Utah-kin to me?

Jan 272011
Authors: Nick Childs

Women’s hoops take on the University of Utah (10-10, 3-3) on Saturday in Moby Arena at 2 p.m. in a battle for conference standing.

The Rams (10-9, 3-3) and Utes are currently tied for fourth in the Mountain West Conference, so the winner will take sole possession of the position.

CSU is coming off a key road win against the Air Force Academy Tuesday.

Despite the victory, CSU coach Kristen Holt believes the Rams were pushed around by Air Force, so they looked to improve their toughness in preparation for Utah, said junior standout Kim Mestdagh.

CSU has not had much luck against Utah in the past three years, losing five of the last six meetings by an average of 23 points.

Last year, the Rams gave the game away in the last minute at home.

Holt doesn’t take much stock in the success or lack there of against conference opponents. Each season is its own, she said.

Mestdagh, the team’s leading scorer, has put pressure on herself at times in important games, but it comes with the territory of being a team leader.

To ease the pressure, Mestdagh tries to talk with teammates and focus on defense instead of pressing on the offensive end.

Freshman forward Sam Martin was the star against Air Force, scoring 17 points in just six field goal attempts. Holt made it a conscious effort to get her the ball.

Martin does not mind being the go-to person on the floor, she said, but she doesn’t think she needs to be.

“I want to do what is best for the team,” she said.

To beat Utah the Rams need to play a composed game and limit their turnovers.

“When we play together, we have more fun and we are a much better team,” Martin said.

The Rams are currently ranked higher in the conference at this point in the year than Holt can remember in her tenure.

CSU went into the year with the simple goal of having more wins than they did the previous year, Holt said.

They are a mere three wins away from that goal with 10 games left in the regular season.

But with the success that the Rams have had so far, Martin may have taken those goals one step further, saying she wants to end with a winning record and start making a name for themselves among the top teams in the conference.

“That starts with Utah on Saturday,” Martin said.

Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter Nick Childs can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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