Mesa women No. 4 in final hoops poll
A three-point loss to the eventual national runner-up apparently impressed the voting members of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, who made Colorado Mesa No. 4 in the final USA Today/WBCA national poll.
It’s the highest finish in the national poll in the program’s history.
The Mavericks (30-2) received 630 total votes and one first-place vote, despite not reaching the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. Colorado Mesa, which was ranked as high as No. 2 this season, winning its first 25 games, lost to West Texas A&M 59-56 in the championship game of the South Central Region.
The Buffs (32-3), who finished second in the rankings, lost to No. 1 Bentley (Mass.) University 73-65 after leading much of the second half in the title game. Bentley completed an undefeated season, going 35-0 and received 30 of the 31 first-place votes.
Nova Southeastern (29-5) finished third in the national rankings, after losing to West Texas in the national semifinals, with Drury (Mo.) University (27-4) fifth and Cal Poly-Pomona (26-7) No. 6.
Drury lost to Bentley in the national quarterfinals. Emporia State (Kan.) University, which was upset in its regional tournament, finished 30-4 and ranked No. 7. Edinboro (Pa.), Gannon (Pa.) and Harding (Ark.) rounded out the top 10.
This is the second straight year the Mavericks have finished the season ranked in the top 10 in the nation. After last year’s quarterfinal loss in the Elite Eight, Colorado Mesa was ranked No. 8 in the final poll.
The Mavericks took the week of spring break off and began their offseason conditioning program Monday morning, with head coach Taylor Wagner spending the two weeks since the regional tournament arranging recruiting visits for prospective players to replace six graduating seniors.
Austin Kaiser continued his torrid season, hitting .545 (12 for 22) in a four-game sweep of Adams State last weekend.
The senior outfielder from Colorado Springs was selected the RMAC player of the week for the third time this season. Kaiser had three doubles, one home run, scored six runs and drove in 10. He also stole nine bases in nine attempts as the Mavericks built a six-game lead in the RMAC Mountain Division.
The Mavericks (21-6) are 15-3 in conference play, Regis and Colorado School of Mines are tied for second at 9-9.
Colorado Mesa moved to No. 22 in the nation in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll this week, up three spots from last week.
Tampa (Fla.) University remained No. 1 in the nation with a 31-2 record.
In the Collegiate Baseball Writers poll, the Mavericks moved up five spots from No. 18 to No. 13 in the nation. Tampa is also No. 1 in the writers’ rankings. The baseball writers also released their South Central Region rankings, with the Mavericks No. 2 behind West Texas A&M (26-7).
CSU-Pueblo, at No. 10, is the only other conference team listed in the writers’ regional rankings. The Mavericks play a key four-game series this weekend in Pueblo, which is leading the Plains Division of the RMAC with an 11-7 record. New Mexico Highlands is second at 11-8 in conference play.