The CSU womenâ€™s basketball team will look for its fourth straight conference victory on Saturday afternoon as they take on the Wyoming Cowgirls at Moby Arena.
Aside from the storied rivalry between the two athletic programs, this weekendâ€™s bout has added importance due to the conference positioning at stake.
The last time these teams met, the Cowgirls (16-5, 6-2 MWC) put a 40-point beat down on CSU, but the Rams can take a share of 3rd place in the Mountain West Conference with a victory.
â€œItâ€™s a really big game, especially because of the way we played the first time against them,â€ said CSU junior forward Kim Mestdagh.
The Rams (12-9, 5-3) suffered several ugly losses early in the year but have since turned the season around after the loss to the Cowgirls, winning five of their last seven games.
â€œWe didnâ€™t play like ourselves (in the last meeting). A lot of that 40-point loss is that we were out of it mentally,â€ said head coach Kristen Holt.
The Rams donâ€™t want to be seen as a team that has lapses like that, Mestdagh said. â€œI want to be known as a team that never gives up, and we have shown that lately.â€
Wyoming is the second highest scoring offense in the MWC and features the conferenceâ€™s two leading scorers in Hillary Carlson (17.8 points per game) and Aubrey Vandiver (16.9 ppg).
The Rams hope to contain the duo by playing hard defense and creating good looks offensively.
â€œThe kids are doing a great job scrapping and creating steals,â€ Holt said.
Holt sees an opportunity to expose the Wyoming defense by going with a small, quick line-up throughout the game, she said.
Freshman forward Sam Martin has been the beneficiary of the smaller, quicker game plan.
Martin has consistently improved over the course of the year and is averaging 14 points per game on a staggering 80 percent shooting from the field during the Rams current three-game win streak.
Coach Holt has taken note and has encouraged the freshman to look for more opportunities to score.
â€œCoach wants me to take 12 to 15 shots per game, but Iâ€™m not quite there yet,â€ Martin said.
Beyond the scope of sport, Saturday is the Pink Zone game, which is an opportunity to raise awareness and money for breast cancer.
CSU will be wearing pink warm-ups before the game as well as pink headbands and shoelaces during the game.
The Rams are hoping that the fans get into the idea and help support the cause.
â€œIt is a great opportunity for us, our fans and our community,â€ Martin said.
The game is set to begin at 2 p.m. at Moby Arena on Saturday.
Womenâ€™s basketball Beat Reporter Nick Childs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.