Lapses, missed free throws cost Mavericks
DENVER — The game plan was spot-on.
The Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team came out Friday afternoon attacking the basket against third-ranked Metro State College and packing the paint on defense.
It worked until the Mavericks got sped up on offense for about four possessions late in the first half.
That’s all it took for the Roadrunners to take control for a 60-49 victory in the teams’ first game back from the holiday break.
“That was the good thing, we didn’t play afraid,” Colorado Mesa coach Roger Walters said. “We didn’t execute great but we didn’t play afraid.”
Colorado Mesa (7-4, 5-2 RMAC) trailed by 10 at halftime, 32-22, after the Roadrunners’ runout.
Kelsey Sigl, who missed three games before Christmas with a concussion, got untracked offensively in the second half for the Mavericks. She scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half despite spending some crucial minutes on the bench in foul trouble and fouling out with just more than three minutes to play.
“We came out and played really, really well to start the second half and I think we cut it to four,” Walters said. “For the majority of the second half we had it within striking distance.”
“We made a few bad choices in transition and a few bad choices in the halfcourt at the wrong time. You just can’t do that against a great team,” he said.
Every time the Mavs would get it to four, though, the Roadrunners (10-0, 6-0) pushed it right back to 8 or 10 points by using their size.
Metro, which leads the RMAC in rebounding (45 per game), didn’t do anything different against Colorado Mesa. CMU, which averages 40 rebounds a game, lost that battle 46-27, most noticeably on the offensive end.
Metro State grabbed 18 rebounds to Mesa’s five, and scored 12 second-chance points to Mesa’s zero.
“There were multiple times we gave them three looks at the bucket and on the third time we gave up something,” Walters said. “That’s it, that’s the difference in the game is right there, and free throws.”
As has been the case all season, Mesa continued to struggle from the free-throw line, hitting only 13 of 24. Metro made 10 of 13.
“We shoot 54 percent from the free-throw line and we get outrebounded by 19. You can’t beat an average team doing those things,” Walters said. “We have to shoot 75 percent from the line. If we shoot 75 percent from the line it’s a different game at halftime. If we shoot 75 percent in the second half, it’s different.”
Sigl’s 13 points led Mesa, with Katrina Selsor adding 12 and Effo Baker seven. Metro’s Caley Dow had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Jenessa Burke scored 13 off the bench and guard Jasmine Cervantes had 12.
Missed free throws and a few offensive lapses aside, the Mavericks were beaten by a superior team. Metro has won 40 of 43 games under second-year coach Tanya Haave.
“They’re the real deal, they’re really good,” Walters said. “They’re tough and it’s a good measuring stick. If we function at our highest level, we can play with them, I have no doubt that we can, but we have to be at our highest level.
“It’s not good enough to compete any more. There’s only one thing that’s going to be good enough for us from here on out and that’s winning games. Until our kids realize how good we can be…the staff believes in them and they’re getting the belief in themselves, then we’ll be OK.”