Western St. rolls past Mavericks
Amber Murray didn’t feel well, but she didn’t hold back.
The Western State College junior guard recorded her third double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds Tuesday night to lead the Mountaineers to a 68-50 RMAC victory over Mesa State at Brownson Arena.
“I felt I played lethargic,” Murray said. “My body still hurts.
“Coach said, ‘Amber go to the locker room if you need to.’ I’d rather play than sit on the bench.”
At one point in the second half, Murray went to the locker room in the basement of Saunders Fieldhouse, but she returned to get her last two rebounds for her double-double.
Her performance helped the young Mountaineers (11-11, 7-7 RMAC) snap a three-game losing streak in the last game of a four-game road trip. It helped keep Western State in position for an RMAC tournament berth as well.
“The biggest thing we did is watch video (Monday),” Western State coach Latricia Trammell said. “They didn’t like what they saw. They could see when you do the little things, great things happen. When we came in here today, we corrected those things.
“Even though we have a lot of freshmen, they are all competitors. They want to win. I wasn’t worried about it, but I knew we needed to win to get that stress off our shoulders.”
Western State has 11 freshmen on its team and two of them scored in double figures as well.
Brooke Pendergraft recorded her third double-double of her collegiate career with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Nikki Trujillo had 11 points.
“When I recruited these (freshmen), I looked to see if they want to compete,” Trammell said.
“Do they have the heart to win? Sometimes you hit obstacles, but you learn from it.”
Stephanie Delgado led Mesa State (4-18, 1-13 RMAC) with 14 points despite seeing several double teams. Jennifer Landers had 10 points and six rebounds.
The little things the Mountaineers did included beating Mesa State to the glass.
When Western State wasn’t beating the Mavericks down the court for easy baskets, the Mountaineers were scoring on second-chance opportunities or drawing fouls and going to the free-throw line.
Western State grabbed 52 rebounds to Mesa’s 24. The Mountaineers had 20 offensive rebounds and shot 42.3 percent from the floor. Western drew 21 fouls and shot 32 free throws.
“This is the first time in a while I’ve been disappointed in effort,” Mesa State coach Timi Brown said. “They had so many easy layups and second and third shots.
“We give up 20 offensive rebounds and not defending, of course they’re going to hit second and third shots.”
Although Mesa is playing on three days rest after a four-game road trip, Brown said being tired is just a poor excuse.
“We are no more tired than Western,” Brown said. “Everybody’s tired at this point. That’s just an excuse. There’s no excuse for the way we played tonight and I take responsibility for that.
“Western played hard. They played like a team that wants to get in the playoffs.”
Mesa State hosts another team in the hunt for an RMAC tournament berth in Western New Mexico (8-13, 6-7 RMAC).