Athletes of the Week: CMU Women’s Basketball
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - CMU women’s basketball got off to their best start in decades, winning 10 out 11 games before winter break. The Mavs were supposed to have just a week and a half off before getting back out there New Year’s Eve, but that’s when positive Covid tests started rolling in.
It was just the start of a whirlwind month for the team. After battling through all kinds of adversity, and finally returning to the court this weekend, our athletes of the week are CMU women’s basketball.
The Mavs first game in almost a month was not pretty, losing 76-62 to the Metro State Roadrunners. It was their largest ever home loss under head coach Taylor Wagner, who’s been with CMU for 10 years.
“From a conditioning standpoint, we definitely felt it coming out of the break,” Wagner said. “You never can really replicate a true game in practice. 26 days without playing was hard...hopefully we respond a little bit better going down the stretch.”
As coach said, the Mavs had to wait 26 days in between games. It could have completely thrown off a team which was on fire going into that break, and CMU players say the worst part was all the uncertainty that came with not knowing when their next game would actually be played.
“The 26 days off is awkward,” reflected Daniella Turner, the Mavericks second-leading scorer. “You can’t necessarily simulate a game just how other teams are going to play you. And how long can you really just stay focused for, actually preparing for a game that might not actually happen?”
Those Covid-19 issues started on the road, while CMU prepared for a game against Colorado Springs. Multiple players were forced to quarantine before returning to the Western Slope. Then January 10th, the Mavs were cleared to make up that game, got back out to the Springs, but just before tip-off UCCS had positive Covid tests. That forced yet another postponement -- two road trips, zero games played.
“It was just mayhem trying to figure out what we were going to do,” says Sophie Anderson, who dropped a season-high 18 points Saturday night. “We finally figured it out, like alright we’re gonna play this day, and then that got canceled. It was just craziness.”
After all the craziness, CMU came out and crushed Colorado Christian, quickly bouncing back after a wild, unpredictable 26 days.
Up next, the Mavs travel to Colorado School of Mines on Friday night. The Orediggers are 13-1, nationally ranked, and should be CMU’s toughest opponent all season.
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