The CSU women’s basketball team returns to Fort Collins tonight after nearly two weeks on the road to host in-state rival CU-Boulder at 7 p.m.
The Rams have not lost in Moby Arena this year, posting a 4-0 record while outscoring the opposition by 17 points per game.
“Home is the best place to play ever,” junior guard Bonnie Barbee said, “I love our Fort Collins fans.”
CU is 6-1 on the season, but has not won a road game so far this year. Junior forward Brittany Spears leads the Buffs, averaging nearly a double-double on the season with 19.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
“She’s a really good one-on-one player,” head coach Kristen Holt said about Spears. “Even if you’re guarding her, she just has a great ability to score.”
This year’s Rams team has only featured one player from Colorado, sophomore Meghan Heimstra.
“It’s a game, we have to come and execute,” she said. “I just want a ‘W.’ “
Overall CSU trails CU 10-29 in the all-time series, but are close to .500 in Fort Collins, where the Rams are 8-10 against the Buffs. This season, CU and CSU have both played DU, with the Buffs winning by 27 and the Rams losing to the Pioneers 55-68.
Both coaches and players recognize the intensity of the rivalry, albeit for different reasons. Holt has only coached one game against the Buffs, that coming in Boulder, but understands the intensity of the rivalry both on the court and in the recruiting battle.
“It’s a big thing. Certainly you look at recruiting and recruiting in-state, you want to say you beat CU,” Holt said. “Even though it’s only my second year it’s one of those games on the calendar that you really highlight.”
Barbee, now playing against the Buffs for the third time, has never been on a team that has beaten CU-Boulder, losing on the road last year and in Fort Collins her freshman season.
“Each year I’ve found it means a lot more and more,” Barbee, a native of Arizona, said. “We’re 4-0. Our home court is protected, so we’re gonna try to keep it that way.”
Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.