Women’s basketball to face tough test in No. 23 Tennessee

Ryan Loberger

A quick turnaround is in store for the Colorado State women’s basketball team as they’ll head to Knoxville, Tennessee, for a date with the (7-1) Volunteers this Wednesday.

Consistency has eluded the Rams since starting the season 3-0. They have gone through hot and cold spells, resulting in an even 5-5 overall record. They dropped their last two games to San Diego State and Boise State.

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women's basketball
Colorado State University’s guard Katia Stamatelopoulos (1) goes for the 2-pointer in the 72-69 CSU loss against Boise State Dec. 8. (Noah Turner | The Collegian)

CSU will need their best game of the season to ensure they aren’t run off the court by a formidable Lady Vols team. Ranked at No. 23 in the nation, UT has come out of the gate hot under first-year coach Kellie Harper, but they suffered their first loss of the season against the University of Texas by a score of 66-60 on Sunday. 

The Lady Vols play with a physical style. They’re most successful when they’re able to control the paint, averaging 51.4 rebounds per contest this season. 

Tennessee has been playing solid basketball without one of their top players; the team announced in November that Zaay Green tore her ACL in practice. The sophomore will be out indefinitely for the rest of the 2019-20 season.

Even with the absence of Green, CSU still has plenty of threats to worry about entering this matchup. One of those weapons on this Tennessee squad is junior Rennia Davis, who is averaging 15.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

Davis’ skills are evident based not only on her numbers, but the numerous award watchlists she was named to this season: the Wade Trophy Preseason Watch List, Citizen Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List and the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30.

Three-point shooting will be a factor in the game. If CSU can manage to lock in from deep, they’ll be able to keep this game close. The Rams currently rank third in the Mountain West in 3-pointers, shooting 35.6% from beyond the arc. However, CSU struggled on 3-point shooting in their last two games, averaging just 20.15% from the 3-point line. The Vols haven’t been nearly as accurate from deep, only averaging just under five 3-pointers a game and shooting 28%.

CSU will need their playmakers to step up in this game and keep them in the contest. The longer the Rams can hang around, the better their chances are of snagging an upset road victory.

If the Rams can elevate their shooting, especially from deep, and limit second-chance points for Tennessee, they’ll have a chance against a strong Lady Vols team that will be favored heavily at home. 

Ryan Loberger can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @LobergerRyan

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