Buffs Seek Win No. 100 For McConnell-Miller Saturday Against Missouri
THE GAME: The University of Colorado (8-17, 2-10 Big 12) returns to Big 12 Conference play by hosting the University of Missouri (18-6, 8-4 Big 12) on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
BROADCAST: Saturday's game will be broadcast live on KKZN 760 AM, 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. Live video streaming of Saturday's battle will be available to Stampede Online subscribers at CUBuffs.com.
OPENING TIP: Colorado head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller is out for career win No. 100 as a head coach Saturday night while hoping to lead the Buffaloes to their first back-to-back wins of the season. Missouri comes to Boulder looking for its first series sweep of CU since 1990 and momentum towards its second NCAA Tournament appearance in three years.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado currently resides in 11th place in the Big 12 at 2-10, just one game behind Kansas which is 10th at 3-9. The Buffaloes look to end a three-game slide in Big 12 games when the Tigers come to Boulder Saturday. Colorado is coming off its bye week and took its break from Big 12 play in style by handling NCAA Division I Independent University of Northern Colorado 92-65 on Feb. 13.
CU will certainly look to build on the momentum from its non league win over UNC. The Buffaloes reached the 90-point mark for the first time since the San Juan Shootout in December and shot 58.6 percent from the field. Colorado's shooting success was a welcome site at home, as the Buffaloes had shot just 39.7 percent in their previous 13 games at the CECC. On the defensive end, CU has held opponents to 39 percent from the field and enjoys a rebounding margin of +5.5 per game.
With two home games left on the 2005-06 schedule, CU will need wins in both in order to finish at .500 at home this season. The Buffaloes are currently 6-8 at the CECC.
Sophomore Jackie McFarland leads Colorado in scoring (17.7 ppg) and rebounding (9.2 rpg), just under a season-long double-double. McFarland has 12 games of 10-plus rebounds, tied for the sixth-best, single-season performance in team history. Junior Jasmina Ilic is second in scoring (14.8 ppg) and leads CU with 44 3-point field goals. Ilic has seven games of 20-plus points including a Big 12 season-best 36 against Nebraska on Jan. 4. Junior Anna Nedovic has started all 25 games for the Buffaloes averaging six points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Nedovic scored her second double-double of the season with 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds against Northern Colorado.
CU's back-court trio of senior Whitney Law and sophomores Lauren Lubin and Yari Escalera have put up some impressive numbers. Law shot a "perfect game" against UNC, 4-of-4 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line, and has ranked among the Big 12's top 15 in assists and assist/turnover ratio all season. Escalera, the fourth-best foul shooter in the Big 12 at 81.9 percent, has scored in double digits in four of the last seven games and has 17 3-pointers in the last eight. Lubin, who started 11-straight games before being sidelined with a mild concussion, has hit 50 percent of her 3-point attempts this season (11-of-22) and is fourth on the team in assists. Escalera (.819), McFarland (.809) and Ilic (.783) each rank among the top 11 free-throw shooters in the Big 12 for the league's best free-throw shooting team (.746). Lubin is right there as well at .821, but is under the minimum number of attempts to qualify for the Big 12 rankings.
NOT JUST FRESHMAN ANYMORE: Colorado's freshman duo of forward Caley Dow and guard Hannah Skildum have played key roles off the bench this season. In CU's road win over Kansas, the duo combined for 22 points on 9-of-12 from the field and 16 rebounds. Dow, who has a pair of double-doubles this season, is CU's second-leading rebounder at 5.2 per game and has increased that number to 8.4 per game over the last five contests. Skildum, averaging 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds, has three games of double-digit points this season, all of them on the road against Big 12 teams.
LAST TIME OUT: Sophomore Jackie McFarland had a game-high 29 points and Jasmina Ilic had 17 points and a career-high seven assists to lead Colorado to a 92-65 non-conference win over Northern Colorado Feb. 13 at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
CU snaped an overall three game losing streak and a four-game skid at the CECC to improve to 8-17 overall. UNC falls to 12-11.
Just about everything went right for the Buffaloes in the first 20 minutes. CU hit a season high 67.7 percent from the field in the first half (21-of-31), building a 53-29 lead. The 6-foot-3 McFarland and 6-4 Anna Nedovic took advantage of their height advantage down low ? UNC's tallest starter was 6-1 center Danielle Hagen ? connecting on 11-of-14 from the field for 25 points in the period.
It wasn't just the duo on the blocks doing the damage. Ilic was 4-of-8 from the field with three 3-point field goals to finish the half with 11 points and six assists. Ilic, whose previous career high in assists was four in a game against Manhattan last season, had five in the first eight minutes of the half.
The Buffaloes offense moved around as well as it has all season. Nine different CU players had assists in the first half and the Buffs' total of 17 in the first 20 minutes was just one off the school record of 18 set against Sam Houston State on Dec. 14, 2000. Colorado ended the game with 24 assists.
