Buffs To Hoop With Huskers Saturday
THE GAME: The University of Colorado (6-13, 1-6 Big 12) continues its Big 12 Conference schedule by traveling to play the University of Nebraska (10-7, 2-4 Big 12) on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 6:05 p.m. MST, at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Neb.
BROADCAST: Saturday's game will be broadcast live on KHOW 630 AM. Tim Smile will handle play by play duties and will be joined by a special guest, former CU All-Big 12 center Tera Bjorklund, who will provide the color commentary. Internet audio streaming of the game will be available through Yahoo! Sports. Live video streaming of Saturday's battle will be available to Stampede Online subscribers at CUBuffs.com.
OPENING TIP: Both teams are looking for a much-needed notch in the win column as each enters on a four-game losing streak. Colorado will attempt to win its first road game in its last 12 tries, while Nebraska will be searching for its first season-sweep of the Buffaloes since the 1983-84 campaign.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado, which currently resides in 11th place in the Big 12 Conference, will be searching for its second win in its last nine games on Saturday at Nebraska. The Buffaloes will also be trying to avoid their 12th straight loss on the road dating back to a 56-51 win over Missouri on Jan. 18, 2005. A loss would tie a school record set by the 1999-2000 Buffaloes who lost all 12 of their road games that season. A win over Nebraska would allow the Buffaloes to match their Big 12 win total from 2004-05.
Stopping the opponent's offense has been the biggest headache for Colorado in its five road games this year. The Buffaloes are giving up 80.2 points per game, while scoring only 66.2 themselves, on the opponents home floor. CU foes are also shooting just over 46 percent from the floor in the Buffs' five road games compared to just 41 percent for the entire season. Colorado has shot slightly better on the road (42.4 percent) than its overall season average of 41.6 percent, but the Buffaloes are being out-rebounded by just over three rebounds per game on the road and are giving up 20 turnovers per contest.
Despite scoring a season-low 46 points and committing 25 turnovers against, arguably, the best defensive team in the Big 12 Conference in Texas A&M, Colorado showed vast improvement on the defensive end in the game limiting the Aggies to just 55 points -- the lowest point total against CU in the Big 12 since the Buffs' gave up just 51 to Missouri on Jan. 18, 2005. Prior to that output, CU had allowed opponents 80 or more points in four of the previous six games.
Sophomore Jackie McFarland leads Colorado in scoring (17.3 ppg) and rebounding (9.7 rpg), just dipping under a season-long double-double during the loss to Missouri. McFarland has 10 games of 10-plus rebounds, tying for the ninth-best single-season performance in team history. Junior Jasmina Ilic is second in scoring (16.7 ppg) and leads CU with 36 3-point field goals, just two shy of her total in 28 games last season. Ilic has six games of 20-plus points including a Big 12 season-best 36 against Nebraska on Jan. 4. Junior Anna Nedovic has started all 19 games for the Buffaloes averaging 6.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. She has picked up her game defensively over the past week, averaging eight rebounds in the last two contests. Overall, Nedovic is hitting 43 percent from the floor, but that number has climbed to 48 percent over the last 16 games.
When they haven't been fighting injuries, CU's back-court trio of senior Whitney Law and sophomores Lauren Lubin and Yari Escalera have put up some impressive numbers. Law, who hit the 20-point mark for the second time in her career against Iowa State, has ranked among the Big 12's top 10 in assists and assist/turnover ratio all season. Escalera, the fourth-best foul shooter in the Big 12 at 85.2 percent, led CU against Texas A&M with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. Lubin, who started 11-straight games before being sidelined with a mild concussion, is hitting nearly 50 percent from the field as a starter (18x39) and is second on the team in assists and rebounding. Escalera (.852), Ilic (.774) and McFarland (.772) each rank in among the top 10 free-throw shooters in the Big 12. Lubin is right there as well at .842, but has dipped under the minimum number of attempts to qualify for the Big 12 rankings.
NOT JUST FRESHMAN ANYMORE: Now that the Big 12 season is well underway, Colorado's freshman duo of forward Caley Dow and guard Hannah Skildum are seeing their roles increase as well as their productivity. Skildum has started the last five games and has seen her two top scoring performances come on the orad during Big 12 play with 12 points at Oklahoma and at Kansas State. Dow is averaging 6.1 points through seven Big 12 games, hitting 53 percent from the field, and is the team's second leading rebounder (4.7 rpg).
SCHEDULE CHANGES: Colorado has announced a time change for its home game with Kansas State and a change to its television schedule with Fox Sports Net-Rocky Mountain.
