It was an odd feeling for Frida Formann, sitting with her parents in Denmark last Friday to watch the Colorado women’s basketball team play at Tennessee.
Technically, the game started early Saturday morning, at 1 a.m., in Denmark.
“It was the weirdest thing because that’s how I know they watch my games, but to be there with them and see my team in another country, it was very strange,” said Formann, a junior guard for the Buffaloes.
That was all part of a whirlwind week for Formann, who is enjoying a strong season for the Buffs (5-2), but took a brief time away from CU to play with the Danish national team.
Following a win against Air Force on Nov. 19, Formann flew to her native Denmark to play with the national team against Montenegro during a FIBA EuroBasket qualifying game in Gentofte, Denmark.
Denmark is hoping to qualify for the European Championships and needs to beat Montenegro to get there. It was an important game for a still-developing national squad.
“The women’s national team in Denmark just got back on track in 2018 and then I played with it in 2019 before I got (to CU),” Formann said. “I don’t know how to describe it but it really just means a lot to all of us who are on it and to everyone around it, to all the girls playing basketball in Denmark. I never had a women’s national team to look up to because the last women’s national team was when my mom was on it in the ’80s. So it’s just been a long time with really nothing to look up to after you play your youth years on national teams. So it’s a really big deal for us and it’s a big deal for me.
“The federation doesn’t have a lot of money, but they wanted to fly me out for the game. It was a long process of figuring out what to do but yeah, I’m glad it happened.”
Formann scored 12 points, but Denmark lost to Montenegro, 67-60. (The Danish team will have another shot at Montenegro in February, but Formann won’t play in that game with CU in the thick of Pac-12 play).
“That was hard,” she said of the loss. “I think that’s the risk I took flying out for that game because it’s basketball and there’s so many things that are unpredictable. What if I fouled out quickly? Or what if I got injured? There’s so many ifs. I kind of just had to think about not all the what-ifs but just the feeling I had about going and what it meant to me. I could just feel in my gut that I wanted to go.”
A lot of college coaches might not have let their players leave in the middle of the season to play in such a game, but CU head coach JR Payne didn’t hesitate when Formann brought up the idea.
“I just think it’s an incredible opportunity to represent your country,” Payne said. “In the U.S., we don’t get that opportunity as often. She’s one of the best players in Denmark, they had a great opportunity and it meant a lot to her, so (the decision) kind of started and finished there. … And, just living thousands of miles from your family, to be able to see them for a few days and for them to watch her play was probably really great, too.”
During her previous national team experience in 2019, Formann said she got a couple of minutes of playing time, but last week she was in the starting lineup.
“It was nice to kind of come back and see where I was now on the team,” she said.
After playing for the national team, Formann arrived in Chicago on Saturday night to rejoin the Buffs and then played in Sunday afternoon’s 83-32 win at Chicago State, scoring 10 points.
Support from Payne and her teammates made Forman feel better about leaving the Buffs for a few days, even if it made for a long week.
“I knew it was going to be stressful and a lot, but it was a decision I made a while ago and I was just really happy I had the opportunity,” she said.
She’s happy to be back with the Buffs, however, and eager to continue her strong start when they take on Western Michigan on Wednesday at the CU Events Center. Formann is second on the team with 11.5 points per game and hitting 43.3% of her 3-pointers (up from 27.2% a year ago).
“I’m really happy that I could play well and I feel like we’re in good flow on our team,” Formann said. “Of course, with every game we play, there’s something more to improve and this is the time of the season where we really need to do that before Pac-12 play. But, I’m just really happy that I’m playing well.”
CU Buffs women’s basketball vs. Western Michigan Broncos
TIPOFF: Wednesday, 6 p.m., CU Events Center.
TV/RADIO: TV — None. Online – Colorado live stream. Radio — KHOW 630 AM
RECORDS: Western Michigan 2-3; Colorado 5-2.
COACHES: Western Michigan — Shane Clipfell, 11th season (150-159; 222-206 career); Colorado — JR Payne, 7th season (99-86; 200-199 career)
KEY PLAYERS: Western Michigan — G Lauren Ross, 5-10, So. (18.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 2.0 spg); G Hannah Spitzley, 6-0, Jr. (4.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.8 spg); G Maggie Stutelberg, 5-11, Fr. (9.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg); G Maddie Watters, 5-8, Sr. (5.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg); F Taylor Williams, 6-2, Jr. (15.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg). Colorado — G Frida Formann, 5-11, Jr. (11.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.5 spg); G Tayanna Jones, 6-1, Sr. (8.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.3 apg); C Quay Miller, 6-3, Sr. (14.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.1 apg, 2.0 spg); G Jaylyn Sherrod, 5-7, Sr. (10.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.6 apg, 2.4 spg); C Aaronette Vonleh, 6-3, So. (9.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg); G Kindyll Wetta, 5-9, So. (6.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.6 spg).
NOTES: CU returns home after a two-game road trip. The Buffs have played four of their last five games away from home. … The Buffs have won 28 consecutive non-conference home games, dating back to an 81-75 loss to Dartmouth on Dec. 11, 2017. … Under Payne, the Buffs are 41-2 in non-conference home games. … Payne said WMU is a lot like the Buffs’ last home opponent, Air Force. The Buffs beat the Falcons, 71-63, on Nov. 19. “(The Broncos) pressure and deny and they’re going to be really disruptive,” Payne said. “It’s important, as we’re always trying to get better from game to game, that we’re more prepared and more efficient in the way that we play a team like this.” … CU and Western Michigan have played once before, with the Buffs winning 79-62 on Nov. 27, 1999, in Boulder. … Clipfell is third in Western Michigan history with 150 wins. … After opening the season with three consecutive losses, including to Michigan and Michigan State, WMU has won its last two. The Broncos defeated Youngstown State and Grace Christian in their last two games. … The Broncos were 16-14 a year ago, finishing in a tie for sixth in the MAC. They were projected for a sixth-place finish this year in the MAC preseason poll.
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