The start from Friday to Saturday was a complete 180 for the Colorado Mesa women's basketball team.
The Mavericks trailed from the opening tip against Tarleton State in the Texan Tipoff Classic in Stephenville, Texas, falling behind 9-0 before staging a furious rally in a 57-53 loss.
"We've been like that, last night to tonight, in practices and scrimmages," CMU coach Taylor Wagner said.
"We turn the ball over way too much. For some of them, they were here last year but it's getting experience having important minutes on the floor. We played panic basketball for about 15 minutes tonight and probably during that 15 minutes we probably had 80 percent of our turnovers. We shot ourselves in the foot."
Still, the Mavericks (1-1) were back in the game at halftime, down 32-28 after taking better care of the ball and getting into a flow on offense. It continued early in the third quarter, when the Mavericks scored the first five points, taking their first lead, 33-32, on a layup by Kelsey Siemons, with 7:33 left in the quarter.
"Two different times we went up and we couldn't finish it," Wagner said.
Right after taking the lead, the Mavericks gave up a layup and a 3-pointer, and were down 10, 43-33, with 1:56 left in the third quarter.
Again, they made a run to open the fourth quarter and led 44-43 when Morgan Myers hit a driving layup in transition with 6:03 on the clock. They didn't score for almost three minutes, on a free throw by Sydni Brandon, followed by a Siemons 3-pointer, cutting the lead to one, 49-48.
Down the stretch, though, Mesa couldn't knock down a perimeter shot. Down 55-50, Savannah Domgaard came up with a steal, but Kylyn Rigsby missed a 3-pointer on the other end with 47 seconds left. Siemons got the rebound, but Brandon missed a 3, and Mesa got another offensive board. Brandon missed a layup in the paint, but got on the floor to force a held ball, with CMU keeping possession after a long discussion by the officials.
Rigsby missed another 3-pointer with 21 seconds to play, and the Mavs fouled to stop the clock. Tarleton (2-0) made one free throw, and with five seconds left, Daniella Turner hit a 3-pointer, and another foul led to a free throw for the Texans and a four-point lead with three seconds left.
Brandon was double-teamed on the inbounds pass, and as she tried to split the defenders, she hit the floor and turned the ball over.
Siemons finished with 13 points, hitting three 3-pointers, and Sierra McNicol added 11 before fouling out. Foul trouble was an issue — the Texans went to the line 28 times, hitting 21 to CMU going 9 for 15.
"We put them at the free-throw line way too much," Wagner said. "Again, that's one area we're very undisciplined. "
Mesa turned the ball over 21 times and shot only 33.9% from the field.
"It seemed like we felt rushed," Wagner said. "They defended us extremely well; they did a phenomenal job on us, they rushed us. I can't think of how many missed layups we had. It was one of those things; we can learn from this game.
"We've got to mature a little bit more. We've got to get it corrected immediately. We want the other team to beat us, not ourselves, and that's what we did a little bit tonight."
One day after losing on a buzzer beater, the Mavericks had a chance to win at the horn, but Georgie Dancer's long shot hit the rim and bounced out in a 67-66 loss to Dallas Baptist in the D2 Conference Challenge in Lakewood.
The Mavericks were screaming for a foul to be called when Dancer drew contact on the catch, but no whistle blew.
Colorado Mesa (0-2) went with a five-guard lineup against the smaller, more up-tempo Pioneers (2-0), and stayed with them the entire way despite not working much on the smaller lineup in practice.
"It was a very different style and one of our issues is, we've been primarily practicing with bigger lineups to develop our bigs and get them ready," CMU coach Mike DeGeorge said.
DeGeorge inserted junior guard Kolton Peterson into the lineup in place of center Clay Verk.
Peterson hit five 3-pointers, including one that drew the Mavs within one point, 67-66, with 52 seconds left. He was fouled on the shot, but missed the bonus that would have tied the game.
Jared Small chased down the ball on the sideline, throwing it back inbounds to David Rico to give the Mavericks another possession.
With 36 seconds to play, Jess Spivey was called for an illegal screen, giving the ball back to Dallas Baptist.
The Pioneers missed a jumper and Michael Skinner grabbed the rebound. Dancer, who took control after Tommy Nuno fouled out with 3:56 remaining, drove the lane and dished off to the corner, but was called for an offensive foul with three seconds left.
"He started to be himself the second half," DeGeorge said of Dancer, who finished with 13 points, five assists, one steal and six turnovers running the point. "When Tommy fouled out, he stepped up and took that load. He's kind of been deferring to (Nuno), trying to figure out roles. We have a lot of that going on right now. This weekend was great for us in terms of growth."
Mesa fouled on the inbounds pass and Carson Hughes missed the front end of the 1 and 1. Skinner got the rebound and immediately called time, setting up Mesa's final chance.
Nuno and Peterson both had 15 points to lead the Mavericks and Skinner added 14. Mesa got good minutes off the bench from Small and Rico defensively, but the bench scored only six points.
With this weekend off, DeGeorge expects the Mavericks to make strides before heading to Gunnison for another tournament.
"We didn't like it when we first saw it, but I'm liking it now," he said of the schedule. "I told the guys it's like another training camp now. We can get back to work and clean up stuff and learn a tremendous amount.
"These nonconference games are important, but we've got to make a push to get ready for the conference that first week in December and build for that weekend."
Colorado Mesa's Jerod Kuhn was running in the top third of the field in the first two kilometers Saturday, but fell back after the midway point in the South Central Regional championships in Canyon, Texas.
The junior finished 65th in 33 minutes, 45.4 seconds, out of the running for a spot in the national championships. As a team, the Mavericks finished 15th with 418 points. Tony Torres was 80th in 34:04.
Ezekiel Kipchirchir of West Texas A&M won the 10-kilometer race on his home course in 30:39.0. Colorado Mines, Western Colorado and Adams State qualified their teams for nationals, finishing 1-2-3.
Ashlyn Brent was CMU's top placer in the women's 6K race, finishing 40th in 23:18. Cheney Singer was 56th in 23:40.0 and Abby Oglesby 73rd in 24:06.2 for the Mavericks, who finished 14th with 437 points.
Adams State easily won the team title with 24 points, followed by Colorado Mines (51) and Western Colorado (69) to qualify for nationals.
Marissa Gallegos and Mayte Villada won their matches in the Mavericks' 29-18 loss to No. 4 Wayland Baptist, CMU's first dual of the season.
Gallegos defeated Gabriela Ramos-Diaz 6-1 at 123 pounds and Villada pinned Olivia Ricci in the 191-pound bout. The Mavericks picked up two wins by forfeit.