Buffs To Lock Horns With Rams Wednesday Night
THE GAME: The University of Colorado will host Colorado State University on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 7 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. Mike Rice will handle play by play duties and is joined by USA Basketball's Carol Callan with the color commentary. The CU Journalism school is planning to televise the game live on campus cable. Live video streaming of Wednesday's battle will be available to Stampede Online subscribers at CUBuffs.com.
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 4-2 and off to its best start since 2003-04 when the Buffaloes started 5-1 through six games. The 2003-04 season also marks CU's last appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Colorado won both of its Coors Classic Tournament games last weekend defeating the University of Nevada, 80-60, and the University of Charlotte, 78-65. It's the first time the Buffaloes have won back-to-back games since the 2004-05 season, when CU put together five-straight wins to close out nonconference play. A win against Colorado State on Wednesday would put CU more than half way to its 2005-06 season total of nine (9-21).
Junior forward Jackie McFarland has had a fantastic start to the season. She is averaging 21.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game -- both marks rank second in the Big 12 Conference -- while shooting a league-best 69 percent from the field (45-of-65). She was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the season's opening weekend (Nov. 13) and named to the Coors Classic All-Tournament Team. She opened the season with three-straight double-doubles and has a league-best five through six games. It is only the third time in CU history that a player has began the season with three-straight double-doubles, and McFarland is two of those instances (2005-06). The only other player to start a season with three straight is CU's all-time leading scorer Lisa VanGoor who did it in 1982-83.
Senior guard/forward Jasmina Ilic is second on the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game and has a team-best 10 3-point field goals. She is coming off consecutive 14-point performances at the Coors Classic and had one of her best rebounding weekends as a Buff, averaging 4.5 boards for the two games. Senior guard Susie Powers has dished out 13 assists and is averaging 3.3 points over the first six games.
Four freshman Buffs are contributing significant minutes, just a handful of games into their collegiate careers. Redshirt freshman guard Bianca Smith has made four starts and is averaging 6.5 points per game, including five 3-point field goals. Freshman Whitney Houston started both of the Coors Classic games and responded by averaging 11.5 points on 73 percent shooting (8-of-11) and four assists. She tied a team season-high with six assists against Charlotte and ranks third among freshmen in the Big 12 with 3.0 assists per game. Fellow Memphis, Tenn., native Candace Rucker has been one of the first players off the bench for Colorado and is averaging 5.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
Forward Aija Putnina has moved into the starting lineup with the foot injury to Kara Richards (see note below) and had a memorable weekend at the Coors Classic. She recorded double-doubles in both games, becoming the first freshman to achieve that feat in back-to-back games since Sabrina Scott did it at the end of the 1999-2000 season and only the fourth time overall since 1993-94 when Erin Scholz did it twice. Putnina had 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against Nevada and 14 points and 10 rebounds against Charlotte, earning Coors Classic All-Tournament team honors.
RICHARDS OUT 4-TO-6 WEEKS WITH FOOT FRACTURE: Center Kara Richards will miss the next 4-to-6 weeks after being diagnosed with a fracture to the fourth metatarsal of her left foot on Nov. 23. The fracture is on the same foot, but a different bone than the injury that forced her to miss the 2005-06 campaign. Richards suffered a Jones Fracture -- an injury to the fifth metatarsal -- three days before the 2005-06 season opener. Unlike last season, her injury will not require surgery or even a cast. Richards ranked third on the team in scoring at 8.8 points per contest through three games and was shooting 56.5 percent from the field (13-of-23).
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 and in her eighth season at the helm of an NCAA Division I program. She is 13-23 with the Buffaloes and has an overall head coaching record of 104-111.
ABOUT THE RAMS: Colorado State is 2-3 overall, coming off a runner-up finish in its own Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational. The Rams defeated the University of Idaho, 88-68, on Nov. 24 before falling to Western Carolina University, 64-60, on Nov. 25. One of CSU's losses came at the University of San Francisco, 62-51, on Nov. 17, a team the Buffaloes defeated in their season opener, 62-56 on Nov. 10. The Rams are 0-2 away from Fort Collins this season and have lost six straight on the road dating back to a 68-55 win at San Diego State on Feb. 4, 2006.
