Going into its game with the Air Force Falcons tonight, the CSU women’s basketball team knows it’s all about attitude.
The Rams are far more talented, Air Force’s best player was suspended from the team, and CSU hasn’t lost to the Falcons since the 1990-91 season – a stretch of 14 games, the last being a 40-point drubbing at Moby Arena Jan. 25.
The challenge for head coach Chris Denker and his staff this week hasn’t been convincing the Rams they can beat Air Force. It’s getting them not to look past them.
“We have to go down there with the attitude of, ‘Hey, we need to beat these guys good,'” Denker said. “They don’t have the record to show for it, but they’ve been hanging with people, especially at home.”
Senior forward Ashley Augspurger agreed the Rams’ focus hasn’t been on anything outside of Colorado Springs and the Falcons.
“I don’t think there’s anyone on this team that’s thought about anything besides the next game,” Augspurger said. “We can’t afford to look past them.”
The Falcons have been seriously hurt by the absence of sophomore guard LaToya Howell, who was suspended less than three weeks ago for a violation of Academy rules.
Howell had been leading the team in scoring, rebounding, steals and assists, but won’t play again this season.
“Everyone knows they lost Howell, but they’ve had some kids step up,” Denker said. “We go down there knowing we need to go down and take care of business, no matter who’s suiting up for them.”
The business Denker refers to is winning the team’s first conference road game, something the Rams are still looking to do on this, their final road trip of the conference season.
CSU’s road woes have been well documented, as the team is 2-9 overall away from Moby Arena this season, including a winless 0-5 in conference.
“Our attitude this whole week has been, let’s go down to Air Force and make sure we come away with a win, let’s really want that,” Denker said. “If we can do that, win or lose at New Mexico (on Saturday), hey, at least we got a road win.”
Following two huge home wins over Utah and BYU, and knowing they’ve defeated Air Force and New Mexico already once this season, the Rams ride a wave of confidence into this road trip like perhaps no other this season.
“The two wins last weekend were good for building confidence and I just think we’re a little anxious to get back out there knowing we haven’t won on the road yet,” said senior center Shannon Strecker. “That’s something we’ll need to be able to do to succeed in the conference tournament. We need to play our same brand of basketball whether we’re at home or away.”