Prank gone bad brings suspensions for four Rams

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Four players on the Colorado State
University women's basketball team have been suspended for setting
off a chemical bomb outside the apartment of teammate Kelly Rae
Finley, athletic spokesman Gary Ozello said Saturday. There were no injuries and no structural damage.

"There's nothing we can do about it right now. This will be a
great experience for the rest of the players. It means that we will
have to play a lot harder. Sarah Hunter, the only remaining
starter, has to play nearly 40 minutes and have an MVP
performance," coach Jen Warden told The Associated Press.

Police detective David Grant identified the suspended players as
starting guards Emily Neal, 19, and Kelly Jo Mullaney, 18, both of
Minneapolis, and reserve forward Raysha Ritter, 18, of Grand
Junction, Colo., and reserve Brittney Stirling, 19, of Tucson,
Ariz., all freshmen.

Warden said the suspended players will not be allowed
to practice or sit on the bench when the Rams host New Mexico on

"This is a case where four teammates were trying to play a
prank on a teammate, and it went bad," Grant said. "They thought
the device would just make a loud bang, and that it would not be a
big deal. It was not meant in a malicious way by any means. I know
that Mullaney and Finley are very good friends."

He added, "No one was hurt, and there was no property damage;
but if someone had opened the door at the time the device exploded
there could have been serious injuries." The bomb was made of
chemicals that create an explosive acid.

Police spokeswoman Rita Davis said the four players all knew
that two other team members were staying at the victim's apartment
and thought it would be funny to scare them. She said they would be
charged with one count of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan said Mullaney, Neal and Finley, 21,
all played at the same Minnesota high school and have been friends
for several years. The four suspended players apparently drove to
Finley's apartment in Mullaney's car.

A witness reported their car after the Monday night incident.

"Once confronted, all four players confessed," Grant said.

Warden refused to say how long the suspensions would last. They
leave the Rams with just eight available players. Mullaney was the
team's leading scorer.

"This is an internal matter related to the team," Warden said.
"This is a challenge that will help everyone involved grow."

The suspensions came on the day following the Rams' 73-57 loss
Thursday night to Utah.

"Obviously, any time a student-athlete is involved in anything
like this, our Office of Student Affairs will work closely with
athletic department to determine the next step, if any, that will
be taken," said Ozzello.