Fresh off a seven-point win Tuesday night against Pacific, the CSU Women’s basketball team (2-7) hits the road this evening for Ogden, Utah where they will start a three-game road trip against the defensive juggernauts of the Big Sky Conference, Weber State (3-3), Idaho (0-8) and Portland (6-3).
With both of the Rams’ wins this season coming at home, this three-game road trip holds testament of CSU’s overall ability as a team with all three games appearing to be winnable contests.
Up first on Saturday afternoon are the Wildcats of Weber State. WSU hasn’t played a game in nine days since its 12-point victory at home against Eastern Washington. This could be both good and bad news for the Rams. The good news is that the Wildcats have had a chance to cool down and lose their hot hand for the 3-pointer after hitting 10 of 19 against EWU.
The bad news is that they have fresh legs and are hungry for their third consecutive win. Fortunately for the Rams, Weber State draws less of a crowd than most area high school games.
After the women come back to Fort Collins and finish finals, they’ll head off to Moscow-Idaho, not Russia-on the 18th to face the currently winless University of Idaho Vandals.
Idaho’s average margin of defeat is 18 points, and the closest they have come to a victory this season was their eight-point loss to Weber State at the Husky Classic in Seattle two weeks ago.
If the Rams aren’t able to win at Weber State, this game is a must-win as far as the proving grounds go. CSU’s Achilles Heel in this game could quite possibly be one of Fort Collins’ own in Rocky Mountain High School graduate and Vandal freshman guard, Alana Curtis. Curtis is averaging 4.5 points per game and is 14-15 on the season from the 3-point line. There’s a good chance she’ll get her fourth start of the year against the Rams, but expect her former RMHS mentor, Rams star guard Sara Hunter, to help keep her in check.
The road trip ends in Portland, Ore., as CSU takes on what looks to be their toughest challenge in the Portland Pilots. Portland is a school known historically for their women’s soccer program, most recently their 23-0-2 national championship season in 2005.
The Pilots currently have the best record in the West Coast Conference, despite being picked to finish dead last this season. The Pilots are led by sophomore guard Laiken Dollente, who averages 14.7 points per game and shoots 36 percent from behind the arch. Junior forward Britney Minor’s leadership on defense could be what makes or breaks CSU in this game.
These three games are crucial to the Rams’ early conference success as the games make up three of the final four for CSU before conference play opens with the University of Nevada-Las Vegas on Jan. 9.
All week CSU has been practicing tough, physical, defense and an offense that is able to efficiently work off screens.
These next three games could very well set the tempo for the rest of the season, and for the Rams’ sake, they’re hoping to march to the beat of their own drum.