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Buffs Host Cal State Northridge Sunday

Nov 17, 2006

THE GAME: The University of Colorado will host Cal State University Northridge on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 1 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.

BROADCAST: All Colorado women's basketball regular and post season games are broadcast live on KKZN AM 760, Boulder's Progressive Talk station. Mark Johnson will handle play by play duties for Sunday's contest.

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: For the third-straight year Colorado has a 1-1 mark to begin the season. The Buffaloes claimed their 32nd season opening win in 33 tries with a 62-56 win over the University of San Francisco on Nov. 10 at the Coors Events Center in the third-earliest (by date) game in CU women's basketball history. Colorado then dropped a hard-fought 81-76 decision to No. 16/15 ranked Vanderbilt on Nov. 12.

Colorado played pretty much statistically even with its opponents on opening weekend. Points, rebounds, turnovers, assists and steals were virtually identical. The Buffaloes shot well on the weekend, hitting nearly 50 percent of their shots (53x107, .495), thanks mostly to CU's low-post combo of Kara Richards and Jackie McFarland who combined to make 27-of-39 (.692) for the weekend.

Colorado's chief struggle came at the free-throw line, shooting just 53.3 percent (24-of-45). CU led the Big 12 in free-throw percentage in 2005-06 at 74 percent.

Two points of emphasis are beginning to show in the early season for Colorado: ball movement and defense. The Buffs dished out 33 assists over the weekend (16.5 apg) and they were fairly evenly distributed throughout the team. Guards Susie Powers and Whitney Houston and Richards each had six while Jasmina Ilic, Bianca Smith and Candace Rucker each had four.

On the defensive side, Colorado forced 41 turnovers over the weekend against 40 of their own to come out on the plus side of turnover margin. CU also had 16 steals -- four each from McFarland and Powers. CU averaged a program-low 5.5 steals per game in 2005-06.

McFARLAND BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jackie McFarland was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Player of the Week by a media voting panel on Nov. 13 for the opening weekend of games.

This is McFarland's third career weekly honor from the Big 12 as she was twice named the league's Rookie of the Week during the 2004-05 season.

McFarland averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds and two steals while shooting 71 percent from the field (17-of-24) in games against San Francisco and No. 16/15 ranked Vanderbilt over the weekend.

McFarland had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 12 rebounds in the season-opening 62-56 win over San Francisco. She scored a game-high 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds along with two assists and three steals against No. 16/15 Vanderbilt. McFarland recorded double-doubles in both games for the 20th and 21st of her career. She had nine points ? a 3-pointer and two conventional 3-point plays ? in the final minute against VU as Colorado nearly erased a 17-point second half deficit.

THE COACH: Kathy McConnell-Miller is in her second season as Colorado's head coach. She was 9-21 in her first season with the Buffaloes and has an overall head coaching record of 101-110.

ABOUT THE MATADORS: Cal State Northridge is currently 1-1 on the season and will play at San Jose State on Friday, Nov. 17, before heading to Boulder for Sunday's contest. The Matadors opened the 2006-07 circuit by dropping a 95-77 decision to the University of San Diego at home on Nov. 10. Cal State Northridge rebounded with a 77-67 home win over Portland State on Nov. 12.

Cal State Northridge is led by senior forward Ofa Tulikihihifo (pronounced: TOO-lick-ee-HE-HE-foh) who is coming off a triple-double performance against Portland State, registering 13 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. She earned Big West Player of the Week honors last Monday as she averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the opening weekend. She enters the weekend needing 132 points to become the Matadors all-time leading scorer.

Cal State Northridge shot 50 percent during opening weekend (63-of-126) and averaged 77 points per game. Krisztina Fuleki averaged 15.5 points off the bench for the Matadors while Jamie McCaa averaged 11.5 points and six rebounds.

SERIES RECORDS: Sunday will mark the first ever meeting between Colorado and Cal State Northridge. The Buffaloes are 12-5 against teams from the Big West Conference, including wins against Pacific (84-57) and Cal State Fullerton (100-71) at home last season. Cal State Northridge is 0-3 lifetime against the Big 12, with single losses to Kansas, Nebraska and Texas A&M. The Matadors are also 0-4 in the state of Colorado.

Kathy McConnell-Miller has never faced Cal State Northridge in her head coaching career.

ON THIS DATE: Colorado is 5-1 all-time on Nov. 19 and 4-0 at home. The Buffs most recent game played on Nov. 19 was the 2004-05 season opener, as then-sophomore Anna Nedovic scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead CU past Loyola Marymount, 75-58, at the Nugget Classic in Reno, Nev. Also on this date, CU defeated Texas A&M 74-68 in the semifinals of the 1995 Preseason WNIT, which the Buffs would go on to win two days later with a 73-71 win at Arkansas. On Nov. 19, 1983, the Buffs upset No. 16 ranked Arizona State, 95-73, in Ceal Barry's second game as CU head coach.

MILESTONE WINS APPROACHING: Four wins will give Colorado 600 as a program (596-354) and three wins at the Coors Events Center will give the Buffs 300 in the facility (297-88).

CLIMBING THE 3-POINT LADDER: Jasmina Ilic needs three 3-point field goals to reach 100 in her career, which would make her the seventh Buff to hit the century mark. Against Vanderbilt she hit two 3-pointers to pass Annan Wilson (1986-90) for seventh on CU's all-time list and currently sits at 97. She needs 12 more to reach Alexis Felts (1994-98) who is in sixth with 109.

