It’s Colorado Mesa’s version of a barnstorming basketball tour.
The Mavericks’ women’s basketball team has rescheduled one of its games that was postponed last weekend because of positive COVID-19 tests, and is awaiting confirmation on another that could mean playing five games in a span of eight days.
Mesa’s game at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs will be played at 2 p.m. on Monday, after the Mavericks (10-1, 5-1 RMAC) travel to Spearfish, South Dakota, to play Black Hills State on Saturday afternoon. They hope to play Tuesday at New Mexico Highlands — that game still has to be OK’d by the athletic directors and the conference office.
Then it’s back to Grand Junction — roughly 1,750 miles on the bus in a five-day span — before facing Metro State and Colorado Christian next weekend at Brownson Arena.
“It’s gonna be a long road trip, it’ll be five games in eight days when we get back and play next weekend with Metro and Colorado Christian, but this is really the only time to fit it in. I know we’ve got to play a lot of games, but they’d probably rather play than practice,” coach Taylor Wagner said Tuesday.
“You can’t wait any longer, the next couple of weekends are really going to show what we can do and how can you reschedule so many games if it continues to go with the trend it is right now? With school out now it’s a perfect opportunity to just hit the road and play some basketball. Hopefully we’re ready for it.”
Coaches and players around the country are crossing their fingers that this isn’t another season of constant postponements and cancellations. In basketball, if a team has at least eight players and one coach who test negative, that game will be played, per RMAC guidelines.
The men’s team played both of its games last week, but coach Mike DeGeorge knows it could be a matter of time before the virus affects their games. The teams travel separately.
“In some ways it’s kind of nice to get more warmup time, and the game starts on time,” DeGeorge quipped about not having a women’s game before the men’s either night. “Obviously we felt bad for our women’s team not getting to play, but I don’t think it affects us at all. We’ve been through the COVID thing long enough now to where we kind of know everything’s up in the air, and if you get a chance to play, you’re just grateful and you’re going to go out and compete as hard as you can.”
The women haven’t had enough players cleared to practice to be able to scrimmage yet this week, but Wagner is hoping before they load the bus Friday, he’ll have a full roster available.
“It’s one of those things that’s going to happen, it’s been happening around in all different sports with teams,” he said. “And you know, there are a lot of other things going on in Colorado that are worse than not playing a basketball game. The girls knew we’d make them up and it looks like we’ll be able to do that. Hopefully we can kind of move forward and just get into basketball.”