Opening night has come and gone with most of the WAC opening their 2021 season’s. Tarleton State opens at Arkansas & Grand Canyon hosts Arizona Christian this evening. Let’s take a look back at Tuesday night’s openers.
Wichita State 78, Chicago State 34
In my preview I wrote that I thought this was a winnable game for the Cougars as Wichita State only had six wins a year ago. Unfortunately I was wrong as this one was a rout early. Chicago State fell behind 25-2 after a quarter and the season opener did not go as planned. The Cougars struggled offensively, shooting just 19 percent from the field. Chicago State was also 3-17 from deep. The Cougars also committed 28 turnovers in the season-opening loss.
Stephen F. Austin 77, UTSA 50
In San Antonio, the Lumberjacks jumped out to a 22-9 lead after a quarter and rode that momentum to an opening night win. Stephanie Visscher led the way with 15 pts, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block in 25 minutes of action. Also of note was the duo of Tasharian Robinson and Angel Scott going 5-10 from 3-point range.
New Mexico State 94, Western New Mexico 50
It was a homecoming for New Mexico State who returned to the Pan American Center for the first time in 600 days. The Aggies raced out to a 23-11 lead in the first quarter. New Mexico State kept the foot on the pedal in the second quarter, only allowing seven points in the frame. And in the second half, New Mexico State continued to dominate on its home floor. Molly Kaiser led five Aggies in double digit scoring with 18 points and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
Abilene Christian 99, Southwestern NM 43
It was an impressive start to the 2021-22 season for the Wildcats. ACU shot nearly 43 percent from beyond the arc in a win at the Teague Center. Kamryn Mraz led all scorers with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in 21 minutes of work. Mark hit four 3-pointers in the contest. Paige Emborsky was also 3-7 from the perimeter in an opening night win.
#21 South Florida 63, UTRGV 56
In Tampa Bay, the Vaqueros battled for 40 minutes against an American Athletic Conference team but fell in their opener. It was a coming out party for Taylor Muff, the grad transfer who played volleyball at Northern Colorado. Muff had 15 points (3-5 from 3-point land) and 9 rebounds in 37 minutes of play. The Vaqueros kept things close throughout despite 23 turnovers. Preseason All-WAC selection Sara Bershers was held to six points.
Utah Valley 90, Park University 47
The Wolverines used a 32-11 second quarter outburst to seize control of their season opener. Maria Carvalho had 23 points and hit four 3-pointers. Carvalho also had 7 rebounds and 5 assists in 31 minutes to lead the way. Adding a double-double was Josie Williams who had 15 points and 13 rebounds in 23 minutes.
New Mexico 71, Lamar 54
Despite a cold shooting night (34.6 percent from the field and 28 percent from 3-point land), the Cardinals hung in there with a Lobo squad that earned a Mountain West tournament semifinal berth and WNIT bid. Sabria Dean had 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in 33 minutes to lead the way. Lamar also got 13 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals from Malay McQueen. Akasha Davis also had 12 points in the loss.
Dixie State 107, Life Pacific 57
A lot of Dixie State’s scoring in the Trailblazers season opener came from beyond the arc. Against Life Pacific of the NAIA’s Golden State Athletic Conference, the Trailblazers hit 22 3-pointers and shot 43 percent from beyond the arc. Maddie Warren hit five 3-pointers and led Dixie State with 22 points. Warren also had 7 assists, and 5 rebounds in 30 minutes of play. Talia Sireni also add another six makes from 3-point range.
California Baptist University 62, UC Riverside 59
For a third time in four years, the Highlanders (preseason 8th place in Big West polling) gave CBU all they wanted at home before falling late. Caitlyn Harper led the Lancers with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists in 35 minutes. Last year’s WAC Player of the Year Ane Olaeta added 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in 38 minutes while Georgia Dale added 11 points with 15 rebounds. The Lancers were 5-28 from 3-point range.
Seattle 89, Northwest 32
Courtney Murphy and Taliyah Clark each had 14 points on a combined 11-16 FG’s (5-9 3’s) as the Redhawks cruised to an opening night win. Bree Calhoun added 15 assists and 8 points coming off WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.