In this 2013-2014 CSU women’s basketball season, records have been broken, spirits have been lifted and precedents have been set higher than ever. This team went from only have 11 wins last season to being the number one team in the Mountain West Conference with 26 wins.
They have had the best season this program has seen in over a decade and have claimed the regular season conference championship spot.
As they head into the Mountain West Conference tournament in Las Vegas, they do so with the number one seed position and a tenacity that has proven itself successful time and time again.
“Our mentality as a team is to come out as number one,” guard AJ Newton said. “We’re going in as the number one seed and regular season champions so we just want to make a statement that none of that was a fluke and that we deserve it.”
Throughout the course of this season, CSU has been matched up with each conference team twice and has beaten every one of those opponents at least once. Their only losses come from San Jose State University, Fresno State University and the University of Wyoming.
But despite the ongoing success this team has had in their conference play, they look at this tournament as an entirely new season where the clock is set back with every being at 0-0.
“This tournament is an all new scenario for everybody,” head coach Ryun Williams said. “There will be tremendous familiarity with these teams, we’ve played them twice, but everyone is going into this tournament believing they can win it. We’ve said that since day one that the parody in this league is tremendous and that hasn’t changed”
With how successful this season has been for this team, it’s difficult to ignore the chatter going in in Fort Collins and throughout the Mountain West Conference that the Rams have a serious shot at taking home the Conference title this year.
Even though CSU isn’t allowing anyone to get in their heads when it comes to this tournament, the expect nothing less than their best performance heading into Vegas.
“We don’t listen to what other people think,” Williams said. “Our kids are smart and they know how good this league is. Our expectations are the same as what they’ve been all year and thats to play good basketball and put ourselves in positions to win games. So lets see if we can’t go crazy for three days.”
Whatever may come of this tournament, this team recognizes that whether they win everything or if they get knocked out in the first round, this season can go in the books as being a great success.
“We’re 23-6 and we only won 11 games last year,” Williams said. “We won a Mountain West regular season title and we’re going to play in the post-season. So I’d definitely say that this season has been a success.”
But even with all of that being said, their drive to win hasn’t subsided and doesn’t appear to be doing so any time soon.
“I’d like to think that we will end up in the championship game,” forward Elin Gustavsson said. “But I don’t know who else to expect to be there, but whoever is there, they’re going to be good.”
First game of the tournament:
Opponent: Utah State
When: Tuesday, March 11th at 1 pm MT