One month ago, the Rams were coming off a crushing loss to rival Wyoming and were hoping for a rebound against the Lobos (8-13, 2-7 Mountain West Conference).
The CSU women’s basketball team finds itself in a similar situation as it travels to New Mexico on Saturday.
With a week of preparation, the Rams (12-10, 5-4 MWC) feel confident they can recover from a 74-55 loss to Wyoming last Saturday, a game in which the Rams failed to play their usual focused team-style game.
“We really worked on being mentally tough and getting us together as a team,” said CSU senior Bonnie Barbee.
Though the Ram’s beat the Lobos on Jan. 12 in Fort Collins, coach Kristen Holt knows The Pit is a tough place to play. CSU’s team dynamics have changed in the last month, and the girls will have to play a strong game if they expect to get their first win at New Mexico since Jan. 8, 1998.
“We are a different team. We know we are going to have to play a tough-nose game down there,” Holt said.
The Lobos will rely on senior Amanda Best, one of the team’s top scorers, while averaging over 33 minutes a game.
“She takes a lot of shots, and we’ve got to have our better defenders on her,” Holt said.
CSU will look to crash the boards on Saturday, despite featuring a greatly undersized roster. The Rams, who are last in the Mountain West in offensive rebounding, will have to take advantage of every opportunity they get with the ball.
“Rebounding is a big problem especially offensively and that will be a key on Saturday,” Holt said, “We need to have every possession, each one counts.”
Offensively, the Rams will look to junior Kim Mestdagh to carry the team. Mestdagh was one of four Rams to score in double digits last time they faced New Mexico. Mestdagh, who put 16 points and 10 rebounds last time against the Lobos, plans on attacking them from the opening tip-off.
“I’ll just try to attack them from the first minute defensively and offensively,” Mestdagh said.
Mestdagh added that the Rams’ previous win over New Mexico means nothing come Saturday afternoon.
“We weren’t aggressive against Wyoming, and we got to do that against New Mexico,” Mestdagh said. “We can’t rest on our win in January, we’ve got to bring it to them.”
Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter David de Besche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org._