Turnovers, poor free-throw shooting doom Mavs
A couple of years ago, just surviving a game against Fort Lewis was the goal.
The expectations have changed for the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team, however, so Friday night’s 69-55 loss at Brownson Arena to the No. 6 team in the nation left the Mavericks disappointed.
“You have to be at the top of your game to beat a team like that, or be in the game with them,” CMU coach Roger Walters said. “They just dominated us. At times we allowed it, especially in the first half. We played afraid for whatever reason. I’m just really disappointed with the first-half effort. The second half, I can live with that.”
Playing without their leading scorer, Kelsey Sigl, who is still feeling the effects of a concussion sustained last week, the Mavericks struggled to establish an inside game.
They didn’t have an answer for RMAC preseason player of the year Dana Schreibvogel, who scored 21 points, missing only two field goals and going 9 of 10 from the free-throw line.
“The disappointing thing is, we had all week to prepare for it,” Walters said. “I don’t care who we put on the floor, we can do better. You don’t turn it over 31 times and shoot 43 percent from the line and try to beat anybody, whether it’s the sixth-worst team in the country or the sixth-best team in the country.”
But more than that, the Mavericks (6-3, 4-1 RMAC) gave the Skyhawks (7-1, 4-0) too many chances to score, committing 31 turnovers.
“Our turnovers are what killed us,” said senior guard Tara Gehring, who led Mesa with 15 points. “Bottom line.
“It was us. We shot ourselves in the foot. It wasn’t them, it was all us.”
Without Sigl, who will miss tonight’s game against Adams State, CMU started Katrina Selsor at forward and Hillary Duncan on the wing.
With Selsor expending much of her energy in her 38 minutes on defense and on the boards (she had 11), she was never really into the flow of the offense. Not that there was a lot of offensive flow on either side — the teams combined for 53 turnovers.
Selsor finished with four points, Duncan five. Senior center Amy Weitzeil had eight, but fouled out in the second half.
Mesa was tentative offensively in the first half, falling behind by 10 and unable to cut into the lead in the second half.
“Tentative is an understatement,” Walters said. “We’re usually not like that. I don’t know why we were.
“As a group, we struggled. We had some kids play really hard, but as a group I don’t think we did (play hard) in the first half. It’s just frustrating. We did some good stuff in the second half, some decent stuff.”
Mesa, the best field-goal shooting team in the RMAC, made only 38.6 percent from the field, only 28.6 percent in the first half. The Mavericks didn’t have a problem against the Skyhawks’ full-court pressure, but threw the ball away in the half-court offense, leading to runouts by Fort Lewis.
More than the field-goal shooting, though, was Mesa’s free-throw shooting, only 7 of 16 (43.8 percent). Fort Lewis made 24 of 30.
Hanna Bowden picked up more minutes with Sigl on the bench and responded with 12 points and six offensive rebounds.
“Dad calls me the trash player,” Bowden said, grinning. “He’s always told me, ‘You’re a trash player, go get those boards.’
“We kept making silly turnovers and it got everyone down a little bit. When they would make their runs we couldn’t capitalize on them because we were turning it over on the other end.
“You can’t get into a flow like that. It was just stupid stuff. We weren’t being aggressive. When we would be aggressive we’d get a good look out of it. We have to be aggressive all the time.”
Walters told the Mavericks to forget about the first half, learn from the second, when they went on a little 7-0 run to stop Fort Lewis from running away with the game, and ran the offense better.
“Coach is awesome, he said to flush the first half, look at the second half, that’s when we played better,” Gehring said. “Try to remember that. We have to get (Adams State tonight). That’s the game we have to live with over break.”