Fort Lewis relies on outside shooting to top Mesa St.
The Mesa State College women’s basketball tried to force second-ranked Fort Lewis to find someone other than Allison Rosel to carry the load.
The Skyhawks did.
Reserve point guard Abby Jackson led Fort Lewis (23-1, 16-0 RMAC) with 19 points Friday night in the Skyhawks’ 78-65 RMAC victory at Brownson Arena. It was the Skyhawks’ 20th consecutive win.
“Abby gave us a spark,” Fort Lewis College coach Mark Kellogg said. “She is playing with confidence. She got after it defensively and made some shots.”
The sophomore guard hit 5 of 6 3-pointers, including 4 of 4 in the first half and starting point guard Erin Kerr made 4 of 6 3-pointers, including 3 of 4 in the first half as the Skyhawks flew out to 30-12 lead.
“The 3s got us going,” Kellogg said. “We were getting inside touches, but they were doubling every post player that caught it. That’s what gave us the open perimeter shots. If you want to take Allison (Rosel) out, we’ve got kids that can make perimeter shots.”
Fort Lewis shot 50 percent in the first half despite Mesa’s efforts to double team Rosel, the preseason RMAC player of the year, and the other post players.
“Anybody can hit open shots,” Mesa State coach Timi Brown said. “We did a good job double-teaming their posts, but not one rotated out to guard the shooters.
“If we double in the post, we’ve got to rotate out. They knocked shots down.”
The Skyhawks pushed their lead to 25 before halftime, but Mesa State (5-19, 2-13 RMAC) went on a 13-0 run in the second half to get within 13 points.
“That was our worst half defensively we’ve played this year,” Kellogg said. “Mesa made some tough shots at times, so give them a little bit of credit, but in our mind they shouldn’t been able to get some of the shots off they did.”
Mesa sophomore guard Hannah Breidel led the way with three 3-pointers.
She led the team with 15 points, all in the second half. Stephanie Delgado added 11.
“We played decent in the second half,” Brown said. “We played harder and more aggressive, but we knew it would take 40 minutes.”
The Mavericks outscored Fort Lewis 43-32 in the second half and shot 68 percent from the floor, while limiting the Skyhawks to 39 percent shooting .
Mesa State shot a season high 54.2 percent for the game.