Mesa State women ending tough season
A tough season for the Mesa State College women’s basketball team was put in perspective this week because of guard Alishea Kelly.
Kelly, a junior, had struggled enough already, missing six games because of aggravated scoliosis.
This week, she dealt with the death of her father.
“Alishea is such a strong person,” teammate Abby Hancock said. “We were heartbroken to hear about her dad. We’re definitely playing for her. I’m confident in the strength of her character to get her through it.”
Kelly left to be home with her family in Fairfield, Calif., and will not play in the Mavericks’ final two games of the season, both on the road.
Mesa State will take a 5-20 record overall, 2-15 in the RMAC, against New Mexico Highlands at 6 p.m. on Friday. The Mavs will finish the season at CSU-Pueblo at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Kelly started 14 games for the Mavericks, scoring in double figures four times and leading the team in scoring three times. She scored a season-high 22 points in a loss to Western State.
Kelly is one of three junior guards who have missed games with injuries.
Hannah Walsh missed the first six games with a shoulder injury. Heather Habekost missed several games early in conference play because of a concussion. The Mavericks will have played 18 of their 27 games this season with at least one junior guard out.
Last weekend, with an opportunity to win their third RMAC game, the Mavericks looked to Kelly, but her shot rimmed out, forcing the game into overtime, where Adams State won.
If it comes down to the last shot again, Mesa State coach Timi Brown will have to look to someone else this time.
“We’re trying to end on a positive note, that’s all we can do,” Brown said. “We played well against Highlands last time. I thought we could’ve played Pueblo better. Hopefully we can do that this weekend.”
Mesa State defeated Highlands (3-22, 1-16) 68-39 one month ago to snap an 11-game losing streak, which resulted in Brown’s resignation, effective at the end of the season.
“We definitely have to keep them at a low shooting percentage,” Brown said. “That’s one of the things we did here. I thought we did a good job defensively and offensively we executed. If we can defend, rebound and execute offensively you’ll probably be in games.”
CSU-Pueblo (17-8, 11-6) has already clinched an RMAC Shootout berth, but is looking to host a first-round game and improve its regional ranking.
“With us and the mentality right now, it’s a matter of putting 40 minutes together,” Brown said.
“I don’t know if anybody is capable of killing us at this point. It’s all about what we do as a team and end on a positive note.”