Montana State women face first big test in Northern Colorado

Posted at 9:40 PM, Jan 01, 2018

BOZEMAN — The Montana State women are certainly riding a high after their first two games of Big Sky Conference play, but the ladies are hitting the practice floor early this week knowing that they have to keep those emotions in check.

The Bobcats are preparing for their first big test of the conference season, as they get set to travel to Greeley, Colo. for a matchup with Northern Colorado. The Lady Bears are also coming off of a 2-0 start in conference play, improving the team’s record to 10-3 overall.

But the Cats know they’re also a skilled outfit. A combined 24 3-pointers in the team’s first two conference games lifted the women to a pair of easy wins. The Bobcats played near-flawless basketball for the majority of those games, but the team says it will have to find a way to play even better this week.

“(Northern Colorado has) been causing a lot of turnovers over the last couple of games,” said head coach Tricia Binford. “We just need to do a great job of taking care of the basketball against them (and get) the shots that we want.”

Binford said over the weekend that she would like to see her team work on its turnover rate, and Thursday should present a good test. MSU knows the Bears are a tougher matchup than the team’s first two opponents.

“They’re just going to commit a lot more than I think the last couple of teams have,” said forward Madeline Smith. “We’re going to have to be a little sharper than we were the last couple of games.”

Making the task more difficult is the challenge of hitting the road. Last year, Montana State finished Big Sky play with a 15-3 record. One of those losses was by eight points to UNC in Greeley, but the Cats are excited for the challenge and the early chance to see where they stand among the Big Sky’s best.

“Playing on the road is really hard, so it’ll be nice to see how we respond to playing them,” Smith said.

The Bobcats and Bears tip off at 7 p.m. Thursday.