First Big 12 Game For Miller As Buffs Host Nebraska
THE GAME: The University of Colorado (5-7) will open the 2006 Big 12 Conference schedule by hosting the University of Nebraska on Jan. 4, 2006, at 7 p.m. in the Coors Events Conference Center.
BROADCAST: Colorado's game against Nebraska will be televised live on Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain. Dave Benz will handle play by play with former Buffs' head coach Ceal Barry giving the color commentary. The game will also be broadcast live on KKZN AM 760, Boulder's Progressive Talk station. Tim Smile will handle play by play duties and is joined by USA Basketball's Carol Callan with the color commentary. Internet audio streaming of the game will be available through Yahoo! Sports.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado enters Big 12 Conference play at 5-7 overall after a 72-64 setback against Oregon on Dec. 30. The Buffaloes are 18-13 all-time in conference openers including a 4-5 mark in the Big 12. Four of CU's five wins have come at home in 2005-06 where the Buffaloes are 4-3 overall.
When Colorado is winning, it is winning big. CU is averaging 82.2 points per game in its five wins and outscoring the opponent by 27 points an outing. The Buffs are shooting 46.4 percent from the field (141x304) and holding the opponent to just 31.1 percent (101x325). In contrast, CU is averaging just 68 points per game in its seven losses, shooting just 38.3 percent (150x392) while opponents are shooting 44.8 percent (185x413) from the field.
Sophomore post Jackie McFarland is averaging a double-double over the first 12 contests. She ranks fourth in the Big 12 in scoring at 19.9 points per game and is third in rebounds at 10.3 per contest. Junior Jasmina Ilic is ninth in the Big 12 at 17.5 points per game, and has scored at least 20 points in four of the last nine outings. McFarland and Ilic have scored 20 or more points in the same game four times this season and the Buffs are 3-1 in those outings (lone loss at Creighton). After a relatively slow start, junior forward Anna Nedovic is heating up. She has hit 50 percent from the floor the last nine games (27x54) after hitting only 16.7 percent over the first three games (3x18). Colorado's back-court trio of senior Whitney Law and sophomores Lauren Lubin and Yari Escalera have put up some impressive numbers. Law, who has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle, recorded a career-high 22 points against Colorado State and ranks fourth among Big 12 players in assists with 5.33 per game. Escalera, the third-best foul shooter in the Big 12 at 89.7 percent, had a career-high seven assists and scored 14 second-half points against South Dakota State. Lubin, who has started the last nine games, is hitting 50 percent from the field as a starter (18x36) and ranks 14th in the Big 12 in assists (2.92 apg). Escalera (.897), Lubin (.842), Ilic (.804) and McFarland (.782) each rank in among the top 15 free-throw shooters in the Big 12.
Colorado's freshman duo of forward Caley Dow and guard Hannah Skildum are getting some key minutes off the bench for the Buffaloes. Dow is averaging just under 15 minutes a game and has at least four rebounds in nine of 12 contests. Skildum has scored in seven of the last eight games and has recorded at least one rebound in all 12 outings and one assist in 11 of 12 games.
LAST TIME OUT: Colorado rallied from double-digit deficits in each half, but didn't have enough at the end as Oregon claimed a 72-64 victory over the Buffaloes on Dec. 30 at the Coors Events Conference Center.
Freshman Caley Dow scored a career-high 15 points, including a team season-best 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. Dow, who entered the contest just 5-of-13 from the free-throw line in her career, is only the seventh player in program history to go 10-for-10 or better in one game, and only the second freshman. CU All-American Shelly Sheetz went 11-for-11 as a freshman against Kansas in 1992.
Dow was the catalyst that helped the Buffs overcome a slow start which saw Oregon score the first 10 points of the game and take a lead 19-8 with 11:09 left in the period. Dow hit her first career 3-point field goal, a pair of foul shots and finally a lay-up to cap off a 13-2 CU run that tied the game at 21-21 with 6:37 left in the half.
In a game of spurts, Oregon was next. The Ducks shut down Colorado from the field in the final 6:37 ? allowing only four more Dow free throws ? to end the half on an 18-4 run to take a 39-25 lead into the locker room.
Colorado was ice cold from the floor in the first half making just 5-of-26 for 19 percent. McFarland and Ilic, CU's top two scorers, were held to just 2-of-12 from the floor and seven total points. Dow led CU with 11 in the first 20 minutes, bettering her previous career high of six for a full game.
