Leading up to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) tournament, Colorado Mesa University Women’s basketball will play three teams they have lost to previously this season and two teams which they’ve dominated.
The Mavericks have lost three out of the last four games, and those games were RMAC matchups. Therefore, the team is no longer the first seed, which would allow them to host the RMAC tournament. Yet, they still have games before RMAC to take control and propel themselves into the conference championship.
“The defense just hasn’t been there,” Head coach Taylor Wagner. “They have to come in with the right mental state and they just haven’t been as energized.”
Wagner explained that the team has gone back to the basics in practice. The sixth-year head coach feels that the girls have a good defense, it has just been lacking in the past couple games. He wants to focus on the defense, since it is something their team is good at.
“They have been close games,” Wagner said.
In the upcoming games, the Mavericks will take on Fort Lewis College, whom they lost to by six points back on Dec. 8. Next weekend, CMU will play Black Hills State which they lost to by three on Jan. 26. CSU Pueblo will be their third game in that series and the Mavericks lost the Thunderwolves by seven on Dec. 15. The final game before the RMAC tournament will be against New Mexico Highlands, against whom they have won previously this season 60-38.
“There is still a lot of basketball to be played, even though there are only five games,” Wagner said.
Wagner has been coaching this team for the past six years. They have had success in the tournament and have even taken the RMAC champion title for three consecutive years from 2013-2015. Although the team may not be hosting this year’s tournament, Wagner hopes that they can win these next few and get back up to the top.
“Hopefully we learn,” Wagner said.
After the RMAC tournament at the beginning of March comes the NCAA tournament in which the Mavericks have missed out on in the last two seasons.
The tournament will be from March 9-12. If they can place and possibly win in RMAC, they would qualify for the NCAA tournament. The top eight in the division get to go.
With much riding on these next few games, the practices have been crucial, but the team is also focusing on improving their concentration during games. The hope is to get back up in the ranks and take the title. The team’s current record is 16-7 and they will take on Adams State Friday at Brownson Arena.