By Jen Connery
The Cougars will hit the road this week to begin the second half of Mountain West Conference play against Colorado State at 7 p.m.Thursday and Wyoming at 2 p.m. Saturday.
At 4-3 in the league standings, BYU is tied with the Rams for third place while the Cowgirls hold the No. 4 spot with a 3-4 record. With such parity in the middle of the conference, BYU hopes to earn a couple of big wins on a traditionally difficult road swing.
?Colorado State and Wyoming is a hard trip,? BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. ?We?ve never swept that trip, and we?ve never beaten the Rams in Colorado while I?ve been the head coach.?
The Cougars will be anxious to meet Wyoming Saturday after losing their conference opener to the Cowgirls at home, 63-74, but before seeking revenge, BYU will have to get past a tough Colorado State team. However, the Cougars already defeated the Rams 74-54 this season.
?Wyoming is a revenge game, no question,? Judkins said. ?But we have to come out and be ready take care of CSU first. They?re going to be out for us since we beat them here, and I really believe that both of us have the best inside play in our league. They?ll be a tough challenge for us.?
The Rams? post presence has created problems for opponents all season long. As the league?s top rebounding team and second-best shot-blocking team, CSU loves to pound opponents inside.
With a 3-0 record at home in conference play this season, the Rams have defeated the Cougars in Moby Arena the last seven meetings dating back to 1994.
With the earlier victory, the Cowgirls will look to improve their 7-1 MWC record against the Cougars. BYU will need to contain freshman Hanna Zavecz, who dropped 32 points on the Cougars in the season?s first meeting, and senior Ashley Elliott, who leads the league in three-pointers.
The Cougars will once again look to the experience of BYU?s three seniors, Julie Sullivan, Danielle Cheesman and Kristen Kozlowski to overcome the odds. Cheesman is second in the league in rebounding while Kozlowski holds the No. 2 spot in field goal percentage. Sullivan leads the team in scoring with 11.0 points per game.
?Sullivan, Cheesman and Kozlowski are the three players that we really look to because of their experience and their leadership,? Judkins said. ?They?ve been through a lot of tough situations.?