Saturday Matinee Matches Buffs Against USC
THE GAME: The University of Colorado will wrap up its four-game home stand by hosting the University of Southern California on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 2 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. Live video streaming of Saturday's battle will be available to Stampede Online subscribers at CUBuffs.com.
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 5-2 and off to its best start since 2003-04 when the Buffaloes started 6-1 through seven games. The 2003-04 season also marks CU's last appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Colorado has won its last three, the first three-game winning streak since the 2004-05 season, when CU put together five-straight wins to close out nonconference play. The Buffaloes are more than half way to their win total of 2005-06 (9-21).
Junior forward Jackie McFarland has had a fantastic start to the season. She is averaging 21.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game while shooting a Big 12 Conference best 70 percent from the field (51-of-73). 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 tied a league-best with five this season. 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 11 points per game and has a team-best 10 3-point field goals. She has scored in double-digits in five of seven games and needs just three points to reach 800 for her career. Senior guard Susie Powers has dished out 16 assists and is averaging 3.6 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 6.6 points per game, including seven 3-point field goals. Freshman Whitney Houston has started the last three games including the Coors Classic games where she averaged 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 5.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
Forward Aija Putnina has moved into the starting lineup with the foot injury to Kara Richards (see note below) and has made an immediate impact. She recorded back-to-back double-doubles in at the Coors Classic, 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 then nearly missed a third double-double by registering eight points and a career-high 14 rebounds against Colorado State. Her three-straight games of double-digits in rebounds are the most since Scholz had a four-game streak in 1993-94 and it's only the fourth time in school history it has happened. Lisa VanGoor had a five-game and six-game streak in 1980-81.
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 14-23 with the Buffaloes and has an overall head coaching record of 105-111.
ABOUT THE TROJANS: USC is 2-3 overall and in search of its first road victory of the season as the Trojans have dropped their first two away from home. USC was ranked No. 22 by both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN preseason polls and continue to receive votes in the most recent AP poll. The Trojans are coming off a 72-65 home loss to the University of Nebraska.
USC is led by senior guard Shay Murphy, who recently became the 20th player in Trojans history to reach 1,000 career points. Murphy is averaging 17.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. She had 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds in the loss to Nebraska. Senior Chloe Kerr averages 17.4 points and 8.0 rebounds in the post for the Trojans. USC has been a good rebounding club through five games, averaging 40.8 per contest and holding a plus-7.4 rebound margin. Turnovers have been costly, however, as the Trojans have given up nearly 22 per game.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the third meeting between Colorado and USC, with the Buffaloes winning both prior contests. CU edged the Trojans, 69-67, in their last meeting on Dec. 20, 2003 in Los Angeles and recorded a 93-86 decision one year earlier in Boulder.
Kathy McConnell-Miller has never faced Southern California as a head coach.
ON THIS DATE: Colorado is 6-3 all-time in games played on Dec. 2, including a 4-0 mark at home. CU's last Dec. 2 game was a 92-83 home win over the University of Iowa in 2001.
MILESTONE WINS: With a 56-51 win over Colorado State, CU won its 600th women's basketball game and now stands 600-355 in 32-plus seasons. CU's overall .628 winning percentage ranks fourth all-time among Big 12 Conference teams, trailing only Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas State.
With its 78-65 win over Charlotte in the Coors Classic, Colorado won its 300th game at the Coors Events Conference Center, and now stands at 301-88 (.774) all-time at the facility.
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 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 65 points as she is 25th on CU's all-time scoring list with 935 points. Using her season average of 21.1 ppg, she would reach the mark in about four games (Dec. 13 at South Dakota State). Ilic needs 203 points, which by using her season average of 11.0 ppg, she would reach around the game at Iowa State University on Feb. 17.
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 seven games, which is tied for the lead in the Big 12.
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 519 in her career and needs 128 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.
DECEMBER SUCCESS: December has generally been good to Colorado as the Buffaloes prepare for league competition at the turn of the calendar. CU is 110-50 (.688) all-time in the month of December including a solid 56-10 mark at the Coors Events Center. CU is 28-9 in December 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 301-88 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 28 years including five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94). The Buffaloes, 5-1 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 will begin its longest road trip of the season by taking a west coast swing to Cal State University Fullerton on Thursday, Dec. 7, and to play the University of Oregon at the Rose Garden in Portland on Saturday, Dec. 9, in the Pape Jam.