Basketball beginnings

Colorado Mesa Mavericks prep for biggest week of their hoop lives by sharing favorite memories

The Selsor sisters, Katrina, left, and Sharaya play one-on-one before practice in the gym at Colorado Mesa University. The Glenwood Springs sisters grew up pretending they were characters in the movie “Love and Basketball.” The Selsors lead the Mavericks into the Division II Elite Eight on Tuesday in San Antonio.



The Selsor sisters, Katrina, left, and Sharaya play one-on-one before practice in the gym at Colorado Mesa University. The Glenwood Springs sisters grew up pretending they were characters in the movie “Love and Basketball.” The Selsors lead the Mavericks into the Division II Elite Eight on Tuesday in San Antonio.



QUICKREAD

Leanndra Gilbert

How did you get started playing basketball? “In 7th grade I only wanted to play volleyball, so my dad bribed me with a pair of shoes. He said if I tried out for basketball I could get a new pair of shoes.”

Bruna Deichmann

When did you know you wanted to play college basketball? “I’ve always wanted to learn English, and I saw basketball (as) an opportunity to do so. I was 19 when I made the choice of coming here, and I honestly didn’t know how to prepare for a college career coming from Brazil.”

 

Dallas Rohrbaugh

When did you know you wanted to play college basketball? “When I was in elementary school I was the manager for my sister’s high school team in Limon. They were so good and talking about college ball. When I was a freshman in high school I was deciding between volleyball and basketball for college. I decided on basketball.”

 

Christen Lopez

How did you get started playing basketball? “I have three brothers and no sisters, so I was very competitive and thought I could do anything my brothers did. Once I discovered how much I liked it, my oldest brother (Mike) began to coach me and pretty much taught me everything about the sport as I was growing up.”

 

Danielle Rinaldo

Other than this season, what’s your best basketball memory? “My best basketball memory was getting to state my senior year (Merino High School) and hitting a clutch 3-point shot to (send) the game to overtime and win the game. We placed third.”

 

Tawni Middleton

When did you know you wanted to play college basketball? “I wanted to play college basketball right from the get-go. I remember watching a Mesa State game in elementary school, and from then on it was my dream.”

 

Katrina Selsor

When did you know you wanted to play college basketball? “I knew I wanted to play basketball, or run, in college. I was always a better runner, but my passion was basketball.”

 

Sharaya Selsor

When did you know you wanted to play college basketball? “I wanted to play in college after my sophomore year in high school, and track just wasn’t fun anymore.”

 

Laurel Kasel

How did you get started playing basketball? “My dad bought me a basketball, and I started dribbling around the house.”

 

Lindsey Shaw

When did you know you wanted to play college basketball? “High school. I knew I wasn’t ready to give it up. I worked hard and put in time on and off the court every day.”

 

Hanna Bowden

How did you get started playing basketball? “In my town (Montrose) they put up an advertisement for pee wee basketball, and I thought it looked way more interesting than T-ball that I had been playing, I thought I would try it, and I fell in love with the sport.”

 

Kyra Peterson

Other than this season, what’s your best basketball memory? “Senior year of high school, because I got to play with my younger sister, and my mom was the assistant coach. And we won league that year.”

 

Erika Musante

How did you get started playing basketball? “My best friend in second grade played basketball, and her dad was the coach. I was tall at that age, so I joined their team.”

 

Taylor Johnson

What made you decide to play college basketball? “I’ve always wanted to play in college, and my dad chose baseball instead of basketball, so I also play for him.”

 

Rachelle Litsheim

When did you know you wanted to play college basketball? “Ever since I came to the Mesa State Basketball Camps. I knew I wanted to play college ball here. Since I didn’t get recruited, I decided to walk on to the team, and I shot every day.”

 

Kelsey Sigl

Other than this season, what’s your best basketball memory? “The friends and relationships I’ve made along the way.”

 

Taylor Rock

Other than this season, what’s your best basketball memory? “Winning region and going to nationals my sophomore year (at Otero Junior College, where she played for Taylor Wagner).”

 

Effo Baker

How did you get started playing basketball? “When I was 6 years old, my mom would always take me to my uncle’s basketball games. I fell in love with his game and the game itself. That inspired me to start playing, and I grew to love it.”

RADIO: 1230-AM (KEXO), 15 minutes before tipoff

ON THE WEB: Internet radio (KEXO), live stats and free video streaming all are available at cmumavericks.com, go to the women’s basketball home page under “sports.” Schedule is on the right-hand side of the page with options for different interactives: stats, audio or video.

TWEET, TWEET: Patti Arnold will be tweeting throughout each game, follow her @gjsportswriter. Mesa also will be tweeting, @CMUMavericks.

VIDEO STREAM: Go to cmumavericks.com or the direct link to the free video stream, first game only: http://www.ncaa.com/championship/liveplayer/
player?gameId=291046&date=2013/03/22



Two blonde-haired girls, in their driveway in Rifle, nose-to-nose, playing one-on-one.

