GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Colorado Mesa's basketball teams host their conference opener Friday evening with both teams coming off a successful run over the weekend.
After a month and a half of practice and non-conference games, the Mavericks are ready to step into the spotlight of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
The Lady Mavs are currently ranked 5th in the National Coaches' Poll with a perfect 4-0 record, and they know they have what it takes to make it far for a second straight season, even after losing four of their starters.
But in order to get to the top, they'll have to bring their A-game throughout these next three months, and it all starts tomorrow.
"Once we work on our defense and we get stops, then it feeds our offense and that's where the points come into play," said senior Aubry Boehme. "That's our biggest thing and just staying focused and disciplined throughout all of it, not letting up at all because once you let up people are going to jump right on you and take over."
The men's team also gets their conference start this weekend. After starting their season down two games, they had three weeks to tweak their game plan and get ready for the season grind, and the Mavs produced.
They took back-to-back wins at the annual Thanksgiving Classic to even up their overall record and put momentum back in their court.
As the Mavs continue to find the perfect formula with the returners and the fresh faces, they know they're moving in the right direction.
"It was tough starting the season 0-2, but we played some tough teams," said junior Mike Melillo. "Now we've got two big wins and when you get a win like that coming down, I think we were down 10 with 4 minutes left, a win like that definitely boosts everyone's confidence."
"It was nice to have some success," said head coach Andy Shantz. "Guys did a really good job of getting better defensively waiting to play those games, and I thought we improved quite a bit on that side of the floor going into conference play this Friday."
The games take place Friday evening at Brownson Arena. The women open up play at 5:30 against Chadron State, a team 0-4 so far this season. The men follow at 7:30 against a 3-1 Eagles team.
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