This past weekend was an important one for Colorado Mesa University (CMU) omen’s basketball team. Although the Mavericks sport a 16-5 overall record and a 10-5 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) record, the team still sits in fifth in the RMAC standings.

The Mavericks played a tough Black Hills State team on Friday and were unable to secure the victory as they saw their lead slip away in the fourth quarter. CMU changed the narrative Saturday, capturing a solid win against South Dakota School of Mines, avoiding the weekend sweep.

“Obviously no team wants to get swept,” junior guard Jaylyn Duran said. “So, to be able to split was okay. We know we’re limited with games now, so it’s really important that we take each game one at a time and focus on finishing out the games with a win.”

Bryce Reedy | The Criterion

With only a few games left in the regular season, time is limited for the Mavericks to make their final push and secure the RMAC title. However, the team has not lost back-to-back games once this season, showing they are more than capable of making a big run over the next few weeks.

Two of CMU’s next three opponents are teams under .500. If the team can get through that stretch unscathed, their toughest test will come in the next three games that follow.

The Mavericks will play Fort Lewis, Black Hills State and CSU-Pueblo in consecutive games. All three opponents sit in the top three in the RMAC standings. The Mavericks are playing with one of the better defenses in the conference, so it’s anyone’s title up to this point.

“I felt like our team is beginning to focus on defense a lot more, which we’re good at,” Duran said. “So, our performance there has been pretty good and I’m proud of the way we stepped up last night.”

Winning the rebound battle seems to be a pivotal must for the Mavericks. The team is undefeated when they out rebound their opponent.

CMU will head to Gunnison on Tuesday to face off against Western State Colorado University (3-12), whom the Mavericks defeated 69-46 on Nov. 28. CMU will then head to Salt Lake City to play Westminster (10-9), another opponent they defeated in November by the final score of 83-52.

The Mavericks can control their season here in the next few weeks. Closing out games strong and out rebounding their opponent are keys to success for this Maverick team.

“Finishing the game out hasn’t necessarily been our strong suit so I think that’s an aspect we can really work on,” Duran said. “Playing the whole forty minutes and leaving everything out on the court.”

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Josue Perez is a junior mass communication student. He is from Montrose, Colorado. He began writing on staff for The Criterion in the fall of 2017 and will be assistant sports editor in the spring. He has a passion for sports and wishes to pursue a career in sports journalism.

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