As the CSU women’s basketball team prepares to take on Fresno State in tonight’s Mountain West Conference tournament championship games, Collegian basketball reporter Keegan Pope previews three reasons each team will win.
1. Momentum- The Rams survived a triple-overtime thriller against rival Wyoming yesterday and will be coming at the height of an emotional roller coaster. If they can continue that momentum, the Rams will be heading to their first NCAA Tournament in 12 years.
2. Inexperience- Yes, inexperience will be to the Rams advantage. Head coach Ryun Williams has talked about the fact that his team full of young, international players doesn’t understand who they shouldn’t beat. While this moment may be too big for many players, it will just come as another game to the Rams young group of foreign standouts.
3. Senior leadership- Seniors Hayley Thompson and Sam Martin have seen this program at its lowest depths and also at its highest moments. With a bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line, expect a dominant will-powered performance from Martin to get this team past Fresno State.
1. Fresh legs- While the Bulldogs also played yesterday, they weren’t involved in a 3-OT marathon where three of their players logged more than 40 minutes of action. If Fresno State can get out and run the Rams, they’ll book their second consecutive ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
2. Defensive pressure- Fresno State forced CSU into 15 turnovers in their first matchup, leading to 20 points off turnovers in a 60-50 win over the Rams on Jan. 11th. After two defensive battles in the first two meetings, a similar defensive performance will go a long way towards a Bulldogs’ victory.
3. They’ve been here before- Just as the Rams inexperience in the moment might help them, the Bulldogs experience in Mountain West tournament championship games is a huge advantage. Fresno State knows exactly what to expect from this game and that experience could be a deal-breaker in a match-up of two very similar teams.
Keith Albertson: 76-64, Fresno State
Travis Green: 59-55, CSU
Keegan Pope: 61-55, CSU
Haleigh Hamblin: 62-57, CSU
Quentin “SickaChoose” Sickafoose: 68-59, CSU
Collegian Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @kpopecollegian.