The CSU women's basketball team faced off against the Brigham Young Cougars twice this season – and went 0-2. But if the Rams are to get their first win of the season against the Cougars, tonight is as good a time as any.
The sixth-seeded Rams will take on the third-seeded Cougars tonight in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver. If the Rams fail to get their first win of the season over BYU, it could mark the end of their season (unless they qualify for the Women's National Invitation Tournament).
The Rams were eliminated in the first round of last year's MWC Tournament after falling to Wyoming 67-61.
CSU struggled in its two meetings against BYU during the regular season, losing by double-digits both times. The Rams lost 74-54 in Provo, Utah, on Jan. 15 and fell to the Cougars 59-47 at Moby Arena on Feb. 10.
Despite the Rams' struggles in their regular-season meetings against BYU, CSU junior forward Melissa Dennett said she feels calm going into tonight's game.
"I feel comfortable and confident," said Dennett, who was named to the All-Mountain West Conference second team on Monday. "It'll be tough. (BYU is) a physical team."
The Cougars, who finished the regular season 18-9 overall and 9-5 in conference play, are led in scoring by the tandem of senior guard Julie Sullivan and junior forward Ambrosia Anderson. Sullivan led the team with 11.2 points per game to go along with 3.85 assists per game, which was also a team-best. Anderson was second on the team in scoring with 10.4 points per game.
CSU head coach Chris Denker said that if his team is to advance past the first round, it will need to play well offensively. The Cougars displayed a solid defense during the regular season, allowing 58.5 points per game, which ranked fourth in the MWC in scoring defense. The Rams offense averaged 64.7 points per game, which was fifth in the conference.
"The biggest (key) is offense, which has been strong the last few games," Denker said. "In our coach's conference call, one of the coaches said, 'The team that shoots the best wins,' and that sounds simple, but it's really true."
The Rams will get the chance to test their offense against the Cougars defense tonight. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m.