Mavs hold off Yellow Jackets
Colorado Mesa had not lost a game all season; Black Hills State had not lost a conference game at home.
The second-ranked Mavericks women’s basketball team could not shake the Yellow Jackets until the final minutes Friday night, getting two crucial 3-pointers in the final 3:36 for an 86-82 victory.
It was the first time the Mavericks (20-0, 16-0 RMAC) have given up 80 or more points since Taylor Wagner took over last season.
“They shot the ball so well,” Wagner said. “I thought defensively we were not the best we could have been, but I don’t think we’ve given up 80 since I’ve been here. Everything went in for them. The good thing is we shot it as well. That was the only key. We kind of outshot them.”
Certainly Sharaya Selsor did, scoring 35 points, 26 in the second half. She missed only once after halftime, going 6 for 7, 4 of 5 from the 3-point line. She made a career-high seven 3-pointers, only one off Hannah Breidel’s school record, set in 2009.
“What’s interesting is how they couldn’t find her, and we couldn’t find (Chelsey Biegler),” Wagner said. “They were trading shots. For us, that’s unacceptable. We’ve got to be able to guard a little better. We know she’s their leading scorer and best shooter.”
Biegler finished with 25 points to lead four Yellow Jackets in double figures. The Mavericks also had four in double figures — Christen Lopez had 16 points, seven assists and two steals, Aubry Boehme 13 points, and Hannah Pollart 10 points and seven rebounds.
With Black Hills State (10-10, 9-7) playing a 2-3 zone in the first half, the Mavericks went to work inside, with the two post players combining for 12 points.
“They were in their zone, and we’d get it in the middle and they’d bring a bottom person up, and that opened it up on the baseline,” Wagner said. “That’s where the hole was, and we needed to get the ball there, and luckily we capitalized on it. They played zone the whole first half and even the beginning of the second. After we hit a couple 3s they got out of it.”
The Mavericks hit 11 of 22 from the 3-point line and shot 54 percent from the field (27 of 50). Led by Lopez, the Mavericks had 21 assists on 27 made baskets. Taylor Rock and Boehme had four assists each.
Black Hills also shot the ball well, 63.6 percent in the first half and 53 percent (26 of 49) for the game.
The final six minutes, Wagner said, the Mavericks finally hit their stride on both ends of the floor. Lopez hit a jumper for a 69-64 lead, and, after two Black Hills free throws and a 3 by Biegler tied it, Selsor hit two free throws for a 71-69 lead with 4:19 to play.
Biegler missed a 3, and with 3:36 to play, Lopez took a kick-out pass from Boehme for a 3-pointer. The five-point lead was the jump start to a 10-2 flurry that gave the Mavericks their biggest lead of the game, 84-74, with 29 seconds to play.
Selsor hit a baseline jumper and another 3 in that run.
“Sharaya and Christen hit big 3s in the second half, and it was huge for us,” Wagner said. “We couldn’t guard anybody. We couldn’t guard our shadow out there for awhile.
“The last, oh, not the last minute and a half, but the four minutes before that, we played great, came up with stops, rebounded, made shots. For about four minutes we played like we normally do.
“Give Black Hills credit. They hit big shots. They were ready to take us down and were not quitting at all.”