points per game, a difference of 21.8 points.
This season, CMU is scoring 75.9 points per game and allowing 54.1 points, a difference of — yep — 21.8 points.
The Mavs have scored 40 more points this season than they did through 14 games last season, but have given up 40 more.
“That’s crazy,” senior guard Taylor Rock said.
It gets crazier.
Wanna talk field-goal defense? Last season, 33.1 percent; this season, 33.6 percent.
Rebounds? 41.4 per game then; 44.7 now.
The numbers that really make you do a double-take are at the free-throw line.
In winning their first 14 games last season, the Mavericks went to the line 290 times, hitting 216 (74.5 percent). This season, they’ve gone to the line 290 times, hitting 216 (74.5 percent).
Opponents were 175 for 251 at the free-throw line last season; they’re 177-252 this season.
“Wow,” CMU coach Taylor Wagner said.
The funny thing is the teams are vastly different.
“That’s ironic,” senior guard Sharaya Selsor said of the similar stats. “We’re completely different teams.”
One common denominator is that both were senior-dominated teams.
“It suits this team a little bit better,” Wagner said of his offense. “Last year’s team, the scorers that we had and the different personalities and characteristics of their games are completely different. This year we need to rely on each other a little bit more, especially down the stretch. If we do that, good things will happen.”
This team is patient offensively, finding the open player for high-percentage shots. The Mavericks have 255 assists (18.2 per game) on 376 made baskets.
The players say part of the consistency is a product of Wagner’s offense. He has a wealth of plays at his disposal for a half-court game and can call something that will counter just about any defense they see.
“People don’t understand the way he runs his offense,” said Selsor, who was averaging 13.7 points a game at this point last season and is the top scorer in the conference this season at 24.4 points. “That is why he’s so successful, because the offense Coach Wagner runs is perfect for women’s basketball. It puts every girl in a situation where she can be successful.
“You don’t have to necessarily create your own shot, the shot finds you. It’s good because we have people who can create their own shots, but we don’t have to create them. The offense creates them for us.”
Another reason the fifth-ranked Mavericks, who play at Western State Colorado University (5-10, 5-5) on Saturday night, have been consistent is because they’ve gotten used to that system.
“One, the girls that are back feel a lot more comfortable in it, and two, some of the girls we brought in are comfortable with it, too,” Wagner said.
Two new Mavericks, Aubry Boehme and Saane Lo’amanu, played for Wagner two years ago, and Siu Lo’amanu signed with Wagner before he got the CMU job. Rock is in her fourth year in Wagner’s system. Hannah Pollart played against Wagner’s Otero teams when she was in junior college at Northeastern (Wyo.).
The numbers the Mavericks like best are the identical 14-0 start and 10-0 RMAC record.
“They understand what it takes to get back to where we want to be, and it’s not easy,” Wagner said. “As a coaching staff we’re not going to let them relax.”