Influx of interest in CMU women’s hoops
Mavs add depth by signing 10 players
Keeping up with the volume of videos, emails and phone calls from players wanting a chance to join the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball program was an impossible task.
After going 31-2, winning the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and South Central Regional championships and reaching the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, Taylor Wagner and Michael Wells were inundated with requests from prospective players.
“It was very difficult in the fact we had so much interest in our program, we couldn’t follow up with everybody,” said Wagner, the Mavs’ head coach. Wells, his assistant, is the recruiting coordinator. “I could have a full-time assistant and that was their only job, they still wouldn’t be able to catch up with everybody with emails and phone calls.”
They zeroed in on filling two major needs — replacing All-Americans Kelsey Sigl and Katrina Selsor — and adding depth by signing 10 players, four out of high school, two junior college transfers and four transfers from four-year schools.
“We wanted to get a good mix of young and old,” Wagner said Monday. “We got a couple of girls who only have one year left. We’ll lose seven seniors next year, so I think we’ll be good for next year and years to come.”
As far as which players will make an immediate impact and which might redshirt, Wagner said that’s up to the Mavs this fall.
“The thing we’ve told everybody from last year’s team and the kids coming in, you can’t underachieve this summer,” Wagner said. “Anybody who doesn’t put the time in, it will show, because there’s going to be somebody right there to take your minutes or take your spot.
“I like the healthy competition. We’ll see it in the fall and see who kind of comes to the top out of that group.”
He expects the Mavericks to be a tough, gritty team with more depth than the eight who played the majority of minutes this past season.
“I think we’ll be good,” Wagner said. “How good? We won’t know that until next March. We’ll compete and still play an exciting brand of basketball.”
They will have a sister act again, with sophomore Siu Lo’amanu and junior Saane Lo’amanu from Taylorsville, Utah. Saane (pronounced SAH-nay), a 5-foot-8 guard, played for Wagner at Otero Junior College, averaging 8.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. She transferred to Friends (Kan.) University but left the team early in the season.
Wagner recruited Siu (pronounced SEE-you), a 5-10 forward, to Otero before taking the job at CMU. She averaged 6.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3 assists per game and will have three years to play for the Mavs.
“She’s a great player, an all-around type player,” Wagner said of Siu. “Her sister is an extremely hard worker, does all the dirty work.”
Another former player of Wagner’s at Otero, Aubrey Boehme, is transferring from the University of Wyoming.
Boehme, a 6-foot senior forward from Smithfield, Utah, was a first-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American at Otero, but played only a few minutes a game at Wyoming. She’s second in career scoring at Otero (1,041 points) and blocked a school-record 94 shots.
“The thing I’m excited about the most is I think we’re just gonna be tough,” Wagner said. “Now we’re going to have to figure out how we’re going to score, but we won’t lack in the competitive department.”
Mesa went the high school route to add depth at point guard, with Erin Reichle (5-6) from Pleasant View, Utah, and Shelby Valentine (5-5) out of Las Vegas, Nev.
“Erin and Shelby will be really good,” Wagner said. “They’re two different type of players. Shelby could be the quickest girl on the team next year and she’s gonna be a great defender for us.
“Erin plays extremely hard, can score and does a little bit of everything. I think they’ll help us at the guard lineup, especially when Christen (Lopez) graduates.”
Seniors Sharaya Selsor, Taylor Rock, Lopez and Hanna Bowden return with significant playing time, but, Wagner said, every spot is up for grabs on what will be a 23-player roster.
“What we tell the kids from last year is we’re recruiting kids to bench you,” Wagner said. “Whether you’re a starter or play a lot of minutes or want to play more, that’s your job to keep your spot, gain it or fill it in.”