The CSU women’s basketball team has no questions as to the importance of its upcoming road game against the University of Wyoming on Saturday.
“The conference championship for CSU goes through Laramie,” said head coach Tom Collen.
This match-up with the No. 16 Rams’ border rivals to the north is for more than just bragging rights because CSU (20-4, 9-2) needs a victory to maintain its one-game lead over UNLV and New Mexico going into the final weeks of the regular season. The game will also be the last regular season road stand for CSU.
Wyoming (12-12, 4-7) does not have a sparkling conference record like CSU, but the Rams know from the past to expect a tough game. In the first meeting between the teams, CSU managed a tough 57-49 victory at home.
“We are their target,” said junior forward Lisa Narkiewicz. “They always want to beat CSU.”
Wyoming forward Carrie Bacon led the Cowgirls with 17 points in the first meeting and leads the team with an average of 13.7 points a game.
She is one of four players in double figures for Wyoming and will be the main focus of the Rams’ post players.
“We are going to be more aware of where she is all the time,” Narkiewicz said.
CSU will be finishing a three-game span on the road. Both teams’ conference losses have come on the road, closing the gap CSU built up during home games in the first half of the conference season.
“You got to play (road games) some time; whether it’s early or late, ultimately you have to play everybody at their place,” Collen said.
Collen said his team has lost some of the focus it had early in the season and they will need to regain that focus to beat Wyoming.
One advantage for CSU is a full week of preparation for Wyoming because there was no weekday game scheduled. The Rams’ last game was Saturday on the road against San Diego State, which CSU beat 69-60.
The Rams have won the last 11 meetings with Wyoming, and lead the overall series, 34-24. Wyoming coach Cindy Fisher has never beat CSU in nine opportunities.
Next week is the last before the conference tournament, and CSU will host Air Force and New Mexico. n