In their minds, though, they weren’t Sharaya and Katrina Selsor.

No, they were Monica and Sidra, two characters from the movie “Love and Basketball.”

“We were obsessed with that movie,” said Katrina, aka “Sidra.”

“It was right when it came out (2000). We probably shouldn’t have been watching it,” said Sharaya, aka “Monica.”

“I really liked Sidra, and she really liked Monica,” said Katrina, figuring the sisters were in fourth and fifth grade at the time.

“And we both loved Quincy,” chimed in her older sister. “Omar Epps. Marry me, any time. Call me, give me a shout-out. We were obsessed. We still kind of are.”

The sisters started playing basketball when they were 4 (Katrina) and 5 (Sharaya), taught by their parents. They’ve been on the same team all but two years, their freshman seasons in college.

Sharaya, one year older, went to Metro State after graduating from Glenwood Springs High School, where the family moved before her freshman year of high school.

A year later, Katrina graduated and signed to play at CSU-Pueblo. They both transferred to Mesa after their respective freshman seasons.

They’re not only teammates and sisters, but best friends.

On the driveway, though, when they were growing up, it wasn’t always friendly. A game of H-O-R-S-E usually did not end well.

“We couldn’t handle too much real competitiveness one-on-one when we were younger,” Sharaya said. “We’d get pissed.”

“It’d end up in a fight,” Katrina said.

And it wasn’t just two sisters squabbling. Fists would fly.

“We didn’t fight with words,” Sharaya said, both of them laughing. “We were shoving, pushing.”

But by becoming Monica and Sidra, they could play without fighting.

“That’s one (game) we made up to make basketball more interesting,” Katrina said.

They knew the dialogue in the movie by heart because they watched it so often, but they made up their own scenes on the driveway, even deciding beforehand who would win that day.

“Katrina and I were pretty creative in the games we played when we were younger,” Sharaya said of games they made up either on the basketball court of just being kids, riding their bikes.

“School bus!” they said in unison, when the sisters’ bikes became school buses, driving their routes through the neighborhood.

The sisters have one more week of basketball together, starting Tuesday when they play Dowling (N.Y.) College in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in San Antonio.

They get emotional if they start talking about the end of their athletic careers together and how much playing together means to them. But talking about how it all began, those silly games little girls play, had them doubling over in laughter.

“We had forgotten about that,” Sharaya said. “We laughed so hard thinking about it.

“I would tell you some other basketball games we played, but they’re just even more ridiculous than that one.”

They laugh now about how two elementary-school-aged girls in western Colorado could relate to the movie about high school and college-age players in Los Angeles.

“Quincy,” they laughed.

“We had love and basketball,” Sharaya said. “We were just a little younger.”

The 18 Mavericks — 14 on the active roster and four redshirts — have basketball as a common denominator. They all grew to love the game, even if they didn’t know much about it when they first picked up a basketball.

Leanndra Gilbert’s father encouraged her to add basketball to her activities, even though she was playing volleyball and soccer.

“I didn’t really know what basketball was or particularly care,” Gilbert said. “My dad was like, ‘You might like it. You should try it.’ I was like, ‘I don’t even know what basketball is.’

“He told me if I tried it, he would buy me a new pair of shoes. I was thinking I was going to get shoes to wear to school. It turned out to be basketball shoes.”

Now, Gilbert has the flashiest collection of Nikes on the team. That all started in high school, when she and her teammates at Mesa Ridge in Colorado Springs would wear orange socks or orange shoes.

And it’s continued to Colorado Mesa, although she’s yet to show up in bright yellow socks. Last season she got a new pair of Hyperdunk Nikes in Mesa’s team colors of maroon, gold and black. She still wears them most days, but often she will practice in a pair of neon green Hyperfuse Nikes.

“I prefer my Hyperdunks because they don’t tear up my feet. It’s all a fashion game: You look good, you play good,” she said, laughing. “(The Hyperdunks are) the best gift my mom gave me.”

It wasn’t so much the shoes that made Effo Baker fall in love with the game, but the guy wearing the shoes.

Watching her uncle, Phillip Chappel, or, as she calls him, “Uncle Bird,” hooked the Mavericks’ senior point guard on the game.

At the time, Baker was only 6 years old, but she was mesmerized by her uncle’s game.

“He had the sickest moves I had ever seen anybody do. As a 6-year-old you’re amazed, and I’m trying to dribble through my legs and trying to imitate him,” she said. “From that moment (I loved the game). He was having fun and loved the people he was playing with.”

Her uncle taught her some of his moves, paring them down to a 6-year-old’s level, but Baker has some moves of her own, slashing through the lane for a teardrop pull-up jumper or elevating her 5-foot-5 frame for a scoop layup in traffic.

“I looked up to him,” she said. “He was this huge figure to me.”


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