Colorado's game against Kansas State on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Coors Events/Conference Center will now be played at 7 p.m. MST and will still air live as planned on FSN-Rocky Mountain. The game will immediately follow the CU-Texas A&M men's contest scheduled to air live from College Station, Texas, on FSN-Rocky Mountain at 5 p.m. MST. The KSU game was originally scheduled for 8 p.m.
Additionally, FSN-Rocky Mountain opted to televise the CU women's home game against Texas A&M on Jan. 24, and will no longer air the home contest against Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 18. The change was made due to a scheduling conflict with FSN-Rocky Mountain on Feb. 18. Game time against Missouri on Feb. 18 remains 7 p.m.
RICHARDS WILL REDSHIRT: Sophomore center Kara Richards, who has not played in a regular season game this season due to a broken foot, will miss the remainder of the year and use this as her redshirt season CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller announced on Jan. 10.
Richards suffered a Jones fracture ? a fracture to the fifth meta-tarsal ? in her left foot on Nov. 15, just three day's before CU's season opening win over Cal State University-Fullerton. She underwent surgery on Nov. 16 and the initial diagnosis had her missing anywhere from four to eight weeks. Richards was in a cast until Dec. 28, and returned to light practice the next week, but was not making the progress needed to return to the line up in the near future as soreness from her injury continues.
Richards will be a sophomore in eligibility for the 2006-07 campaign. She did appear in CU's two exhibition games in November averaging 12 points and 6.5 rebounds.
A native of Graham, Texas, 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.
LAST TIME OUT: Defense was on center stage Tuesday night, and Colorado nearly stole the show.
The Buffaloes, who had allowed nearly 80 points per game in their first six Big 12 Conference contests, held Texas A&M to just 55, the lowest total for a Big 12 opponent against CU in over a year. However, the best defensive team in the Big 12 showed up too.
Texas A&M used a late 16-6 run to pull away from Colorado and escape with its first-ever win in Boulder, 55-46, Tuesday night at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
The Aggies (16-4, 5-2 Big 12) lived up to their defensive reputation forcing 25 CU turnovers, right on their season average, and limiting the Buffaloes to just 12 field goals and 32 percent shooting. But the Texas A&M offense struggled as well as Colorado (6-13, 1-6 Big 12) matched the Aggies' defensive effort.
CU held Texas A&M to just 35 percent from the field (21-of-60) and held a commanding 45-32 edge in rebounds.
Colorado sophomore point guard Yari Escalera led all players with 15 points and her 3-point field goal with 7:01 remaining in the contest gave the Buffaloes their first lead of the game at 40-39. Texas A&M came right back and got a 3-point play from La Toya Micheaux and back-to-back buckets by Patrice Reado and Takia Starks put the Aggies back up by six at 46-40.
Jackie McFarland answered for CU with a layup and a free throw to pull the Buffs back to within three (46-43) with 1:44 left. After Starks sank another field goal, the Aggies put the ball in the hands of guard A'Quonesia Franklin who iced the game at the foul-line hitting 5-of-6 in the final 49 seconds.
Colorado, which entered the game as the best free-throw shooting team in the Big 12 at 74 percent, hit just 12-of-20 in the second half, and was 67 percent for the game (20-of-30).
McFarland finished with 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Junior Anna Nedovic had eight rebounds for the second-straight game to go along with six points and two assists. Escalera added five rebounds and three assists to her 15 points.
ABOUT THE HUSKERS: Nebraska is 10-7 overall and tied with Kansas for ninth place in the Big 12 standings at 2-4. The Huskers have dropped four straight after starting the Big 12 season at 2-0 with wins at Colorado (80-62) and at home against Kansas (73-61). Junior guard Kiera Hardy, a 2005 All-Big 12 selection, leads Nebraska and ranks fifth in the conference in scoring at 18.4 points per game. Hardy also ranks second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals (2.8 3pg) and third in steals (2.2 spg). Hardy is complimented by freshman forward Kelsey Griffin, who is having a strong debut for the Huskers. Griffin, who was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Jan. 9, is second on the team in scoring (14.1 ppg), leads the Huskers in rebounding (7.1 rpg) and ranks fifth in the conference in field-goal percentage (.567). Nebraska ranks second in the Big 12 in free-throw percentage -- right behind Colorado -- at 73.5 percent. The Huskers own the second-best turnover margin in the Big 12 (+4.9) and also rank second in rebound defense, allowing just 34.9 rebounds per contest.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 58th meeting between Colorado and Nebraska with the Buffaloes holding a commanding 38-19 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 Boulder again on Feb. 18. The 38 wins CU owns over the Huskers are the most the Buffaloes own over any one opponent. Nebraska has won two of the last three meetings, including an 80-62 win on Jan. 4, the Huskers' first win in Boulder since the 1984-85 season. Nebraska holds a 16-11 edge in the series in Lincoln, including an 84-62 decision on Jan. 5, 2005. Nebraska has not swept CU in a season series since the 1983-84 campaign. Colorado's last win in Lincoln was a 63-60 squeaker on Mar. 3, 2004.
