Foul trouble, rebounding issues costly for Mesa State women
GUNNISON—When in doubt, suit up the manager.
Mesa State College women’s basketball coach Roger Walters didn’t want to go on the road with only seven players, and he was really hoping he wouldn’t have to play Sarajane Rossi on Tuesday night at Western State.
But with starting guard Joselyn Zarling still out because of a concussion and three Mavericks fouling out in an 80-63 loss to the Mountaineers, he had no choice.
Rossi, a freshman who films during games but practices with the Mavericks just to give them an extra player, played the final two minutes of the game after Katie Cupp was called for charging, her fifth foul.
“The girls are happy for her. She did a good job,” Walters said. “It’s good experience but yeah, the manager burned her redshirt year.”
Cupp (eight points, six rebounds, five assists) was the third Maverick to be dismissed early — center Jenn Kimbrow (five points, three rebounds) fouled out with 9:16 to play and forward Courtney McCaig (14 points, seven rebounds) left at the 4:02 mark.
Two others, Alaina Brennan and Hannah Breidel, who led the Mavericks with 22 points, had four fouls each and Jordan Brand three.
“Evidently, we’re just poorly coached that we keep committing foul after foul,” Walters said with a half-hearted smile. “If we play a perfect game, we’ve got a shot, but for us, it’s got to be perfect. Our margin for error is zero in a lot of aspects.”
Fouls and the inability to rebound with the Mountaineers (9-13, 7-7 RMAC) cost the Mavericks (8-13, 5-9).
Solid shooting and running their offense allowed the Mavericks to take a 27-21 lead 12 minutes into the game, but Western went to a half-court trap that took Mesa out of sync.
“That threw a monkey wrench into it, even though they were out of it after the first pass,” Walters said. “We just stopped moving. I don’t know if we were so exhausted or what, but we did struggle with it.
“The wheels were turning. It didn’t turn us over. It just got us out of rhythm.”
As the Mavericks tried to think how to run the offense against the trap, the offense slowed down considerably and Western State got right into its offense, going on a 13-0 run over a 2 1⁄2 -minute span to lead 32-27.
“That’s a super solid team,” Walters said of Western. “They’re just good. For an extended period of time we were right there, but they’re talented enough with (Brooke) Pedergraft (15 points) and (Amber) Murray (18 points), when they get hot, they can go on runs.”
Kristen Forbes added 17 for the Mountaineers, who were actually outscored by the Mavericks from the field 56-55. Those 26 fouls committed by the Mavs put Western at the line 31 times, where the Mountaineers converted 25 times.
On the other side, Mesa went 7 of 13 from the line.
“Obviously there you go. That’s the ballgame,” Walters said. “We got destroyed on the glass again (46-31) but they have the physical capability of doing that to you. Hopefully next year we can get to that point. We know what we want to do, it’s a matter of physically not being able to do it. That gives us an idea of where we want to get to.”