It has been a long season for the CSU womenâ€™s basketball team on the road.
The Rams play their last game away from home tonight at Utah, having lost nine of 13 road games this season. Despite the road woes, the team is looking for a strong finish.
â€œThereâ€™s a lot on the line,â€ head coach Kristen Holt said. â€œWeâ€™re trying to jockey for fourth place (in the Mountain West Conference).â€
â€œItâ€™s exciting,â€ he said. â€œI canâ€™t remember being this excited for the last few games of the regular season in a long time.â€
Utah has lost four of its last five games, but did manage to defeat New Mexico 61-58 in Salt Lake City.
â€œWe know we have to come out and be ready because theyâ€™re not an easy team, and we have to make sure defensively weâ€™re very tuned in to what we have to do to stop them,â€ senior guard Bonnie Barbee said.
Utes sophomore Iwalani Rodrigues leads the conference in three-point field goals made per game and is seventh in the MWC in scoring at 14.5 points per game.
Currently, CSU is tied with Utah and San Diego State â€” the two teams it plays this week â€” for fourth place in the conference standings. Finishing in fourth would allow the Rams to avoid one of the conferenceâ€™s top-three teams (BYU, TCU, Wyoming) in the first round.
â€œItâ€™s very important because fourth place in conference is a good accomplishment for our team, weâ€™d like to get even higher if we could,â€ Barbee said.
CSU won the first matchup between the teams this season, 53-48, in Fort Collins, overcoming an 11-point halftime deficit.
â€œI think we feel like weâ€™re playing better than we were at that point in the season,â€ Holt said. â€œI didnâ€™t think either team played that well when we played last time, so I think itâ€™ll be a high-energy game.â€
Tonightâ€™s game will be CSUâ€™s last trip to Utah for the foreseeable future with the Utes leaving the Mountain West Conference following this season.
â€œItâ€™s definitely a really good school that weâ€™re going to miss in our conference,â€ junior guard Kim Mestdagh said. â€œWeâ€™ll try to make the best of it and get a win.â€
Womenâ€™s basketball Beat Reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at email@example.com.