After over a week of rest following their first win in five games, the CSU womenâ€™s basketball team starts things up again tonight against the BYU Cougars in Provo, Utah.
The Rams fell short earlier this year in Fort Collins, losing 67-58 in a game they trailed by as many as 19 during the second half. CSU has not defeated BYU since 2004 â€“â€“ a losing streak spanning 13 games.
This year the Cougars are 16-6 overall and ranked second in the Mountain West Conference. Junior guard Mindy Bonham, a
graduate of Regis Jesuit High School in Centennial, leads BYU in scoring at 11.3 points per game as well as averaging four assists and 1.8 steals.
â€œTheyâ€™ve got five or six kids that can put up big games scoring wise,â€ CSU head coach Kristen Holt said. â€œTheyâ€™re smart; theyâ€™re a good defensive team; they donâ€™t make a lot of mistakes. Theyâ€™re in second place for a reason.â€
The Cougars rank first in the conference and 31st nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 56.6 points per game.
Following a week without a game, the Rams are well-rested and ready to take on BYU.
â€œIt was good for rest, but it was also good because we were really able to come out and practice and play hard,â€ junior guard Bonnie Barbee said.
CSU did not practice last Thursday or Friday, but continued to work out the rest of the week.
â€œWe used our two days off and we enjoyed it a lot,â€ sophomore Kim Mestdagh said. â€œAnd then we got back to work getting ready for BYU.â€
In order to simulate the length and athleticism of the Cougars, coach Holt enlisted a team of men for her team to scrimmage against during practice this week.
â€œI think they simulate quickness and certainly theyâ€™re bigger,â€ Holt said, â€œWe like going against somebody else other than ourselves.â€
For most of this year, CSU has struggled against teams in the top half of the conference, going 0-4 against TCU, BYU and Wyoming â€“â€“ the top three teams in the MWC standings.
â€œWe canâ€™t take time off at all during the game because theyâ€™ll take advantage of that and itâ€™ll be hard for us to come back,â€ Barbee said, â€œWe have to focus on playing the full 40 minutes and not stopping.â€
Tip off for tonightâ€™s game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Womenâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.