Midwestern State battled perennial regional powerhouse Colorado Mesa deep into its season opener Friday afternoon at the Comfort Inn/Ashbrook Classic at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
But the Mustangs' 4-minute scoring drought down the stretch allowed CMU sneak away with a 71-64 win.
Freshman Hannah Reynolds, who led the way with 10 points in her collegiate debut, gave Midwestern its last lead of the game at 60-59 on a baseline jumper with 4:55 to play.
Colorado Mesa answered with a 3-pointer by Kelli Van Tassel on the next possession to kick start a 9-3 run for the Mavericks before Jasmine Richardson snapped the drought with a driving layup to pull the Mustangs back to within 68-64 with 25 seconds to go.
CMU connected on 3-of-4 free throws the rest of the way to put away the game.
MSU used a strong first half fueled by a 22-11 advantage in the second period ending the frame on a 9-1 run punctuated by Liz Cathcart's buzzer beating 3-ball to give the Mustangs a 37-31 halftime edge.
The Mustangs pushed the advantage to nine when Kristin Rydell opened the second half with a 3-pointer from the left wing, but Colorado Mesa answered with a 12-2 run to regain the lead.
Senior guard Whitney Taylor joined Cathcart with nine points each, while Richardson finished with eight points and five assists. Freshman Kityana Diaz added seven points in her collegiate debut.
Junior guard Jaylyn Duran paced Colorado Mesa with 21 points fueled by six 3-pointers, while senior center Ma'ata Epenisa added 17 points and seven rebounds.
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