The Colorado Mesa Maverick basketball teams begin conference play this weekend at Brownson Arena. There's a new head coach for the men, and high expectations for the women.

The Maverick men's team went 18-10 last season and got a win in the RMAC Shootout before falling to top-ranked Metro State. Head Coach Jim Heaps stepped down after 17 seasons to take an administrative position, leaving the job to long-time assistant Andy Shantz. Although it's his first year as head coach, it's his 16th season as a member of the Mavericks' coaching staff.

The Mavs return 7 players from last year's squad, with two seniors, including  Clay Kame, a Central High School graduate. A number of quality transfers have been added to the roster to bolster this year's team including Carlos Perez, Jerry Duckworth and the speedy Joe Kiely. It looks like the Mavericks, 2-2 in the pre-season, could win their fair share of games again this year.

The Maverick women, under second year Head Coach Taylor Wagner have high expectations this year, after going 31-2 and advancing to the Elite 8 in last year's NCAA tournament. They hope to repeat as conference and regional champions and return for another shot at a national title.

Gone are Kelsey Sigl and Katrina Selsor, but the Mavs return 7 from last year's squad, including senior Sharaya Selsor, of Glenwood Springs who already this season has been named the RMAC Offensive Player of the Week. Like the men's team, Coach Wagner has brought in a number of transfers to help fill some holes including six foot senior Aubry Boehme from the University of Wyoming. Boehme is averaging 14 points a game, including a 23 point effort against Montana Western.

The Mavericks begin conference play Friday night at Brownson Arena against Chadron State with the women's game at 5:30 and the men's game at 7:30. Black Hills State will be Saturday night's opponent.