Jan 312012
 
Authors: David de Besche

A tough non-conference schedule was not kind to the Colorado State women’s basketball team, but since conference action has started, CSU coach Kristen Holt has had her team ready.

CSU has won four of its six Mountain West games, falling only to third-place TCU and first-place San Diego State.

The Rams host another tough match-up in second-place UNLV, which is coming in to Moby on a four-game winning streak.

Stakes are high because with a CSU victory, the Rams would jump to a tie with the Runnin’ Rebels for second in the conference and possibly TCU. A loss would drop the Rams to fourth in the conference in a tie with rival Wyoming.

“Every game is big at this point with positioning for the tournament, but all home games are so important,” Holt said.

Holt has a dominating 5-1 career record against UNLV, and a year ago, in the friendly confines of Moby, CSU left with a 68-63 victory.

Saturday the Rams got their three-game winning streak snapped as San Diego State defeated them 66-57 in southern California.

Turnovers were the weakness for CSU, giving the ball away 22 times leading to 30 points, as opposed to 15 total times during their win streak.

The Rams know that protecting the ball and executing on every possession is key.

“We could have cut out a lot of turnovers if we just wouldn’t have traveled, and that is just a fundamental discipline that you just can’t do,” Holt said.

CSU will look to get out to a fast start in the first half, something they did not do against San Diego State.

“We have to go inside right away instead of waiting for the second half,” senior Kim Mestdagh said.

Mestdagh has been on fire of late, tallying 20-plus points in three of her last four games.

“Obviously she is a huge key,” Holt said. “Kim just needs to stay composed.”

With the first round of MW play wrapping up Wednesday, a win would solidify an impressive run for the Rams through their first half of conference games and set them up nicely for the last stretch of the season.

“This is a really big game. It is really important we win this game,” Mestdagh said.

Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter David de Besche can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

The Game
What: UNLV (17-5, 5-1 MW) vs. CSU
Where: Moby Arena
When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
Live chat on collegian.com

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