Oregon was able to extend its lead to 53-34 early in the second half before CU began its charge. The Buffaloes went on a 13-0 run over a 4:18 span to get within six. Ilic had nine of her 17 points during that run, including a high-arcing 3-pointer which cut the Oregon lead to 53-47 with 9:00 remaining in the contest.
Oregon nudged its lead back to 11 (68-57) with 4:22 left in the game. Colorado countered with one final 7-0 run to cut the deficit down to four (68-64) with 3:36 remaining in the game, but the Buffs would not score again. Oregon iced the contest with free throws from Tamika Nurse and Chelsea Wagner
FIRST 12 GAMES: Comparing statistics from Colorado's first 12 games last year, and the first 12 games this year, the most significant improvements for the Buffaloes are in scoring, rebounding and free-throw shooting. CU is averaging 7.4 more points per game than at the same time last year. The Buffs have scored 80 or more points five times in 12 games this season as opposed to once in the entire 2004-05 campaign. Many of those points are coming off free throws. Colorado is getting to the line 7.7 more times per game and making good on 7.9 per game reflecting a solid .762 free-throw percentage -- currently tops in the Big 12 -- as opposed to .658 last season. Colorado is also averaging 3.4 more rebounds than this time last year and enjoying an even greater rebounding margin. CU's averaging 6.8 more rebounds per game than its opponent this year while the Buffs were -0.4 through 12 games in 2004-05.
CU has fallen off on its 3-point field-goal shooting, down 4.3 percent from last year. The Buffs are actually giving up fewer turnovers from last year (+2.0) and have a better assist/turnover ratio (+0.16) but their turnover margin is 0.5 higher than this time last year.
Colorado Statistics Through 12 Games
Record 7-5 5-7
Points 66.5 73.9
Points Allowed 66.9 67.2
Scoring Margin -0.4 +6.7
Field Goals 24.2 24.3
Field Goal Att. 56.9 58.0
Field Goal Pct. .425 .418
3-pt Field Goals 5.5 4.8
3-pt Field Goal Att. 15.5 15.5
3-pt Field Goal Pct. .355 .312
Free Throws 12.7 20.6
Free Throw Att. 19.3 27.0
Free Throw Pct. .658 .762
Offensive Rebounds 12.6 15.0
Defensive Rebounds 26.5 27.5
Total Rebounds 39.1 42.5
Rebounding Margin +2.2 +6.8
Fouls 15.7 18.6
Assists 13.1 14.6
Turnovers 19.3 17.3
Assist/TO Ratio 0.68 0.84
Turnover Margin -2.3 -2.8
Blocks 3.3 3.5
Steals 7.3 7.7
McFARLAND 20-10: Jackie McFarland is the first player in CU women's basketball history to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds over the first seven games of a season, in fact, she was the first to do it in the first four games of a season. McFarland dipped below the double-double numbers while at the San Juan Shootout, but has resurfaced with 27 rebounds over the last two games and is currently residing at 19.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
McFarland's 19.9 points per game average over the first 12 games is third all-time in school history trailing only Tera Bjorklund who averaged 20.8 points over the first 12 games of the 2003-04 season, and Jamillah Lang who averged 20.1 ppg in 1993-94.
POINTS AVERAGE FIRST 11 GAMES
Name (Season) PPG
1. Tera Bjorklund (2003-04) 20.4
2. Jamillah Lang (1993-94) 20.1
3. Jackie McFarland (2005-06) 19.9
4. Lisa Van Goor (1980-81) 19.4
5. Lisa Van Goor (1981-82) 19.3
LUBIN BACK-TO-BACK DOUBLES: With her performances against Utah State and Colorado State sophomore guard Lauren Lubin became just the fifth true guard in team history to record two or more points-rebounds double-doubles in a career and only the second to do it back-to-back games. Former Big Eight Conference MVP Bridget Turner did it in back-to-back games during the 1988-89 season and leads all CU guards with nine total points-rebounds double-doubles. Lubin joins three other guards with two points-rebounds double-doubles and included in that list is teammate Whitney Law who had a pair last season. Lubin had 13 points and 13 rebounds against Utah State and had 15 points and 10 rebounds at CSU.
CLIMBING THE ?3' LADDER: Junior Jasmina Ilic's 3-point field goal against Oregon gaver her 64 for her career and leaves her needing just one more to reach the 10th spot occupied by former teammate Veronica Johns-Richardson who had 65 from 2001-05.
