Women’s basketball hit the road to start their season, and won both games this past Friday and Saturday at Ligon Coliseum in Wichita Falls, Texas. Colorado Mesa University defeated Midwestern State University (MSU) 71-64 and came out victorious against Cameron University (CU) the following day with a final score of 58-49.
Against MSU, Jaylyn Duran led the way with 21 points, accounting for six of the team’s eight field goals from three-point range. Ma’ata Epenisa was right behind her with 17 points and seven rebounds. The Mavericks scored 20 points in the first quarter to take a five-point lead, but stumbled in the second quarter, only mustering up 11 points. MSU took a 37-31 lead into locker room.
CMU came out of halftime sharper, outscoring MSU in both the third and fourth quarters. Twenty four of CMU’s points came in the fourth quarter, where it was a seesaw affair. MSU was up by nine at one point early in the third quarter, but the Mavericks fought back to tie the game at 47-47 heading into the fourth.
In the fourth, CMU hit two clutch three-pointers, both giving them the lead. With 5:51 remaining in the fourth, Duran hit a three to put them up by one. Two possessions later, Kelli Van Tassel hit a three of her own, giving the Mavericks a 62-60 lead. After a layup from Epenisa, Erin Reichle, who finished with six points, nailed six consecutive free throws to put the game out of reach.
The Mavericks played tough inside the paint, outscoring MSU 32-18 on the night. While they were able to play solid in the half court, the team couldn’t muster any fast-break offense, scoring zero points in transition. CMU shot a respectable 44.8 percent from the floor.
Hannah Reynolds led MSU in points with 10 on 3-4 shooting. MSU shot 56.5 percent from the field in the first half. There second half was much different, where they shot 30.7 percent from the floor.
With 230 in attendance, The Mavericks carried over their winning play into Saturday’s game against the Aggies. CMU had much more control in this one, never letting the Aggies outscore them in a quarter. It was a solid defensive effort that saw the Mavericks hold the Aggies scoreless for the last 5:27 of the game.
Reichle bounced back in a big way and had a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, allowing her to record her first double-double of the season. She shot 7-16 from the floor and nailed five three-pointers. Duran scored 17 points and grabbed five boards to go with three assists. Epenisa had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Duran was named Ashbrook Classic Most Valuable Player, averaging 19 points for the tournament. Epenisa was named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Mavericks were not as sharp from the floor, only shooting 37.1 percent. The team did outrebound the Aggies 46-32. The team was tenacious once again in the paint, scoring 28 points on the inside and scoring 14 second-chance points.
CMU came to play defensively in this one. The Aggies shot 33.3 percent for the game, 25 percent from three, and shot a dismal 29.63 percent during the second half. The Mavericks stout defense in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter propelled them to victory.
The Mavericks outscored their opponents 33-22 in the fourth quarter during the tournament. The team scored a total of 60 points in the paint for both games, greatly outpacing their opponents in the category.
CMU will look to continue their winning ways on Nov. 17 and 18 at the Dixie State Tournament in St. George, Utah. The team will face off against Dixie State University and Montana State-Northern. Both games tip off at 5 p.m.