Redemption: Mavs take out frustration for Tuesday loss on Mustangs
The basketball IQ shot up considerably Thursday night for the Mesa State College women’s basketball team.
“Their basketball IQ is climbing,” Mesa State coach Roger Walters said after a balanced attack led the Mavericks to an 81-68 victory over Western New Mexico at Brownson Arena. “They’ve come a long way and we can get better.”
All eight Mavericks scored, five reaching double figures, and junior post player Jenn Kimbrow had a breakout second half, scoring all but one of her 13 points.
It was a bit of redemption for the Mavericks, none of whom were happy with their performance Tuesday in a 64-47 loss to Western State.
“Getting beat by almost 20 by our rival was a tough loss,” said Courtney McCaig, who scored 16 points. “Meagan (Selvidge) and I were watching the boys and said, ‘Man, that would be so cool to win by 20.’ All of us wanted to redeem ourselves from Tuesday. Tonight we played together.”
It showed in the Mavericks’ 18 assists on 27 baskets — and the ones they didn’t have assists on were mainly fastbreak layups after breaking the Mustangs’ press.
Although the Mavericks still had trouble rebounding, their half-court defense kept the Mustangs (4-12, 4-6 RMAC) from getting into any kind of rhythm offensively.
Walters made a defensive adjustment, putting 5-foot-1 senior Jocelyn Zarling on Lonnie Sanchez, who hit three straight 3-pointers early in the game, and the Mustangs bogged down offensively.
After those early 3s, Sanchez scored only five more points, finishing with 19 points, 14 in the first half.
“The kid comes out and hits the first 9 points and all we told the kids was, ‘I don’t want her to shoot another 3 the whole game,’ ” Walters said. “She squeezed off a couple but at least they were contested.
“We’re doing a better job of recognizing where the shooters are.”
The Mavericks’ ability to break Western New Mexico’s full-court pressure allowed them to score easy buckets. They mixed attacking the basket with open 3-pointers when they flowed into their half-court offense.
“We made really good choices on whether to attack or to pull it out and run our stuff,” Walters said. “They just made great choices tonight.”
Mesa State (5-11, 4-7 RMAC) took control of the game midway through the second half, with Alaina Brennan scoring six points in a 13-3 run. A 3-pointer in the corner by Hannah Breidel (14 points) gave the Mavericks a 62-45 lead with 9:52 to play.
Less than three minutes later, Kimbrow was tripped on a move in the lane but still managed to muscle up a shot and scored with 7:17 to play.
Six seconds later, she took a change on the other end, and Selvidge (12 points) put the game out of reach with a 3 from the corner at the 6:57 mark for a 69-48 lead. Point guard Katie Cupp also reached double figures with 10 points and Brennan added eight.
“We played so much better,” Selvidge said. “We played as a team. We had what, four or five players in double digits? It was night and day from Tuesday.”