Junior Anna Nedovic is tied with Shelley Garcia (1994-99) for 14th on the all-time list with 44.
ABOUT THE CORNHUSKERS: Nebraska is 8-3 overall and riding a six-game winning streak since beginning the season at 2-3. Junior guard Kiera Hardy, a 2005 All-Big 12 selection, leads the Huskers at 17.6 points per game and has upped her average to 18.5 points per game during NU's six-game win streak while hitting 48 percent from the field. Freshman forward Kelsey Griffin is adding 14.8 points and a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game, both marks that rank among the top 15 in the Big 12. Colorado and Nebraska are scoring at similar outputs witht the Buffs holding a slim edge (73.9-73.7 ppg), but the Huskers are allowing just 58.5 points per game while the Buffs are giving up 67.2 per contest. If Wednesday's game is decided at the free-throw line, it will feature the top two teams in the Big 12 in terms of percentage. The Buffaloes rank No. 1 in the conference, and 16th in the nation, at 76.2 percent while the Huskers check in at 75.7 percent. CU is getting to the free-throw line seven more times per game than Nebraska.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 57th meeting between Colorado and Nebraska with the Buffaloes holding a commanding 38-18 lead in the series. Wednesday's game will tie the Missouri series as the most played in CU history, although the Tigers and the Buffs will meet in Columbia in a little over two weeks. The 38 wins CU owns over the Huskers are the most the Buffaloes own over any one opponent. Colorado, which has won 10 of the last 11 in the series overall, is an impressive 24-2 all-time against Nebraska in Boulder, including a current 21-game winning streak dating back to the 1985-86 season. Nebraska's last win in Boudler was 85-60 on Feb. 23, 1985.
CU'S LAST 10 GAMES AGAINST NEBRASKA IN BOULDER:
Date Result Date Result
3/2/05 W, 78-76 2/9/00 W, 78-75
2/4/04 W, 78-64 1/23/99 W, 70-53
1/14/03 W, 74-54 1/7/98 W, 84-78
2/6/02 W, 95-60 2/5/97 W, 73-52
1/24/01 W, 69-67 1/21/96 W, 69-61
Kathy McConnell-Miller has never faced Nebraska as a head coach.
CHRISTMAS WINNERS: Colorado is 24-8 since the 1975-76 season in its first game back from the Christmas holiday. The Buffaloes have won eight in a row in their first game back from the Christmas break including wins over LSU in 2001, Illinois in 1999 and Stanford in 1998.
MILESTONES GALORE IN SEASON OPENER: Several milestones were reached in Colorado's season-opening 100-71 win over Cal State-Fullerton.
Junior Jasmina Ilic and sophomore Jackie McFarland each had 34 points, both career highs, marking the first time in team history two players hit the 30-point mark in the same game. McFarland recorded her sixth career double-double, grabbing a personal-high 15 rebounds. Ilic also had a personal-best 12 field goals and tied a career mark with 10 rebounds.
Senior Whitney Law dished out a school record 15 assists, breaking the previous record of 14, which was done twice, last by La Shena Graham vs. Missouri in 1998. She also had nine assists in the first half, breaking a 26-year old school record. Sandy Bean recorded eight assists in a half against Northern Colorado on Feb. 1, 1979.
Colorado recorded its first 100 point game since a 114-52 win over St. Francis (Pa.) on Nov. 28, 1994. CU's 58 first-half points tied for the sixth-most in team history, a feat also achieved against TCU on Dec. 7, 1993 and vs. St. Francis (Pa.) on Nov. 28, 1994.
CLASSIC IN REVIEW: Colorado placed third in the 19th Annual Coors Classic Tournament Nov. 25-26 at the Coors Events Conference Center. The Buffaloes fell to Northern Iowa, 74-65, in overtime marking the first time in Coors Classic history that CU lost a first round match up. Colorado rebounded to take the consolation game from Utah State, 73-56. Northern Iowa would go on to take the tournament title by defeating Illinois 71-47.
Jackie McFarland was named to the All-Tournament team as she averaged 18 points, 8.5 rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Northern Iowa senior center Cassie Hager, who had 21 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks against CU, was the tournament MVP.