Colorado controlled the defensive side as well. Northern Colorado shot just 31.3 percent (10-of-31) in the half and the Buffs held a 24-10 rebounding edge. CU continued the dominate the boards into the second half, coming away with a 53-22 advantage, its largest margin in a game this season.
McFarland added 13 rebounds to her totals for her 12th double-double of the season. Her 12 double-doubles tie Erin Scholz (1995-96) for the fourth best single-season mark in team history.
In all four players scored in double-digits for the Buffaloes who finished the game at 58.6 percent from the. Nedovic finished with 15 points, her first double-digit performance since a season-high 25 against Northern Arizona on Dec. 19. She hit 7-of-9 from the floor and grabbed 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.
Senior Whitney Law had 15 points on a perfect night from the field. Law hit 4-of-4 field goals ? three of which were 3-pointers ? and 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.
Heather Barbour led Northern Colorado with 13 points. Jabrenta Hubbard pitched in 12.
FELIZ CUMPLEA?OS YARI!!!: If sophomore guard Yari Escalera looks a little older and wiser on Saturday, it's because she can no longer be called a teenager. The Humacao, Puerto Rico native celebrates her 20th birthday during the Missouri game on Feb. 18.
ABOUT THE TIGERS: Missouri is 18-6 overall and in a three-way tie for second place in the Big 12 with Baylor and Texas A&M at 8-4. The Tigers, attempting to qualify for their second NCAA Tournament in three seasons, are 4-5 on the road this season. Senior guard LaToya Bond paces the Tigers and is the fifth-best scorer in the Big 12 at 18.5 points per game. She is complimented down low by senior center Christelle N'Garsanet who averages 13.7 points per game and ranks seventh in the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.7 per contest. N'Garsanet is one of only two players in the Big 12 with 100 offensive rebounds, joining Oklahoma's Courtney Paris. Junior forward Carlynn Savant averages 10.6 points and six rebounds per game and leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (.465) hitting on 47-of-101 from downtown. As a team the Tigers hit 36 percent from 3-point range, the second best mark in the Big 12, and have the league's second rated scoring defense at 60.2 points per game.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 59th meeting between Colorado and Missouri, the most played series in Buffs' history. CU holds a 34-24 series edge over the Tigers and has won 18 of 24 meetings in Boulder. Missouri broke a 14-game Buffs winning streak in Boulder with a last-second 58-55 win in the last meeting at the Coors Events Center on Feb. 9, 2005. Missouri took a 69-49 win in Columbia on Jan. 18, and will go for its first season sweep against Colorado since the 1989-90 season.
CU'S LAST 10 GAMES AGAINST MISSOURI IN BOULDER
Date Result Date Result
2/9/05 L, 55-58 2/26/00 W, 72-64
1/18/04 W, 71-54 2/9/99 W, 74-62
2/22/03 W, 69-48 2/25/98 W, 78-65
2/13/02 W, 78-47 1/8/97 W, 78-51
1/14/01 W, 98-90 2/10/96 W, 67-56
Kathy McConnell-Miller is 0-2 against Missouri as a head coach, 0-1 at Colorado.
RARE LATE BREAK FROM CONFERENCE ACTION: Monday's win over Northern Colorado marked the first time CU has taken a break in the middle of league play for a non conference game since the Buffaloes participated in the 1997 Big 12/ACC Challenge. CU hosted North Carolina State on Feb. 1, 1997, coming away with a 67-62 win. It was also the latest in the season the Buffaloes have ventured out of conference for a regular season game since CU defeated Colorado College, 83-58, on Feb. 15, 1983, at the Coors Events Center.
McFARLAND NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Sophomore forward Jackie McFarland has been named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VII University Division Women's Basketball first team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
McFarland, an accounting major who sports a 3.97 grade point average, is the lone sophomore joining four seniors on the five-member first team. She is now eligible for the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team which will be announced on Feb. 28.
A native of Derby, Kan., McFarland is a two-time member of the Dean's List and earned the CU Athletic Department's Academic Excellence Award in the fall of 2004 with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She is also a team representative for the Student Athlete-Advisory Committee.
The District VII University Division is comprised of NCAA Division I schools from the states of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. McFarland is the first CU women's basketball player to be named to the academic all-district team since Randie Wirt was a second-team member in 2004.
RECORD NIGHT FROM ?3': Colorado entered its game at Kansas shooting just 30 percent from 3-point range for the season, but on a night when everything seemed to go right, the Buffaloes set a single-game team percentage record (minimum eight attempts) from downtown by hitting 6-of-8 (.750) against the Jayhawks. The previous best was a 69.2 percent performance (9-of-13) against Oklahoma on Mar. 8, 2001.
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 SCORING AND REBOUNDING NEARING TOP 10: Jackie McFarland leads Colorado in scoring by averaging 17.7 points per game. Her current average would place her among the to 10 in school history and she is also on pace to become the the eigth CU player to score 500 points in one season. She 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.