CU'S LAST 10 GAMES AGAINST NEBRASKA IN LINCOLN
Date Result Date Result
1/5/05 L, 62-84 1/26/00 L, 66-79
3/3/04 W, 63-60 1/6/99 L, 49-90
3/5/03 W, 70-56 2/22/98 L, 53-78
2/26/02 W, 84-60 1/4/97 W, 65-58
2/10/01 W, 81-65 2/14/96 L, 75-83 2OT
Kathy McConnell-Miller is 0-1 against Nebraska as a head coach. This is her first opportunity at a rematch with a team as Colorado head coach.
VAST IMPROVEMENTS: With two-thirds of regular season in the books, a few Colorado players have already surpassed last year totals in several different categories. Whitney Law has a team-best 67 assists this season compared to 48 in 27 games in 2004-05. Jasmina Ilic has 317 points which has passed her 2004-05 total of 280, and has four more steals (18) than she did in 28 games last year. Yari Escalera has 138 points, 33 more than she did all of last year and has also passed her rebouding output rom her freshman campaign. Jackie McFarland has 57 more points, 19 more rebounds, nine more steals and seven more blocks through 19 games than she did in 27 games as a freshman.
FIRST 19/7: Comparing statistics from Colorado's first 19 games last year, and the first 19 games this year, the most significant improvements for the Buffaloes are in scoring, rebounding and free-throw shooting. CU is averaging 4.3 more points per game than at the same time last year. The Buffs have scored 80 or more points five times 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 6.2 more times per game and making good on six more per game reflecting a solid .736 free-throw percentage -- currently tops in the Big 12 -- as opposed to .654 last season. Colorado is also averaging 2.5 more rebounds than this time last year and enjoying an even greater rebounding margin. CU's averaging 3.7 more rebounds per game than its opponent this year while the Buffs were -1.2 through 19 games in 2004-05.
CU has fallen off on its 3-point field-goal shooting, down three percent from last year. The Buffs are actually giving up fewer turnovers from last year (+1.6) and have a better assist/turnover ratio (+0.10) but their turnover margin is 3.2 higher than this time last year.
Comparing the first seven Big 12 games to last year's first seven league contests, Colorado is virtually even in most categories, with the exceptions of shooting 2.2 percent better from the field, making four more free throws per game, shooting 6.3 percent better from the line and committing nearly three fewer turnovers per game.
Colorado Statistics Through 19/7 Games
19 Overall 7 Big 12
2004-05 2005-06 2004-05 2005-06
Record 8-11 6-13 1-6 1-6
Points 65.0 69.3 60.4 61.3
Points Allowed 70.6 70.1 74.3 74.9
Scoring Margin -5.6 -0.8 -13.9 -13.6
Field Goals 23.8 23.2 23.0 21.4
Field Goal Att. 57.8 55.8 59.0 52.0
Field Goal Pct. .413 .416 .390 .412
3-pt Field Goals 5.1 4.5 4.1 4.0
3-pt Field Goal Att. 15.2 14.9 14.3 14.0
3-pt Field Goal Pct. .333 .303 .290 .286
Free Throws 12.3 18.3 10.3 14.4
Free Throw Att. 18.7 24.9 16.7 21.3
Free Throw Pct. .654 .736 .615 .678
Offensive Rebounds 11.9 13.4 11.9 10.7
Defensive Rebounds 25.5 26.5 23.9 24.9
Total Rebounds 37.4 39.9 35.7 35.6
Rebounding Margin -1.2 +3.7 -5.1 -1.4
Fouls 16.5 17.5 17.9 15.7
Assists 12.8 13.5 11.7 11.6
Turnovers 19.1 17.5 20.0 17.7
Assist/TO Ratio 0.67 0.77 0.59 0.65
Turnover Margin -0.9 -4.1 -0.1 -6.1
Blocks 3.3 3.1 3.4 2.3
Steals 7.7 6.4 7.1 4.1
ILIC HITS 30 TWICE: Jasmina Ilic's 36 point performance against Nebraska is the best individual total in the Big 12 Conference this year and third on CU's all-time single game list just behind co-record holders Susan Horner who had 38 against Weber State on Mar. 10, 1979, and Tracy Tripp who also had 38 at Oklahoma State on Feb. 4, 1987. Ilic is the first player in team history to score 33 or more points twice in the same season as she had 34 points in CU's season-opening win over Cal State-Fullerton.
