Now they wait.
The Colorado Mesa women’s basketball team’s 50-47 loss to Colorado Mines in Friday’s RMAC semifinals relegated the Mavericks to hoping their late-season push and a close loss to the top-ranked team in the region is enough to get them an at-large bid to the six-team West Regional, which will be played next weekend in their own gym.
“I really hope so,” CMU coach Taylor Wagner said of the Mavs’ chances. “The thing that’s going to affect is how the Pac West will determine their automatic qualifier.”
The Pacific West Conference split its 10 teams into three pods, playing only within those pods. Hawaii Pacific, Fresno Pacific and Azusa Pacific were declared pod champions — Hawaii Pacific is 13-0, Fresno 7-5 and Azusa 10-4. Azusa is ranked No. 4, Hawaii Pacific No. 5 and Point Loma No. 6 in this week’s regional rankings, with Colorado Mesa (14-8) No. 7.
Point Loma (8-5) finished second in the Southern California pod behind Azusa Pacific.
“It depends on Point Loma,” Wagner said. “They could bump one of us (in the RMAC) and that’d be us.”
The Mavericks couldn’t buy a basket when they needed it the most against Mines, and the bigger Orediggers (17-3) dominated the glass, with 46 rebounds, including 17 on the offensive end.
“It was one of those things, when we needed a big rebound, we didn’t have it, when we needed a big shot, we didn’t make it and we could never close the gap on them,” Wagner said. “We got it to 33-31 (with 4:05 to play in the third quarter) and the next possession they got five rebounds in a row. It was one of those nights where we didn’t do all the little things we needed to.”
Down 46-42 with 23 seconds left, Sierra McNicol scored off an offensive rebound, but the Mavericks had to foul to stop the clock. Denali Pinto hit a pair of free throws and Dani Turner missed a 3 on the other end.
With three seconds left, Kylyn Rigsby, who led the Mavericks with 13 points in what could be her final game, fouled out and the Orediggers put the game away with two more free throws.
Turner, who scored 11 points, hit a 3 just before the horn.
CMU’s defense was good enough — Mines shot only 25%, and made only two of 12 field goals in the fourth quarter, when the Mavericks outscored the ‘Diggers 16-10.
“I think we established we can play, but we still have a few little bad habits that get us in some holes and that’s one thing we have to work on if we get a chance to play next week,” Wagner said. “It’d be fun to see this team on our home floor.”
CSU-Pueblo’s Litzy Serna ended a scoreless tie in the 83rd minute, handing Colorado Mesa a 1-0 defeat at Maverick Field in the season opener for both teams.
The Mavericks (0-1) took 10 shots to the ThunderWolves’ nine, but only four were on goal, two by forward Lila Dere a freshman out of Fruita Monument. Dere took four shots and Lexi Newton three, one of which was on goal.
Serna’s goal came at the 83:20 mark, just after Olivia Haga’s shot for CMU was wide of the goal. Kristen Capan had a shot at the 47:11 mark for the Mavericks that was saved in the bottom corner by CSU-Pueblo keeper Nicole Genis, who finished with four saves. Colorado Mesa’s freshman keeper, Chloe Dody, made six saves.
The Mavericks lost their first duals in the Pacific West Conference by identical 5-0 scores against Concordia University in Irvine, Calif.
The men lost close doubles matches at No. 1 and No. 2, both 6-4, and Tyler Landen dropped a three-set match at No. 3 singles, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3. Concordia won all the other singles matches in straight sets.
The women’s No. 3 doubles team of Lauren Thomas and Julianna Campos lost 7-6, but CMU was swept in straight sets in all the singles matches.