CU SINGLE SEASON SCORING AVERAGE LEADERS:
Name Season Average
1. Jamillah Lang (32 games) 1993-94 19.2
2. Lisa Van Goor (36 games) 1981-82 18.8
3. Tera Bjorklund (32 games) 2002-03 18.5
4. Lisa Van Goor (33 games) 1980-81 18.5
5. Tera Bjorklund (30 games) 2003-04 18.1
6. Jackie McFarland (25 games) 2005-06 17.7
7. Diane Hiemstra (28 games) 1983-84 17.6
8. Lisa Van Goor (29 games) 1982-83 17.0
9. Jeannie Raikes (26 games) 1976-77 16.9
10. Diane Hiemstra (29 games) 1982-83 16.7
McFarland's current average of 9.2 rebounds per game would be the eighth best single-season mark in team history if the season ended today and her current pace would leave her with 277 rebounds, the 10th best mark in team history (based on a guaranteed five more games).
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 has 12 double-doubles this season, tied for the fourth-best single-season mark in team history. She is just the third individual to achieve the feat as Lisa Van Goor (three times) and Erin Scholz hold the other four instances. McFarland, who currently ranks third in the Big 12 in double-doubles, has 17 for her career, sixth on CU's all-time list.
Speaking of doubles, McFarland has 17 career double-digit rebounding games, tying for seventh on CU's all time list.
CLIMBING THE ?3' LADDER: Jasmina Ilic had four 3-point field goals against Northern Colorado to move into an eighth place tie with La Shena Graham (1994-98) on CU's career 3-point charts with 84.
BLOCK PARTY: Jackie McFarland is 11th on CU's all time list for blocked shots with 57. She has 33 this season -- nine more than her freshman season total -- including a school-record tying eight in one game against South Dakota State on Dec. 28. Her 33 blocks are 18th on CU's single-season list and fourth-best single-season performance by a sophomore on the team charts.
GETTING TO THE LINE: Jackie McFarland has 131 free-throws made this season, ranking sixth on CU's single-season list. At her current pace of 5.24 free-throws made per game, she would break the school single-season record of 154 set by Bridget Turner in 1988-89. McFarland, shooting 80.9 from the line this season, has hit 36-of-39 (.923) over the last six games.
Colorado is the top free-throw shooting team in the Big 12 at 74.7 percent, a mark that ranks 22nd in the nation (through games of Feb. 13). CU has five players with 30 or more free throws made hitting 70 percent or better. Lauren Lubin leads the way at 82.1 percent followed by Yari Escalera (.819), McFarland (.809), Jasmina Ilic (.783) and Whitney Law (.740).
Through games of Feb 15, Colorado's 436 team free-throws made are more than six Big 12 teams have attempted for the season. The nearest team to CU in terms of free throws made is Baylor with 354. Colorado has attempted 584 free throws, 55 more than second place Oklahoma (529).
Colorado's season mark of 74.7 percent would rank the seventh-best in team history if the season ended today.
FREE THROWS MADE SINGLE SEASON:
Player (Season) FTM
1. Bridget Turner (1988-89) 154
2. Bridget Turner (1987-88) 153
3. Mandy Nightingale (2000-01) 150
4. Erin Scholz (1995-96) 148
5. Tera Bjorklund (2002-03) 134
6. Jackie McFarland (2005-06) 131
7. Debbie Descano (1979-80) 128
8. Shelley Sheetz (1992-93) 123
9. Tera Bjorklund (2003-04) 120
10. Mandy Nightingale (2001-02) 119
FT SUCCESS UNDER PRESSURE: Colorado's success at the free-throw line in 2005-06 increases as games draw closer to the final buzzer. The Buffaloes have shot 72.8 percent from the line in the first half (163-of-224) and that number grows by percentage, and quantity, in the second 20 minutes. CU has shot 76.3 percent (267-of-350) in the final 20 minutes of games this year.
CU's percentages climb even higher in the final minutes of games. The Buffs are hitting 77.3 percent in the final five minutes (116-of-150) and 78.4 percent (58-of-74) in the final two minutes. Jackie McFarland leads the way at 88.9 percent in the final five minutes (32-of-36) and 91.7 percent in the final two (11-of-12).
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.
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.
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.
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: With its win over Northern Colorado, CU wrapped up the non conference schedule with a 6-7 record, meaning the Buffaloes string of five straight seasons of .500 or better during non conference action has ended. It is 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's schedule has featured 14 games against 2005 NCAA or WNIT tournament teams. Oklahoma is the only ranked team CU has faced this year. The Sooners, who were ranked No. 16 in the coaches poll and No. 18 in the AP poll when the teams met in January, have climbed to No. 9 in both polls. Defending national champion Baylor, who the Buffs will face in Waco on Feb. 22, checks in at No. 11 in the coaches poll and No. 12 in the AP poll. Texas A&M, who was unranked when the teams met in January, is currently No. 21 in the AP poll and No. 23 in the coaches poll. Missouri is receiving votes in both polls while Texas and nonconference opponent South Florida is receiving votes in the coaches poll.
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 295-86 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.774). 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.