Saturday afternoon the Rams host their first regular season home game in Moby Arena against the Idaho Vandals.
The Rams started the regular season at 0-2, including a crushing 30-point loss to rival CU-Boulder Wednesday night, but coaches and players are still convinced this is a different basketball team than last year.
“This is a different Colorado State team than we played a year ago,” said head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller of CU after Wednesday night’s game. “They are more athletic, they have shooters and they have a good combination of players.”
“Overall I think we are doing a better job than last year,” said junior forward Juanise Cornell. “Coach Holt is putting us in positions were we are best at.”
A 0-2 start is not where the Rams and head coach Kristen Holt want to be, however, every week the team manages to improve on some aspect of the game.
In the first exhibition game against Adams State on Oct. 31, the Rams appeared sluggish during the second half, and Holt made it a priority to work on conditioning in practice the following week.
The team’s conditioning in practice paid off as the Rams were able to run up a down the court for the entire game defeating Colorado Christian 94-66.
Against Wichita State, CSU was forced to play without five of their players, while committing 26 turnovers and having trouble from the foul line.
Wednesday night the Rams significantly subtracted their turnover margin against CU, only giving the ball up 12 times, while also improving their free throw percentage by shooting to 75 percent in the first half and 55.6 percent in the second.
The only problem that seemed to curse the team in both regular season games was fouling.
The Rams sent the Buffs to the line 24 times in that game, which is something coach Holt hopes will not happen against Idaho.
“(Fouling) better be down. It has to change at some point,” Holt said.
To prepare for the Vandals on Saturday, the Rams worked on some different features of the game.
“Well Idaho has played zone against Montana and Texas Tech, and we probably have not worked on any zone offense prior today, so we have been putting that in (to practice),” Holt said. “They like to penetrate and kick out, so we worked on our man as well.”
A good note for the Rams is that starting sophomore point guard Zoi Simmons will be returning to her position for Saturday’s game. Simmons sat out the first two games of the season with a minor knee injury.
“It is to good have her back because we are finally getting the team we thought we were going to have at the beginning of the year back,” Holt said.
“I cannot wait to get back on the court,” Simmons said.
During the first two games, sophomore Bonnie Barbee substituted in the point guard position for Simmons, scoring 16 points against Wichita State and 13 points in Boulder Wednesday night.
“Her performance was awesome,” said Simmons of Barbee. “She stepped up her game and I am proud of her.”
Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Moby Area. Idaho is also looking for their first win of the season after falling to Texas Tech 90-55 and Montana 55-36 to start the year.
Women’s basketball beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at email@example.com.