Ready to contribute

With ankle injury healed, Saane Lo'amanu set to give Mavericks a lift

A sprained right ankle kept Saane Lo’amanu, center, from playing for the first two months of the Colorado Mesa season. The junior guard is finally healthy and is ready to help the Mavs as they continue RMAC play Friday and Saturday against Colorado Christian and Colorado Mines, respectively.



QUICKREAD

Mav Watch

Probable Starters

Colorado Mesa (7-3, 5-1) Colo. Christian (5-4, 3-2) No. 13 Colo. Mines (9-0, 5-0)

PG Joe Kiely, 5-10 Soph. Kyle Weaver, 6-1 Sr. Trevor Ritchie, 6-5 Jr.

10.3 ppg, 4.5 apg 20.1 ppg, 4.2 apg 9.7 ppg, 5.2 apg

G Landon Vermeer, 6-2 Jr.Avery Redmond, 5-11 Sr. Brian Muller, 6-0, Jr.

12.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg 17.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg 14.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg

G Mike Melillo, 6-5 Jr. Michael Brown, 6-3 Jr. Brett Green, 6-4 Sr.

8.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg 17.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg 13.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg

F Jon Orr, 6-6 Jr. Andrew Squiers, 6-3 Jr. Luke Meisch, 6-6 Sr.

7.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg 7.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg 13.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg

C Ryan Stephan, 6-10 Soph. Joey Trinkle, 6-7 Soph. Trevor Wages, 6-9 Sr.

16.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg 6.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg 13.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg

About the Mavericks: Mesa is second in the RMAC in scoring defense (70.4 points per game) and field goal percentage (.503). The Mavs are third in the RMAC in rebounding margin (6.1 per game). Vermeer is second in the RMAC in 3-point field goal percentage (.545).

About the Cougars: Christian plays an opposite style of basketball from Mesa. The Cougars are averaging 93.1 points per game in their up-tempo style led by point guard Weaver. They average 11 3-pointers per game and shoot 43.6 percent from the 3-point line.

About the Orediggers: Mines is leading the RMAC in scoring (96.4 points per game), scoring margin (+25.4), field goal percentage (.541), field goal percentage defense (420) and rebounding margin (+11.9). Green was an All-American in 2011-12, but missed last season with an injury. Wages, Meisch and Green are preseason All-RMAC picks.

Mav Watch

Probable Starters

No. 5 Colorado Mesa (10-0, 6-0) Colo. Christian (4-5, 2-3) Colorado Mines (3-6, 2-3)

PG Christen Lopez, 5-4 Sr. Taylor Torres, 5-4 Soph. Katie Clements, 5-8 Sr.

7.5 ppg, 5.3 apg 11.2 ppg, 2.6 apg 5.4 ppg, 2.3 apg

G Sharaya Selsor, 5-9 Sr. Christina Whitelaw, 5-7 Sr. Courtney Gallo, 5-8 Sr.

26.9 ppg, 4.6 apg 21.0 ppg, 7.0 apg 14.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg

G Taylor Rock, 5-10 Sr. Jessica Murdoch, 5-7 Sr. Sam Rusk, 5-8 Jr.

9.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg 16.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg 5.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg

F Hannah Pollart, 5-11 Sr. Kate Louthan, 5-11 Soph. Allie Grazulis, 5-11 Sr.

6.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg 6.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg 9.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg

C Aubry Boehme, 6-0 Sr. Gillian Foster, 6-3 Sr. Tory Langas, 6-0 Sr.

13.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg 8.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg 7.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg

About the Mavericks: Mesa leads the RMAC in scoring (78.1), scoring defense (54.3), scoring margin (+23.8), field goal percentage (.459), field goal percentage defense (.333), rebounding margin (+15.1) and assist to turnover ratio (+1.33).

About the Cougars: Whitelaw scored 21 points, grabbed six rebounds and had seven assists in her first game back after a suspension. The Cougars are the only team in the RMAC to defeat the Mavs last season, winning in Lakewood.

About the Orediggers: Helbig scored 18 points in her first game back this season after sitting out the first eight games with an injury. The preseason All-RMAC selection started all 29 games and had nine 20-plus point games last season.



Saane Lo’amanu came to Colorado Mesa University to play basketball for coach Taylor Wagner again.

Two months after start of the season, the junior guard from Taylorsville, Utah, will finally play in a game for the fifth-ranked Mavericks (10-0, 6-0 RMAC). Mesa returns to action after a two-week Christmas break this weekend. The Mavs play at 6 p.m. Friday at Colorado Christian and 5 p.m. Saturday at Colorado School of Mines.

Lo’amanu sprained her right ankle during the first week of practice back in October.

“I was expecting to come in and do something, then I get injured,” Lo’amanu said. “All you can do is cheer from the side and encourage your teammates because you can’t be out there.”

Lo’amanu played two years at Otero Junior College for Wagner, then transferred to Friends (Kan.) University, but didn’t like it there and left the school after one semester. She returned to her parents’ home and worked before coming to Mesa in the fall.

“I love it,” Lo’amanu said. “There’s no other coach I’d rather play for than him.”

She returned to practice this week and is ready to add depth to the Mavericks.

“She’s still got a long ways to go, but she’ll help us in the long run,” Wagner said. “She’s a great rebounder and defender. The big thing for her is getting into shape. We’re excited to have her back. She brings a different element to our team and one that we need.

“I don’t want to throw her out there. It will build up here in practice. Once we see the growth and she can run, obviously the minutes will increase.”

Wagner said the rest of the team showed they stayed in good shape over the break and are ready to go.

“You never come back the way you left,” Wagner said. “You can’t simulate it, but they worked hard I think. Now, we just need to get back into game mode.”

Lo’amanu could make a difference for the Mavericks this weekend against a Colorado Christian team that has guard Christina Whitelaw back. The senior missed last season with an injury. She played her first game of the season two weeks ago against Colorado Mines and scored 21 points, grabbed six rebounds and had seven assists.

“(Christina) Whitelaw is a great player,” Wagner said. “It will be interesting to see how this week goes.

“They’re only going to get better. They’ll be one of the teams in there at the end.”

Mines also has a scorer back in Taylor Helbig, who played her first game of the season two weeks ago against Colorado Christian and scored 18 points.

“We play two good teams,” Wagner said. “They both have their best player back. The (Taylor) Helbig girl from Mines had surgery over the summer, so she’s played one game. I think they’re both capable teams with good players.”

“What we tell our kids in conference play the next biggest game is the one that’s next,” Wagner said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go.”

Men

Colorado Mesa men’s basketball coach Andy Shantz was pleased with practice this week.

“We had a lot of energy,” Shantz said. “It looked like the boys kept up their cardio and are ready to go.

“It’s a group that seems to enjoy playing with each other. It looks like they missed each other (over the break).”

The Mavericks (7-3, 5-1 RMAC) play two of the tougher teams in the RMAC on the road this weekend in Colorado Christian (5-4, 3-2 RMAC) and 13th-ranked Colorado Mines (9-0, 5-0 RMAC).

“CCU has three outstanding guards and are perimeter-oriented,” Shantz said. “They do a good job knocking down 3s. Mines is probably one of the best teams in the nation. They have a good part of their team back that was No. 1 in the nation two years ago.”

Mesa matches up well with the smaller Cougars, who like to run up and down the court with their guard-oriented offense.

Mines presents possibly the biggest challenge of the season for the Mavericks.

“Mines is scoring 100 points a game,” Shantz said. “They can play any way they want. They are balanced. We’ll have to play well for an opportunity to win.”


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