Jan 202011

The Mariott Center in Provo, Utah will open its doors to the CSU women’s basketball team for the final time on Saturday afternoon as the Rams take on the BYU Cougars.

Following this season, the Cougars will leave the Mountain West Conference in exchange for the West Coast Conference in all sports but football, which will become independent.

“You’d like to end the series at least within the conference with a win,” said head coach Kristen Holt.

CSU is 6-26 all-time on the road against BYU, having lost its last six games in Provo dating back to 2003. The Cougars (11-7, 3-1 MWC) have won six of seven games at home this season.

“BYU is a tough place to play,” sophomore Kim Mestdagh said, “We haven’t done good the past couple of years over there.”

Of the six straight losses in Provo, CSU has lost by an average of 16 points per game and broken the 60-point mark just once.

BYU guard Mindy Bonham leads the Cougar attack, leading the team in scoring (11.8) and ranking second in assists (4.4). Bonham ranks among the top 10 in six different statistical categories in the MWC.

“She’ll be a key focus to hinder offensively and there’ll be more awareness defensively to where she is on the court,” senior guard Bonnie Barbee said.

One part of BYU’s game plan that can be counted on is their consistent use of backcourt pressure.

“One of the things they’re known for is their press,” Holt said. “That has shown us some problems this year with turnovers. I think if we break their press we’ll be fine.”

The Cougars lead the conference with 176 steals and have the highest turnover margin.

CSU enters the Saturday’s game having won two out of their past three games.

“Anytime you can come off of a win that always has that snowball effect,” Barbee said.

Of the Rams’ nine wins, only two have come away from Moby Arena.

“I think we have momentum going from every home game we win and then we go on the road and don’t show up,” Mestdagh said. “So I think we had good things in the UNLV game and I hope this time we can bring it over to the road game.”

Tip-off for Saturday’s game is set for 3 p.m.

Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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