Lopez, Selsor lift Mavericks past Rangers
Christen Lopez’s right leg was undoubtedly throbbing from a deep thigh bruise. Sharaya Selsor picked up two fouls in the first four minutes of the game and headed to the bench.
The Colorado Mesa women’s basketball team, ranked fourth in the nation, allowed Regis University to shoot only 18 percent from the field in the first half Saturday afternoon on the way to its 16th straight victory, 87-67.
“We came out and probably played if not our best, our second-best half of the year,” CMU coach Taylor Wagner said. “The girls did a great job of defending, and offensively everything was falling.
“It was a team effort offensively for sure. They were finding each other, and that’s what we needed. It was fun to watch them move the ball so well.”
By sweeping the road trip, the Mavericks put themselves in position to rise even higher in the national rankings this week. No. 2 Emporia State (Kan.) and No. 3 Nova Southeastern (Fla.) both lost last week.
The Mavericks had 23 assists on 34 made baskets and defensively kept Regis’ leading scorer, Tae’lor Purdy, in check.
Purdy, who averages 24 points per game, third in the nation just behind Selsor’s 24.5, finished with 14 points, nine of which came at the free-throw line. Purdy hit only two of 14 from the field.
“We just made sure she took tough shots and hoped she has an off night,” Wagner said. “The girls were really committed to doing that. It wasn’t just one player, we had four or five different people guard her at some point. Maybe that threw her off a little bit.”
With Selsor on the bench for six minutes in the first half, the Mavericks used an inside-outside attack to build a 22-15 lead. Aubry Boehme scored the Mavs’ first six points, Taylor Rock the next six on a pair of deep 3-pointers, and with six minutes left in the half, Selsor took over.
She hit a 3-pointer for a 29-17 lead, and the Rangers were called for a foul away from the ball, giving the Mavericks the ball again.
Selsor took a kick-out pass from Boehme for another 3, Lopez added a 3, and Selsor followed with a jumper and a pair of free throws for a 41-20 lead with 2:16 remaining.
Wagner was a little surprised Lopez was as effective as she was. She had five assists, two steals and five rebounds in 34 minutes despite the thigh bruise.
“She’s still in pain and played through it,” Wagner said. “I didn’t think she’d play that much, but I didn’t want to take her out and have it tighten up. I wanted to keep her in as long as she could go and be effective.”
Colorado Mesa (16-0, 12-0 RMAC) shot 60.7 percent from the field in the first half (17 of 28), 53.8 percent from the 3-point line (7 of 13) and had a 10-rebound advantage on the Rangers (9-7, 7-5) and led 46-24 at halftime.
Regis made a run in the second half to cut the lead to eight, 58-50, on a jumper by Karlyn Johnson, but Erin Reichle answered with a 3 and Selsor a jumper, pushing the lead back to 13.
The closest Regis got after that was 10 with 7:14 to play, but Hanna Bowden went inside for a bucket to spark a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to put the game away.
Four Mavericks finished in double figures, with Selsor scoring right at her average, 23 points, to move up to No. 12 on Mesa’s all-time scoring list with 1,150 points.
Boehme had 20 points to back up her 17-point night Friday against Metro State, and Lopez had 18 and Rock 15, hitting four of nine from the 3-point line.
“We were locked in, and I thought we did a great job helping each other when someone got beat. We were there to help recover,” Wagner said. “It’s good to get these two wins on the road and improve a little bit in the standings.”