Time to rest helps Mesa women bond
There are only so many movies even a college student can watch in a three-week span.
“I’ve probably watched every movie in our house over winter break,” Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball guard Effo Baker said.
The Mavericks thoroughly enjoyed having a full week off at Christmas to go home and see their families, but were ready to get back to campus Dec. 27. Now, they’re ready for Tuesday, when the second semester begins.
“It’ll give us something to do, something to look forward to other than just going home and knowing you’ve got nothing the rest of the day,” Baker said.
The women have been practicing at 10 a.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays the past two weeks, and will continue to take Mondays off the rest of the season. They practice in the mornings during school, adjusting for players’ class schedules.
“Hopefully they’re resting and taking care of themselves,” CMU coach Roger Walters said. “We just want to make sure they take care of their bodies.”
When practice ends at noon, the players have the rest of the day to themselves. They lift weights twice a week, which eats up an hour of the day, so what do they do all afternoon and evening?
“Kelsey sleeps all day,” joked Baker, referring to one of her roommates, forward Kelsey Sigl.
“I usually wake up around 8, come to practice around 9:20, 9:30, then after practice we go home, make some lunch and me and Kelsey chat a little bit, watch movies, maybe come back to the gym and shoot. That’s really about it.
“A lot of us go to dinner or we’ll go to lunch after practice, or they’ll come over and (wait for it…) watch movies. Everyone gets together; it just depends on the day.”
Already a close-knit team, the Mavs have gotten to know each other even better the past three weeks.
“We seldom talk about basketball,” Baker said. “We do, but we have so much to talk about. We’re such a talkative team, you could be in for anything when we’re all together. It’s really a blast.
“We go through categories ... family to life to just anything, anything besides basketball. It makes you feel like you’re around family.”
Since the Mavs returned to campus, Baker’s game has come full circle. Early in the season she was a little tentative and was turning the ball over too much.
Walters put her on the bench in their final game before Christmas, allowing her to watch the flow of the game from the opening tip and then subbing for freshman Dallas Rohrbaugh. It seemed to do the trick.
“I think sitting back and seeing how the game was going, how they want me to be, that kind of opens up a lot of people’s eyes,” she said. She’s back in the starting lineup now and is attacking the basket, running the offense and getting people the ball in position to score.
“When we watch film, it helps taking it all in; this is what they want, this is what I need to do.”
Through the first nine games, Baker had 15 assists and 26 turnovers. In the past five games, Baker had 12 assists and only six turnovers, no more than two turnovers in any game.
“Hopefully we can pick up where we left off Saturday,” Walters said. “All weekend we were positive on assist-to-turnover ratio, we just gave up too many second-chance buckets Friday, and that was the difference.”
With only one game this week, Friday night at Western State, the Mavericks have a rare weekend off.
Walters said his stress level is the same if the Mavs play one game or two, but he’s excited to have Saturday off so he can watch his daughter, Taylor, who plays for Rifle High School.
So what’s on the players’ agenda?
“I have no clue,” Baker said. “We haven’t had a Saturday off yet, so that will be interesting. ... Maybe more movies, I’m not sure.
“No wait, actually, we can get ready for school, get books and school supplies and stuff. That’ll probably be it.”