If there is one positive to going on a road trip, it's facing a team you beat the first time around.
This weekend the CSU women's basketball team (13-8, 4-4 Mountain West Conference) takes its final road trip of the season to Las Vegas at 7 p.m. on Friday night and San Diego at 5 p.m. on Saturday The Rams beat both UNLV (12-10, 3-5) and San Diego State (7-14, 1-7) at home earlier this year by scores of 69-66 and 63-50, respectively. "But Vegas has traditionally played us well at home and San Diego State has played us extremely well at home," said head coach Chris Denker.
Entering the last few weeks of the regular season, Denker said that winning a game has more to do with execution than with researching a team's game plan.
"At this point there's no secrets. Everyone knows what your game is going to be," Denker said. "Vegas is the most athletic team in the conference. San Diego State, they run a Princeton-type offense. So you're really facing two extremes in one weekend. Our mental game has to be very strong."
Junior guard Sheena Moore leads the Rebels with 15.2 points per game and senior RanDee Henry has a team-best 8.7 rebounds per game and is averaging 14.7 points.
Sophomore forward Michelle Elliott has a team-best 12.1 points per game while freshman Ashley Cheesman leads the team with 5.1 rebounds.
After winning in Colorado Springs against Air Force on Feb. 3, the women have dropped two games, one on the road at New Mexico and against Brigham Young in Moby Thursday.
As for pinpointing what went wrong in the past few games, CSU sophomore guard Kylee O'Dwyer didn't have an answer.
"I don't really know (what happened)," O'Dwyer said. "We can't allow for that mental relapse."
CSU's juniors continue to lead the team, with forward Melissa Dennett averaging 14.7 points and eight rebounds per game. Center Lindsey Thomas has 12.9 points per game and guard Vanessa Espinoza has 11.5 points.
The Rams are 14-6 all time against the Rebels and 6-4 in Las Vegas but O'Dwyer said that it would be a hard trip to win on.
"Anytime you're on your home court you have an advantage," O'Dwyer said. "Every road trip is as tough."