Expectations high as Mesa women open hoops practice

QUICKREAD

“We’re trying not to compare the two different seasons. We’re taking what we learned last year and the work ethic of what it takes to get there. Other than that, last year is done. This team is completely different. We’re going to try to write our own story.”

— senior guard Sharaya Selsor



Kelsey Sigl and Katrina Selsor are gone, but the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team is eager to prove it can be just as good as last year’s record-setting team.

The Mavericks had their first practice for the 2013-14 season Tuesday morning at Brownson Arena.

Sigl is playing professional basketball overseas, and Katrina Selsor, Effo Baker and Bruna Deichmann graduated, but coach Taylor Wagner has nine returning players hoping to build on the Mavericks’ first NCAA Division II Elite 8 appearance in school history.

“Our expectations are the same or even greater,” senior guard Taylor Rock said. “Coach Wags is expecting more. I think we’re expecting more out of each other every day. We know we have to push harder to get back to where we want to be. We’re a way different team than last year.”

Senior Sharaya Selsor was excited to get the season started.

“We’re all excited to redeem the last game,” she said. “We ended on a bitter note.”

Sharaya Selsor is coming off a first-team All-RMAC season and is one of three returning starters. The others are Rock and point guard Christen Lopez.

Wagner saw the excitement in their effort.

“I think they’re ready to get this going,” he said. “I think they still have a lot to prove.”

Wagner has nine new faces on the team this year, including five college transfers and four freshmen to go with the nine returning players.

“We have a good mix of both,” Wagner said. “I think we’re a little deeper than last year. Overall, I think our rotation will be a little bit bigger.”

He has more height this year with five players listed at 6-foot or taller, including University of Wyoming transfer Aubry Boehme.

The senior played for Wagner at Otero Junior College for two years before going to Wyoming last year. She was the Mountain West Conference’s newcomer of the year.

“They definitely have experience, so they’ll help us right away,” Wagner said of the five college transfers. “Aubry played for me at Otero, so she knows a lot of what’s going on. She knows the philosophy.”

Senior forward Hannah Pollart averaged 7.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season for Cameron (Okla.) University in the Division II Lone Star Conference.

The Lo’amanu sisters could make significant contributions. Siutiti, a sophomore, played for Wagner at Otero. Saane, a junior, transferred from Friends University.

Freshmen Anna Munn (6-2) and Kerstin Strong (6-1) give the Mavericks depth in the post.

“We have a lot of weapons that fit in,” Wagner said. “When we recruit kids, we want kids with high character and take it serious.”

Many things won’t change.

“I think you’ll probably see the same plays and philosophy,” Wagner said. “The one thing that is constant is the energy and how hard they play. We’ve got a good group that will do that. If we can establish that with our team, we’ll be very competitive.”

Junior forward Leandra Gilbert is playing volleyball this fall and will join the team when that season ends. She participated in basketball practice Tuesday morning.

The Mavericks scrimmage Utah State-Eastern at 1 p.m. next Tuesday at Brownson Arena. They open the season Nov. 8 at the Southwestern Oklahoma State Classic, then host the annual Holiday Inn-Crossroads Thanksgiving Classic on
Nov. 29-30.


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