WALLACE ACTIVATED: Junior forward Courtney Wallace has waited more than a year to put on the Buffaloes uniform and now laces them up with the rest of the squad. Wallace, a walk-on transfer from CU-Colorado Springs, was officially added to the active roster on Nov. 17. Wallace practiced with the Buffs for most of last season as she sat out her NCAA mandated redshirted year after transferring from the Springs campus. She has been practicing and conditioning with the Buffaloes since the start of the school year. Wallace played two years for the Mountain Lions and was a two-year letterwinner for Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs, graduating in 2004.
ON THE MEND: Sophomore center Kara Richards, who has missed the first 12 games of the regular season due to a Jones fracture in her left foot suffered in practice on Nov. 15, had her cast removed on Dec. 28 and began limited practice drills on Dec. 29. She will be evaluated in one week to determine her return to the line up. Richards started in 26 of 28 games for the Buffaloes as a true freshman last winter, averaging nine points, 5.3 rebounds and one block per game. She earned a spot on the Waco Tribune-Herald's All-Big 12 Conference Freshman team in 2004-05 and was named the Buffs' Rookie of the Year. A native of Graham, Texas, Richards averaged 12 points and 6.5 rebounds in CU's two exhibition games earlier this month.
McCONNELL-MILLER 100 IN DEBUT: Kathy McConnell-Miller led Colorado to the century mark in her first game as head coach, by far the best total of any current Big 12 Conference coach in their debut at their school. Bill Fennelly of Iowa State was the closest as he led the Cyclones to an 82-55 win over Idaho State in his debut in 1995. Ironically, McConnell-Miller is not the first Colorado women's coach to debut with a 100-point performance. Sox Walseth led the Buffs to a 107-73 win over Colorado Women's College in his first game as women's head coach on Nov. 18, 1980.
BUFFS IN OPENERS: With its win over Cal State-Fullerton, Colorado moved to 27-5 (.844) all-time in season openers and a whopping 31-1 (.969) all-time in home openers. CU has won six straight season debuts and 19 of its last 20 with the lone loss in that span coming at Denver on Nov. 19, 1999.
BUFFS IN PRESEASON: After its loss to Oregon, Colorado dropped to 5-7 overall meaning the Buffaloes string of five straight seasons of .500 or better during non conference action will end. It will be only the third time CU has finished below .500 during the nonconference schedule in the Big 8/Big 12 era going 5-6 in 1999-2000 and 4-9 in 1984-85.
BUFFS PICKED 12TH: Colorado was picked to finish 12th in the annual Big 12 Conference Coaches Preseason Poll. CU received 14 points meaning no less than eight Big 12 coaches picked the Buffaloes to finish in the 12th spot (coaches do not vote for their own teams). It is the first time the Buffaloes have been picked lower than eighth since the coaches poll began in 1997. Defending NCAA champion Baylor was picked to win its second consecutive Big 12 title, landing six first place votes and 113 total points to edge out second place Texas with two first place nods and 110 points. Texas Tech was a close third with the four remaining first place votes and 108 points. Oklahoma was fourth (91), followed by Nebraska (70), Kansas (66), Texas A&M (59), Kansas State (56), Iowa State (45), Missouri (37), Oklahoma State (23) and Colorado.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Colorado once again faces a tough schedule, featuring at least 14 games against 2005 NCAA or WNIT tournament teams. Defending national champion Baylor, who the Buffs will face in Waco on Feb. 22, is the highest ranked team on the schedule, checking in at No. 4 in the most recent Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN coaches polls. Oklahoma is tied with Stanford for No. 16 in the coaches' poll and is No. 20 in the AP poll. Texas is No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 24 in the coaches' poll. South Florida is receiving votes in the coaches' poll while Kansas and Wyoming are receiving votes in the AP poll.
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 293-81 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.783). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CECC in 18 of the previous 27 years including five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94). Colorado had a rare sub-.500 season last winter at 5-9, marking just the second time the Buffs have been below .500 for a season in the 27-year history of the CECC.
BUFFS ON TV: Colorado's schedule features seven games that will be televised either regionally or nationally by Fox Sports Net. All but one of the FSN games is in Boulder, with the lone exception at Colorado State on Nov. 30. Buffs fans will see a familiar face on their TV sets during those games as longtime CU coach Ceal Barry is scheduled to provide the color commentary on a majority of the broadcasts.
UP NEXT: Colorado head coach will return to the state of Oklahoma for the first time since leaving the University of Tulsa as the Buffaloes will play at No. 18/16 Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 2:30 p.m. MST.