Jan 152007
 
Authors: Jeff Dillon

Four CSU women’s basketball players are set to be arraigned today after being suspended for allegedly setting off a homemade chemical bomb outside a teammate’s apartment as a prank.

The explosion did not hurt anyone nor damage any property, Fort Collins Police Services officials said.

Starting guards Kelly Jo Mullaney and Emily Neal, along with reserve center Raysha Ritter and reserve guard Britney Stirling, will be charged formally for reckless endangerment today, said Gary Ozzello, CSU’s associate athletic director.

The four players, all freshmen, allegedly put the bomb made with common household chemical ingredients, outside the door of sophomore teammate Kelly Finley’s apartment last week.

A witness saw four people fleeing the scene in a black Jeep Wrangler after the loud explosion late Jan. 8. The witness reported a description of the vehicle to police.

Police arrived at Moby Arena during the Rams’ practice on Thursday and spotted the Jeep. The players admitted guilt when confronted and were suspended by Head Coach Jen Warden and the athletic department on Friday, Ozzello said.

On the afternoon of Jan. 8, a shoebox-sized white spot was left on the cement floor in front of Finley’s apartment. Finley declined to comment to the Collegian.

Neighbors, however, said they heard the blast. Hazel Miles was staying at her son’s apartment when the bomb exploded.

“We heard a noise. It was a loud bang,” said Miles, whose son’s apartment is in the same building as Finley’s. “It was loud enough to hear from inside the apartment, but I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t even get up to look out.”

Roger Duarte, who lives in an adjacent building, was watching TV at the time of the explosion.

“I heard an explosion. It was pretty loud,” Duarte said. “There was a s***load of ambulances and fire trucks. I’ve never heard of anything like this happening before.”

According to Ozzello, the players were suspended on Friday shortly after he and Warden were informed of the charges.

“Yesterday was quite a surprising day for all of us,” Warden said Friday.

Players were equally as surprised and frustrated as their head coach was after learning the news.

“Half of the program’s problem is waiting for something good to happen,” said junior guard Sara Hunter. “We had a new class coming in and we were hoping for a change.”

“At some point, you have to say enough’s enough,” Hunter added. “What’s happened, there is no excuse for (it).”

Hunter said she had not spoken to the four suspended players as of Saturday.

Finley attended the same Minneapolis high school as Mullaney and Neal. Mullaney is the Rams’ leading scorer this season, averaging 14.5 points per game.

Neal started in her first game for the Rams on Jan. 4 at Air Force. And Ritter had been used sparingly since missing much of the preseason with a knee injury.

Stirling has played a total of four minutes for the Rams in three games this season.

According to Warden, there is “no telling” how long the suspensions will last.

“I know the university judicial committee will make a decision that will affect their academic status,” she said. “The suspension is ultimately a team matter.”

Warden said the players’ academic standings will remain “status quo” until a decision is made by the committee.

Ozzello said their status on the team is hinging on the university’s decision.

“We are separate and distinct in this decision,” he said. “We’ll continue to handle our affairs internally.”

When asked how long it will take the team to accept the players back, Hunter said it will be a “team decision.”

“It’s not my place to speak for my teammates,” she said. “We’re all human, we all make mistakes. It’s our job to forgive.”

Women’s basketball beat writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

KICKER:

Tune into KCSU 90.5 FM at 7 p.m. as Associate Athletic Director Gary Ozzello joins the Ramblers to discuss the suspensions.

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Four CSU women’s basketball players are set to be arraigned today after being suspended for allegedly setting off a homemade chemical bomb outside a teammate’s apartment as a prank.

The explosion did not hurt anyone nor damage any property, Fort Collins Police Services officials said.

Starting guards Kelly Jo Mullaney and Emily Neal, along with reserve center Raysha Ritter and reserve guard Britney Stirling, will be charged formally for reckless endangerment today, said Gary Ozzello, CSU’s associate athletic director.

The four players, all freshmen, allegedly put the bomb made with common household chemical ingredients, outside the door of sophomore teammate Kelly Finley’s apartment last week.

A witness saw four people fleeing the scene in a black Jeep Wrangler after the loud explosion late Jan. 8. The witness reported a description of the vehicle to police.

Police arrived at Moby Arena during the Rams’ practice on Thursday and spotted the Jeep. The players admitted guilt when confronted and were suspended by Head Coach Jen Warden and the athletic department on Friday, Ozzello said.

On the afternoon of Jan. 8, a shoebox-sized white spot was left on the cement floor in front of Finley’s apartment. Finley declined to comment to the Collegian.

Neighbors, however, said they heard the blast. Hazel Miles was staying at her son’s apartment when the bomb exploded.

“We heard a noise. It was a loud bang,” said Miles, whose son’s apartment is in the same building as Finley’s. “It was loud enough to hear from inside the apartment, but I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t even get up to look out.”

Roger Duarte, who lives in an adjacent building, was watching TV at the time of the explosion.

“I heard an explosion. It was pretty loud,” Duarte said. “There was a s***load of ambulances and fire trucks. I’ve never heard of anything like this happening before.”

According to Ozzello, the players were suspended on Friday shortly after he and Warden were informed of the charges.

“Yesterday was quite a surprising day for all of us,” Warden said Friday.

Players were equally as surprised and frustrated as their head coach was after learning the news.

“Half of the program’s problem is waiting for something good to happen,” said junior guard Sara Hunter. “We had a new class coming in and we were hoping for a change.”

“At some point, you have to say enough’s enough,” Hunter added. “What’s happened, there is no excuse for (it).”

Hunter said she had not spoken to the four suspended players as of Saturday.

Finley attended the same Minneapolis high school as Mullaney and Neal. Mullaney is the Rams’ leading scorer this season, averaging 14.5 points per game.

Neal started in her first game for the Rams on Jan. 4 at Air Force. And Ritter had been used sparingly since missing much of the preseason with a knee injury.

Stirling has played a total of four minutes for the Rams in three games this season.

According to Warden, there is “no telling” how long the suspensions will last.

“I know the university judicial committee will make a decision that will affect their academic status,” she said. “The suspension is ultimately a team matter.”

Warden said the players’ academic standings will remain “status quo” until a decision is made by the committee.

Ozzello said their status on the team is hinging on the university’s decision.

“We are separate and distinct in this decision,” he said. “We’ll continue to handle our affairs internally.”

When asked how long it will take the team to accept the players back, Hunter said it will be a “team decision.”

“It’s not my place to speak for my teammates,” she said. “We’re all human, we all make mistakes. It’s our job to forgive.”

Women’s basketball beat writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

Tune into KCSU 90.5 FM at 7 p.m. as Associate Athletic Director Gary Ozzello joins the Ramblers to discuss the suspensions.

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