How do you make a 4-21 team that hasn’t won a conference game in nearly two years seem like a championship-caliber opponent?
That’s the question facing CSU women’s basketball head coach Tom Collen, whose Rams can guarantee themselves at least a share of the conference title with a win over Air Force (4-21 overall, 0-12 Mountain West), tonight at Moby Arena.
Though beating the Falcons hasn’t been a problem /_” CSU hasn’t lost to the Falcons in more than 12 years /_” Collen was concerned the Rams didn’t take Air Force seriously during their last encounter, a 63-55 win in Colorado Springs. Though the Rams rallied for the victory, they trailed deep into the second half and ended up escaping the Falcons rather than dominating them.
For a CSU victory this time around, Collen said the Rams must pick up their intensity.
“We need to approach this as a championship game,” Collen said. “The team realizes they didn’t take them as seriously as we should have last time. We have to be more intense.”
The intensity can begin on the offensive end, where the Rams will be looking to their post players for production. The Rams hold a large advantage over the Falcons and they will once again be looking to juniors Lisa Narkiewicz and Shannon Strecker to lead the attack in the paint.
Having production in the post certainly can’t hurt the Rams. Colorado State is 16-1 this year when their post players combine for a double-double in points and rebounds, as opposed to 5-4 when they fail to reach double figures in both categories.
“We had a lot of looks inside last time where we didn’t get the posts the ball,” said junior forward Ashley Augspurger. “It’s definitely a focus for us this time around, getting them the ball.”
Augspurger, one of the Rams’ most versatile offensive threats, could eclipse a major milestone on Wednesday.
The Lakewood, Colo. native needs only five points to reach 1,000 for her career. Should she hit the 1,000-point mark, she will be only the 12th player in program history to reach that mark. n