Anna Nedovic needs three 3-point field goals to reach 50. She has a shot at reaching the career top 10, needing 27 3-pointers which would be a career season high.

CLOSING IN ON 1,000 POINTS: Jasmina Ilic and Jackie McFarland are both well on pace to reach the 1,000 point mark this season and would become the 19th and 20th Buffs to reach that milestone. They would be the first pair of teammates to hit the mark in the same season since Britt Hartshorn, Jenny Roulier and Mandy Nightingale hit 1,000 within two weeks of each other in November 2001. McFarland needs 169 points, which by using her season average of 22 ppg, she would approach the mark in about eight games (Dec. 9, vs. Oregon). Ilic needs 263 points, which by using her junior season average of 14.8 ppg, she would reach around game 19 (Jan. 28, at Missouri).

MORE NUMBERS FOR McFARLAND: Against Cal State Northridge, Jackie McFarland will be looking for her third-straight double-double to begin the season, which would tie a school record. McFarland started the 2005-06 season with three straight double-doubles as did CU's all-time leading scorer Lisa VanGoor, who did it in 1982-83.

McFarland's 21 career double-doubles rank fourth on the CU charts and needs just one more to tie Sandy Bean (1978-82) for third. Her 21 double-digit rebounding games ties Britt Hartshorn (1998-02) for sixth on CU's all-time list.

McFarland needs just 31 rebounds for 500 in her career and 178 rebounds would put her in the career top 10. She had 277 rebounds as a sophomore.

McFarland is already ninth on CU's career list for blocked shots with 67. She needs 33 to reach 100 and would be just the sixth Buff to reach the century mark.

COME FROM BEHIND WIN BREAKS LONG DROUGHT: CU's 62-56 win over San Francisco broke a 26-game losing streak when the Buffaloes trailed at halftime dating back to a 56-51 win at Missouri on Jan. 18, 2005. USF led 30-26 at the break, but the Buffs outscored the Dons 36-26 in the second half.

STILL IN NEED OF A WIN OVER A RANKED TEAM: After its competitive 81-76 loss to No. 16/15 Vanderbilt, Colorado is still searching for its first win over a ranked team in 17 tries dating back to January of 2004. The Buffaloes last win over a ranked opponent was a 69-59 decision at No. 24 Baylor on Jan. 7, 2004. CU was ranked No. 14 at the time. The last time CU was unranked and defeated a ranked opponent was in the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament when the Buffaloes knocked off No. 12 North Carolina 86-67. CU will likely get its next shot at a ranked opponent at home on Dec. 2 against Southern California. The Trojans are currently ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press poll and No. 20 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.

BUFFS IN OPENERS: Colorado is 28-5 (.844) all-time in season openers and a whopping 32-1(.970) all-time in home openers. The Buffs' lone loss in a season-opening home game was a 77-63 setback to Michigan on Nov. 21, 1999. CU has won seven straight season debuts and 20 of its last 21 with the lone loss in that span coming at Denver on Nov. 19, 1999.

NOVEMBER SUCCESS: Fast starts in November are common for Colorado. The Buffaloes are 90-26 (.775) all-time in the month of November and a stunning 73-12 (.859) at the Coors Events Center. CU is 17-5 at home in November since 2000.

EARLY START: The Nov. 10 start against USF was the third earliest start for the Buffs and the second earliest home game in their 33-year history. CU's earliest start came in season No. 2 as the Buffs dropped an 81-80 decision at Nebraska on Nov. 6, 1976. CU's earliest start at the Coors Events Center is much more recent as the Buffs hosted Oral Roberts in a preseason WNIT game on Nov. 9, 2001, a 78-49 CU win.

BUFFS PICKED 11TH: CU was picked to finish 11th in the annual Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll. The Buffaloes received 26 points, an improvement from the 14 points received a year ago when the CU was picked to finish last. CU was 9-21 overall in 2005-06 and finished 11th in the Big 12 race with a 3-13 mark.

Defending league champion Oklahoma was picked to repeat its title receiving all 11 possible first place votes for a total of 121 points. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. Big 12 Southern Division teams dominated the upper half of the poll, taking the top four spots. Texas A&M was picked second with 107 points, followed by Texas (101) and Baylor (94).

Iowa State came in fifth with 68 points, just edging out Nebraska which was picked sixth with 66. Kansas State and Texas Tech tied for seventh with 57 points followed by Missouri (43), Kansas (36), CU (26) and Oklahoma State (16).

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Colorado once again faces a tough schedule with no less than 17 games against 2006 NCAA or WNIT tournament teams. The Buffaloes will host perennial NCAA women's powers Southern California and Vanderbilt during the non-conference season as well as region rival Colorado State. Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma come to Boulder this year out of the Big 12 South along with the Buffs' usual Big 12 North opponents.

HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 297-88 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.771). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CECC in 18 of the previous 28 years including five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94). At 7-9 in 2005-06, CU finished its home season with a below .500 mark for just the third time in the 28-year history of the CECC.

BUFFS ON TV: Colorado's schedule features nine games that will be televised either regionally or nationally by Fox Sports Net. Two games are part of the Big 12's national package with FSN: Sunday, Jan. 28, at Missouri and Saturday, Feb. 10, at home against Nebraska. FSN Rocky Mountain will televise six CU home games beginning with the regular season opener against San Francisco on Friday, Nov. 10. FSN Midwest will televise CU's game at Kansas State on Wed., Feb. 14, which could potentially be picked up by FSN Rocky Mountain as well.

UP NEXT: Colorado will venture to the road for the first time this season as the Buffaloes will take on the University of Wyoming on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. in Laramie.