Dave Jahnke                    Carra Jackson-Brown attempts to stop a Maverick player from driving toward the basket in Western’s loss Tuesday to Mesa.
Dave Jahnke Carra Jackson-Brown attempts to stop a Maverick player from driving toward the basket in Western’s loss Tuesday to Mesa.

Western Women’s Basketball

— It took a strong second half performance and Keelie Lawler recording her first double-double of the season before Western State Colorado University women's basketball team was able to secure their first win of the Holiday-Inn Airport Thanksgiving Classic against Northern New Mexico College this past Friday in Grand Junction.

Western (3-4, 0-1 RMAC) prevailed, 73-57, to kick off the tournament and followed the win with another victory in round two.

After starting off the first-half slow, Western headed into the locker room leading Northern New Mexico 28-25. Western would come out of halftime with a renewed sense of urgency as their offense caught fire in the third quarter. The Mountaineers scored 25 points in the quarter, during which Lawler scored six of her 13 points.

Samantha Coleman and Haley Vinson also contributed to the effort as each sank a three-point basket to help build a 53-38 lead for Western going into the fourth quarter.

Western’s defense was just as impressive as their offense, holding the Eagles scoreless for the last 3:47 of the third quarter.

Through the fourth quarter, Western maintained their lead, never letting Northern New Mexico get within 15 points.

Western received contributions from across the roster. The bench scored 33 points — 12 of which came from Coleman.

Lawler led Western with 13 points, 11 rebounds and two assists. It was Lawler's first double-double of her collegiate career.

“Getting a double-double was a blessing for sure,” said Lawler. “It wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates though. All the credit goes to them.”

Jessie Erickson had a strong game as she recorded 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Coleman also put up a careerhigh 12 points for Western.

Following an impressive win over Northern New Mexico, Western stepped on the court Saturday determined to get their second win of the tournament. St. Edward's University tried their best to cool down Western but was unable to do so as they fell, 54-46.

Western started the game off on fire as they raced out to an early 7-0 lead over St. Edward’s University. However Western’s offense would go cold, as they allowed the Hilltoppers to go on a 4-0 run to cut the lead to 7-4. The Hilltoppers would trail 11-10 going into the second quarter.

Western found their rhythm in the quarter as they outscored St. Edwards 18-12. Lawler scored nine points in the quarter, helping Western take a 29-22 lead at half.

After Western started the third quarter with a basket by Katie Dalton, the Hilltoppers went on a 6-0 run, narrowing the score to 31-28. That would be the closest St. Edwards would get in the quarter. Western dominated the next 6:43 of play, leading 39-33 going into the fourth quarter.

The Hilltoppers came within two points of tying the game before Western went on a 8-2 run to end the game.

Lawler led all players in scoring with 15 points, while also recording five assists and five rebounds. Teammate Tammarrah Gothard added 10 points and nine steals in the win.

In Western’s first Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game of the 2017-18 season, they traveled Tuesday to Colorado Mesa University, where they lost to the undefeated Mavericks (7-0, 1-0 RMAC), 69-46.

The Mavericks used a strong second-half performance to erase any hopes Western had of pulling off an upset.

Gothard and Jadyn Kanzler led the way for Western as they recorded nine points each. Western’s bench accounted for 24 of the team's 46 points.

Western will be home this coming Saturday, Dec. 2 as they take on Westminster College at 5 p.m. in Paul Wright Gym.

(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or brandon@ gunnisontimes.com .)

Team goes undefeated in tournament play