If you weren’t careful you could easily make the mistake of thinking there are two basketball teams at CSU.
Okay, you got me. There are two basketball teams on campus, but it seems like the men’s and women’s basketball seasons have been so eerily similar, they might as
well be wrapped up into one.
Admittedly, the two teams began the season with different expectations. The women were coming off a 24-7 season in which they were ranked in the top 25 and
were picked to finish first or second in the Mountain West this year. Meanwhile,
the men were looking to improve from a disappointing 12-18 season in which they won
only three conference games.
But that’s about where the differences end.
This season, both the men and the women got off to great starts. Despite two one-point losses, the women still managed to start the year 9-4 and appeared to be hitting their stride before the conference season began.
The men started out even hotter. Rushing out to an 11-4 mark before their MWC games, it appeared the men were also destined for a promising season.
It was mid-January and both teams had only four losses and were both poised to take the returning CSU students on a trip toward postseason tournament berths.
But only one month later, both teams’ seasons lay in ruins as the other MWC
teams unmercifully ravaged both of the Rams’ basketball programs.
Since the start of conference play, the men have only won three games and have dropped their last five in a row. The women have done only slightly better,
winning only four MWC games. Both teams now have losing conference records and both are frighteningly close to the cellar of the MWC.
And the strange similarities don’t end there.
Both squads had a marquee player leave the team mid-season, both of whom
contributed to their team in similar ways. For the women, it was starting guard Liz English, who left the team while averaging 6.7 points per game. English still leads the women in assists despite not playing in the Rams’ last seven games.
For the men, it was sixth-man Quantone Smith who departed from the team. At the time of his departure, Smith was averaging 5.6 points per game and was a player
head coach Dale Layer depended on for his size off the bench.
Two different teams, two important players gone. And both amid much speculation as to why they left the program.
And now, both teams’ postseason hopes will rest on how well they play in the MWC Tournament. For either team to earn a berth to a postseason tournament, it will have to make a run of epic proportions next month in Las Vegas, the site of the MWC Championships.
Two teams, two separate seasons, and unfortunately for both of them, all too similar.
Jason is a senior journalism major.