Dec 142003
 
Authors: Vince Blaser, Katrice Thomas

Both the men’s and women’s CSU basketball teams have been up and

down early in the season, but both seem to be improving. As of

Friday, both teams had 4-3 records. When students return from

break, both teams will have completed tough out-of-conference

schedules and started Mountain West Conference play. Here is a look

at what they will be facing.

Men’s basketball

Despite losing 84-78 to Colorado Wednesday, forward Matt

Williams said the men’s team has looked much better than they did

on a 1-2 road trip in which they were blown out by Auburn and

Oklahoma State.

“It’s coming together, I think, faster than last year,” said

Williams, who has led the Rams in scoring the last two games.

“We’ve got to carry that emotion (from the CU game) on to the next

games.”

After completing another rivalry game against the University of

Denver in Denver last Saturday, the Rams will head to Florida on

Saturday to face Stetson University, which has a 2,142 enrollment,

in DeLand Highlands and the University of South Florida in Tampa on

Monday.

After a break for Christmas, the Rams will then return to Moby

Arena on Dec. 30 to face an extremely tough opponent in No. 16

Purdue. The Boilermakers (6-1), beat No. 4 Duke on the road 78-68

and lost their first game of the season 47-45 at No. 11

Oklahoma.

Four days later on Jan. 3, CSU will host Pepperdine University

at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The Waves (2-3), have had a couple

tough losses to California opponents. However, they beat CU 94-77

and lost by two points to Oklahoma State.

The Rams round out their break schedule by facing Montana State

(3-3) of the Big Sky Conference on Jan. 5 and opening their

conference season at home against Air Force on Jan. 12.

Women’s basketball

The women’s team ended a three-game losing streak Thursday with

an 80-63 win at Denver.

The Rams have just begun their season and have eight games

behind them, but with the break coming up there will be plenty of

game wrapped packages for the Rams to open.

“Right now we are focused on these upcoming games,” sophomore

guard Vanessa Espinoza said. “We would like to go into break with a

winning streak, but we are definitely excited to play teams like

Notre Dame, and Loyola Marymount.” Notre Dame will be gracing Fort

Collins’ Moby Arena on Dec. 29, about a week after St. Mary’s tips

off against the Rams on Dec. 21. The Rams will then travel to the

Pepsi Center to take on Loyola Marymount for their first game of

2004. The handful of home games doesn’t stop them as they take on

Montana and conference foes BYU and Utah before the student body

returns to campus.

“It’s pretty exciting to play teams like Notre Dame,” junior

center Lindsay Thomas said, “It’s also exciting to get to play

basketball without worrying about school.”

With school set on the back burner for Winter Break what

specifics will the team focus on?

“Playing hard from the get-go,” Thomas said.

The Rams are without a doubt a very feisty team, but Espinoza

knows that this team can improve even more. With a tough lineup for

the Rams, it’s important to start the season the right way.

“At times we do things really well,” Espinoza said. “But we

don’t do those things well for 40 minutes. We have to play for 40

minutes.”

The Rams will travel to San Francisco before the football team,

playing at the University of San Francisco on Dec. 14. They then

head home for seven straight home games.

“We got to come out from the start (of each game), with pressure

defense, and rebound, and find a way to get more transition

baskets,” Espinoza said.

With Winter Break inching near, Espinoza and her team are having

visions of basketballs bouncing on the courts, which is a good

thing for Rams fans, who will be cheering on the Rams during the

break.

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