Gilbert gives Mavericks boost in rout of Western
GUNNISON — Colorado Mesa University’s women’s basketball team didn’t have the start it wanted Saturday night, but the Mavericks turned up the pressure on defense and pulled away to defeat Western State Colorado 73-49 at Paul Wright Gym.
The Mavericks’ defense forced 21 turnovers, had 12 steals and limited Western State to 36.4 percent shooting from the field.
“The second half was huge defensively,” CMU coach Taylor Wagner said. “That’s what we talked about at halftime.
“We’ve got to do that at the beginning of the game. We’ve got to do that against good teams and the rest of the season.”
Mesa had the same number of rebounds as Western State. It was only the third time this season Mesa didn’t outrebound its opponent.
Sharaya Selsor scored 26 points, her most since a 32-point performance against Adams State before the Christmas break, to lead the fifth-ranked Mavericks.
Selsor, though, scored most of her points shooting the ball from the perimeter instead of driving to the basket.
The senior scored 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. She hit 7 of 18 field goals.
“Coming into it, a lot of my mindset is knowing teams will be aggressive against me going to the basket,” Selsor said. “I needed to get back to taking the shot when it’s open and let the others attack the basket.
“I needed that. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling.”
Mesa shot 47.3 percent from the floor and hit nine 3-pointers.
Aubry Boehme scored 14 points and Leanndra Gilbert had a season-high 10 points off the bench.
Gilbert played more minutes, 16, than she had all season because Hannah Pollart was in foul trouble most of the night.
“I kind of was like, ‘Oh crap,’ “ Gilbert said of subbing for Pollart. “I decided this year I’ve got to play with something to prove.”
Jade McIntosh led Western State with 26 points on 12-of-21 shooting.
Colorado Mesa (15-0, 11-0 RMAC) needed a big second-half run to blow the game open.
Western State (5-10, 5-5 RMAC) hit three of its first four shots to grab a 7-3 lead, but the Mavericks responded to take an 8-7 lead. Mesa went on an 11-3 run midway through the first half to lead 22-14.
“We had too many turnovers and fouls,” Wagner said. “That slowed us down. We can’t get into foul trouble.”
The Mountaineers kept it close until Mesa closed the first half with an 8-2 run for a 36-25 halftime lead.
“We did a great job closing the first half,” Wagner said. “A lot of that was due to Leanndra Gilbert.”
The 5-1oot-10 junior forward continued to play a big role for the Mavericks in the second half, scoring seven of Mesa’s first nine points. Gilbert hit a 3-pointer, then hit a layup on back-to-back possessions for a 45-25 lead.
“I was just feeling it,” Gilbert said. “I shot it because I was open. Confidence is the key.”
The Mavericks opened the second half with a 20-2 run. The Mountaineers didn’t score for seven-and-a-half minutes.
“We had a good eight-minute span. Everyone was focused,” Wagner said.
Mesa forced eight turnovers in the first five minutes of the second half, creating several fast-break opportunities.
“We have to be more consistent on defense,” Gilbert said. “When we are good on defense, we can’t be stopped.”