Mesa State returns to losing ways at Western State
GUNNISON — The Mesa State College women’s basketball team seemed to have a hard time finding inspiration.
The Mavericks weren’t motivated after snapping their 11-game losing streak or by winning one for outgoing coach Timi Brown.
Instead, Western State pulled away in the second half to defeat Mesa State 78-59 in an RMAC game on Tuesday night at Paul Wright Gym. It was Western State’s fifth consecutive victory.
“I think it has zero affect on this team,” Brown said. “We’re not coming out and playing hard.”
Western State played hard and with confidence even though it has 15 new players on the team this year, including 11 freshmen.
“At first, we had some growing pains,” Western State coach Latricia Trammell said. “Right now is a great time to move up the hill. They play together and love each other. (Those are) some key ingredients for a successful recipe.”
Their most significant ingredient may be junior college transfer Amber Murray.
The RMAC West Division player of the week led the Mountaineers (10-8, 6-4 RMAC) with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
“She’s just one of those solid basketball players everyone wants on their team and I’m so glad she’s on mine,” Trammell said. “She can shoot the three, she can get to the rim and her defense is getting so much better. A lot of people don’t realize she missed the first three weeks with a shoulder injury.”
Phaliesha Kodaseet had 19 points and nine rebounds and Brooke Pendergraft had 15 points.
Alishea Kelly led the Mavericks (4-14, 1-9 RMAC) with 22 points and seven rebounds.
Western State went ahead for good with 13 minutes left when freshman Pendergraft hit a 3-pointer for a 48-45 lead.
“We let role players come in and have big games,” Brown said. “I thought we did a decent
job on Murray, but it was everybody else that comes in the game that kills you.”
Western State did most of its damage at the free-throw line, making 13 of 19 foul shots the rest of the way.
“We refuse to step in and take a charge,” Brown said. “We’d rather foul than move our feet and take pride in defensive effort.”
Western State shot 54 percent from the floor in the second half after shooting 36.7 percent in the first half.
Mesa State shot poorly the entire game, making 34.5 percent.
“We fell apart defensively,” Brown said. “We don’t body up on screens, miss layups, miss free throws then start worrying about the officials.”