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Sports / Recreation

Men's, women's basketball teams set to open season

November 9, 2011

The CSU men's team hosts Montana at 7 p.m. Friday, while the women's team hits the road to take on Northern Iowa.

CSU men's basketball coach Tim Miles said the Rams will have to find new ways to win games in 2011-12.The new-look CSU men’s basketball team opens the season Friday night, hosting Montana in a 7 p.m. game at Moby Arena.

The CSU women’s team opens the season on the road, playing at Northern Iowa at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The men’s team will be looking to improve on last year’s 19-13 record that included a fourth-place finishing in the Mountain West Conference and a postseason berth in the National Invitation Tournament. To do so, they will have to replace three talented senior starters, including all-MWC forward Andy Ogide, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder.

“We will have a very different look from last year, but I think this will be an exciting team to watch,” fifth-year coach Tim Miles said. “We’re going to have to play a different style from last year, but I think it will be an exciting style to watch and a style that will help us win games. It should be a lot of fun.”

Veteran backcourt

The Rams will feature a three-guard lineup that includes five junior starters. Guards Dorian Green, Jesse Carr and Wes Eikmeier will team with forwards Greg Smith and Pierce Hornung to form a short but quick lineup.

Green is a two-year starter, while Hornung was named the Mountain West’s sixth man of the year last season for his stellar play off the bench. All of the others have significant playing experience.

“The key to this team will be the development of leadership,” Miles said. “Who is going to be our consistent voice of desire and leadership during practice and in games? If we get that, we’re going to be alright.”

Grizzlies pose difficult challenge

Miles said the Rams will be challenged in the opener against Montana, which is the consensus preseason pick to win the Big Sky Conference title. The Grizzlies return four starters from a team that finished 21-11 and second in the Big Sky.

“This will be an extremely difficult opener, but that will be the theme of our entire nonconference schedule,” Miles said. “We will be challenged every time out. We need to figure out ways to win games, starting with Montana.”

Mestdagh leads women's team

The CSU women’s basketball team returns the nucleus of last year’s team, including preseason Mountain West player of the year Kim Mestdagh at guard and forwards Kelly Hartig and Sam Martin. The Rams should also get a boost from the return of forward Meghan Heimstra, who missed all of last season with an injury.

The Rams, led by fourth-year coach Kristen Holt, open the home season Sunday, taking on powerful Arizona State at 2 p.m. at Moby Arena.

Tickets for men’s and women’s basketball are available online, at the gate or by calling (970) 491-7267.