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 20-10 numbers at the San Juan Shootout, and is nearly averaging a double-double with 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
ILIC, McFARLAND TOP SCORING DUO: Jackie McFarland and Jasmina Ilicare 1-2 in team scoring and are on pace to become the highest scoring duo in team history over an entire season. McFaralnd currently holds CU's sixth best point total through 19 games while Ilic is ninth. Lisa Van Goor and Diane Hiemstra hold the title of CU's highest scoring pair. Van Goor averaged 17 points and Hiemstra 16.7 per game in 1982-83.
POINTS AVERAGE FIRST 19 GAMES
Name (Season) PPG Total
1. Jamillah Lang (1993-94) 19.7 375
2. Tera Bjorklund (2003-04) 19.3 366
3. Lisa Van Goor (1980-81) 18.9 360
4. Lisa Van Goor (1981-82) 18.4 350
5. Diane Hiemstra (1983-84) 17.7 336
6. Jackie McFarland (2005-06) 17.3 328
7. Lisa Van Goor (1982-83) 17.2 327
8. Tera Bjorklund (2002-03) 16.8 320
9. Jasmina Ilic (2005-06) 16.7 317
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.
McFARLAND DOUBLES: Sophomore forward Jackie McFarland hads 10 double-doubles this season, tying for the fifth-best single-season mark in team history. She is just the third individual to achieve the feat as Lisa Van Goor (3) and Erin Scholz (2) hold the other five instances. McFarland, who currently ranks third in the Big 12 in double-doubles, has 15 for her career, ranking seventh on CU's all-time list.
CLIMBING THE ?3' LADDER: Jasmina Ilic hit one 3-point field goal against Iowa State to move into sole possession of ninth place on CU's all-time list with 75. She needs 10 more 3-pointers to pass La Shena Graham (1994-98) who currently resides in eighth place with 84.
Junior Anna Nedovic had a pair of 3-pointers against Iowa State to move into sole possession of 14th place on CU's all-time list with 46.
BLOCK PARTY: Sophomore Jackie McFarland is 11th on CU's all time list for blocked shots with 52. She has 31 this season -- seven more than her freshman season total -- including a school-record tying eight in one game against South Dakota State on Dec. 28. Her 31 blocks are tied for the 18th best single-season mark in team history, currently sharing that spot with Crystal Ford (1986-87). The mark is also the fourth-best single-season performance by a sophomore on the team charts. McFarland needs four blocks to move into the career top 10.
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.
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. Here is the list of current Big 12 coaches and their first games:
Coach, School Opponent Date W/L Result
Kathy McConnell-Miller, Colorado Cal State Fullerton 11/18/05 W 100-71
Bill Fennelly, Iowa State Idaho State 11/24/95 W 82-55
Marsha Sharp, Texas Tech Abilene Christian 11/19/82 W 78-64
Kim Mulkey-Robertson, Baylor Miami (Ohio) 11/18/00 W 75-62
Cindy Stein, Missouri Bradley 11/19/98 W 73-57
Jody Conradt, Texas McLennan CC 11/22/76 W 72-58
Kurt Budke, Oklahoma State Texas State 11/19/05 L 69-77
Deb Patterson, Kansas State Memphis 11/22/96 W 68-60
Connie Yori, Nebraska Grambling State 11/22/02 W 63-40
Sherri Coale, Oklahoma Oral Roberts 11/22/96 W 62-50
Gary Blair, Texas A&M La Salle 11/22/03 L 62-67
Bonnie Henrickson Texas-Arlington 11/21/04 L 49-53
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. 9 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll. Oklahoma is 13th in the AP poll and 14th in the coaches poll. Missouri, Texas A&M and Texas are receiving votes in both polls. Iowa State is receiving votes in the AP poll while Kansas appears in the receiving votes column in the coaches' poll.
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 294-84 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.778). 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 continues its two-game road swing with a game at the University of Kansas on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 6 p.m. MST, at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.