CSU's back court play has been solid early on as their starting three-guard set has combined for 51 points per game or 73.4 percent of the Rams' offense. Freshman guard Kelly Jo Mullaney leads the Rams in scoring at 19.4 points per game and is complemented by senior Molly Nohr at 16.4 points per game and junior Sara Hunter at 15.2 per contest. Nohr is second on the team in rebounds (7.2 rpg) and leads CSU in assists (23) and steals (10). Senior center Marilyn Moulton leads the Rams in rebounds with 10.2 per game.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 38th meeting between Colorado and Colorado State, the second-most played non-conference series for the Buffaloes in team history (Wyoming-41). CU holds a 27-10 series lead over the Rams and is 18-2 all-time against CSU in Boulder. CSU won last season's meeting in Fort Collins, 86-83, but the Buffaloes have won the last two in Boulder including a 83-77 decision on Dec. 8, 2004. CSU has a slight 4-3 edge since the two teams resumed their yearly rivalry in 1999.
Kathy McConnell-Miller is 1-2 against Colorado State has a head coach, including an 0-1 mark with CU.
COLORADO AND COLORADO STATE, LAST 10 GAMES:
Date Result Date Result
11/30/05 (A) L, 83-86 12/6/00 (H) L, 70-72
12/8/04 (H) W, 83-77 12/1/99 (A) L, 67-73
12/3/03 (A) W, 81-74 11/30/93 (H) W, 75-55
12/12/02 (H) W, 65-51 12/10/92 (A) W, 72-63
11/28/01 (A) L, 69-81 11/26/91 (H) W, 77-50
FAMILIAR FACES: Colorado State's colors are green and gold, but the coaching staff has a black and gold history. CSU head coach Jen (Tubergen) Warden played for the Buffaloes on their 1989 Big Eight Championship team and was a CU assistant under Ceal Barry from 1992-02. Warden also has two assistant coaches on her staff with recent CU ties. Second-year assistant Randie Wirt was a four-year letterwinner for the Buffs from 2001-04 and first-year assistant Linda Lappe was also a four-year letterwinner from 1999-03.
CU's Kathy McConnell-Miller coached against Warden as Western Athletic Conference rivals while McConnell-Miller was at Tulsa and Warden was at Boise State. McConnell-Miller held a 4-2 edge in meetings between those two teams.
CU sophomore Hannah Skildum will also meet up with some former AAU rivals from the land of 10,000 Lakes. Skildum, a native of North Oaks, Minn., played with the North Tartan AAU club matching up against CSU's Minneapolis area natives, Kelly Jo Mullaney, Emily Neal and Kelly Finley, who all played for the Minnesota Metro Stars.
ON THIS DATE: Colorado is 10-1 all time in games played on Nov. 29, including a 7-0 mark at home. CU's last Nov. 29 game was a 74-63 win over California in the championship game of the 2003 Coors Classic. CU's only loss on Nov. 29 came against at Texas Tech -- then of the old Southwest Conference -- 69-58, in 1985.
MILESTONE WIN ARRIVED, ONE TO COME: With its 78-65 win over Charlotte in the Coors Classic, Colorado won its 300th game at the Coors Events Conference Center, improving to 300-88 (.773) all-time at the facility.
One more win will give the Buffaloes 600 in this the 33rd year of varsity women's basketball at Colorado. The Buffs enter Wednesday's game at 599-355 (.628) all-time.
CLIMBING THE 3-POINT LADDER: Jasmina Ilic hit three 3-point fields goals at the Coors Classic to move her career total to 104 which is seventh on CU's all-time list. She needs five 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 84 points as she is 25th on CU's all-time scoring list with 916 points. Using her season average of 21.5 ppg, she would reach the mark in about four games (Dec. 9, vs. Oregon). Ilic needs 205 points, which by using her season average of 12.5 ppg, she would reach around the game at the University of Kansas on Feb. 6.
MORE NUMBERS FOR McFARLAND: McFarland began the season with three-straight double-doubles, equalling her output from the 2005-06 season. The only other player in CU history to record three-straight double-doubles to open a season is CU's all-time leading scorer Lisa VanGoor, who did it in 1982-83. She now has double-doubles in five of six games, which leads the Big 12 Conference.
McFarland's 24 career double-doubles are third on the CU charts and her 24 double-digit rebounding games rank fifth on CU's all-time list.
McFarland became the 17th player in CU history to reach 500 rebounds, surpassing the mark during the win over Nevada on Nov. 24. She has 512 in her career and needs 135 to move into CU's Top 10 list. She is ninth on CU's career list for blocked shots with 69. McFarland needs 31 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.
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 94-27 (.777) all-time in the month of November and a stunning 77-12 (.865) at the Coors Events Center. CU is 20-5 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 300-88 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.773). 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). The Buffaloes, 4-1 at home this season, have only three seasons of sub-.500 play in the 28 years of the Coors Events Center.
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 hosts Southern California on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.