The only loss for the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team to date was avenged Saturday night.
Natalie Bartle scored 15 points, leading three in double figures for the No. 24 Mavericks as they defeated Black Hills State 65-58 at Brownson Arena. CMU (7-1, 7-1 RMAC) lost the previous meeting 60-50 on Dec. 11 in Spearfish, South Dakota.
That score was displayed in the team’s locker room in the days leading up to the game, giving the Mavericks constant reminders of the task at hand.
“I feel like it’s always a big game playing against them,” Bartle said. “I feel like, if they’re backing off me, I can shoot it, but they were on me and putting pressure on me, so I saw the lane. If I can beat them, I’ll go. Also, they were switching screens, so that opened up the lane a lot.”
The Yellow Jackets (6-2, 6-2) led 17-12 in the first quarter after back-to-back layups by Racquel Wientjes, but Kylyn Rigsby, one of two Mavericks to score 12 points along with Dani Turner, hit a 3-pointer in the right corner to end the first quarter in a 17-17 tie.
Bartle started the second quarter with a steal and a layup, setting the stage for a quarter in which she scored eight of her points. A Turner layup extended CMU’s scoring run to 11-0 for a 23-17 lead. Black Hills State rallied to tie the game at 25-25, but Bartle scored twice as part of a 6-0 run that gave the Mavs the lead for good.
“We got a couple of buckets off of (their high pressure),” CMU coach Taylor Wagner said. “I think that’s when they got out of it, when we got to the middle and to the corners. We only had nine turnovers for the amount of pressure they gave us. Overall, we did a great job handling their pressure.”
Bartle hit a 3 from the top of the key late in the third quarter to help the Mavericks take a 54-47 lead into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, Kelsey Siemons, who blocked three shots and pulled down six rebounds to go along with seven points, hit a left-wing 3 for a 61-53 lead with 4 minutes, 36 seconds left.
The Yellow Jackets trimmed the lead to 61-58 with 2:16 to go, but that was as close as they could get, with Turner exploding to the basket on the next possession to put the game away.
CMU allowed only one field goal in the fourth quarter to cap a strong defensive performance in which they held Wientjes, who scored 28 in the teams’ December meeting, to 14 points.
“I think we were fired up today,” Siemons said. “We wanted revenge all week. We had been talking about how we were going to stop them and how we were going to stop Wientjes. It was really a big defensive team win tonight. ... We wanted to kick their butts and shove it down their throats.”
Donnie Negus pinned Fort Hays State’s Tereus Henry with six seconds remaining in the match to secure the Mavericks’ 22-21 upset of the No. 12 Tigers in the final dual of the Fort Hays State Jamboree.
It was CMU’s second victory over a ranked team after the Mavs (2-2) downed No. 23 Newman University 22-14.
Negus trailed the 197-pound bout 9-8 with 21 seconds remaining, but reversed Henry and got the pin only seconds before the match ended, giving Mesa the bonus points it needed to hold on.
Seth Latham won his first match of the season, upsetting sixth-ranked Marty Verhaeghe 8-5 at 174 pounds, and seventh-ranked Nolan Krone defeated No. 9 Aryus Jones 8-2 in the 184-pound match.
Against Newman, Fred Green, in his first match of the season, lost to second-ranked Kameron Frame by technical fall, 17-2, at 165, but came back to record a major decision against Fort Hays’ Cody Hicks, 13-2, for a crucial bonus point.
That victory started a five-match winning streak, allowing the Mavs to come back from a 15-6 deficit to win the dual.
Cian Apple went 2-0 at 125 pounds and Negus and Krone also won both of their matches.