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The Montana State women’s basketball team is riding a three-game winning streak and arguably is playing its best basketball of the season.

The offense is operating the way head coach Tricia Binford envisioned, the interior defense is ranked among the best in the nation, and pending what could be their toughest road trip of the season, the Bobcats could return to Bozeman on Jan. 19 as the Big Sky leader.

All MSU has to do to vault itself into first is accomplish something that has eluded them thus far this season: string together two consecutive wins on the road.

Montana State plays Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. tonight before heading into the Betty Engelstad Center on Saturday, where North Dakota, the lone unbeaten squad in Big Sky play, has yet to lose.

Though North Dakota looms, the Bobcats say their focus is squarely on the Bears and putting a stop to their road woes.

“I think we just have to play like we’re at home,” junior guard Ausha Cole said Monday. “That’s one thing that we’re struggling at, so I think we just have to apply the things we do at home to road games.”

Northern Colorado, which will be without D’Shara Strange, the Big Sky’s reigning two-time defensive player of the year who tore her ACL before the season, started conference play 0-3 but has since rebounded with a road sweep of Idaho State and Weber State.

In Strange’s absence, center Stephanie Lee has become one of the Big Sky’s premier post players. Lee, a 6-foot-1 junior, is averaging nearly 21 points and 2.5 blocks per game.

“Good teams find ways to make some changes and adapt, and they’ve certainly adapted,” Binford said. “They’re definitely going a lot into the post play right now and working through that. That’s going to be a big challenge for us.”

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