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Buffs To Make First Appearance In State Of South Dakota

Dec 12, 2006

THE GAME: The University of Colorado will travel to the state of South Dakota for the first time in team history as the Buffaloes face South Dakota State University on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. MST at Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D.

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 internet audio can be accessed through Yahoo! Sports.

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 5-5 and looking to shrug off a three-game slide after its 70-60 setback against Oregon on Dec. 9. The Buffs are more than half way to their win total for the 2005-06 season (9-21).

Junior forward Jackie McFarland has had a fantastic start to the season. She dipped under 20 points per game for the first time this year after the Oregon game, but is still averaging a program-best 19.8 points and 10.7 rebounds through the first 10 games of the season. She is the first player in school history to average 20 points-10 rebounds through a season's first nine contests. McFarland is shooting 65.7 percent from the floor (69-of-105), a mark that ranks fifth in NCAA Division I and tops the Big 12 Conference. She needs just 15 points to become the 20th player in school history to reach 1,000 points and just the 12th with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

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 seven on the season, ranking second in the Big 12. 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 13 points per game and has a team-best 13 steals and 14 3-point field goals. She has scored in double-digits in eight of 10 games and has reached the 20 point mark in two of the last three. Senior guard Susie Powers has dished out 21 assists and is averaging 3.0 points over the first 10 games.

Four freshman Buffs are contributing significant minutes, just a handful of games into their collegiate careers. Redshirt freshman guard Bianca Smith has made five starts and is averaging 6.9 points per game, including 14 3-point field goals. Smith made 7-of-12 3-pointers on the recent west coast swing and ranks 10th in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (.424).

Freshman Whitney Houston has started four of the last six games including the Coors Classic contests 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 fourth among freshmen in the Big 12, and 12th overall, with 3.2 assists per game. Fellow Memphis, Tenn., native Candace Rucker made her first career start against Cal State Fullerton and is averaging 4.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.

Forward Aija Putnina moved into the starting lineup with the foot injury to Kara Richards (see note below) and has made an immediate impact. In her four starts prior to the Cal State Fullerton game, where her minutes were limited due to a foot injury of her own, she averaged 10.5 points, a team-best 13.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Putnina will likely miss the South Dakota State game due to a stress reaction on the third metatarsal of her left foot. The injury is not a fracture, rather a "hot spot" on the bone, and with just one game in the next three weeks for the Buffaloes, with the rest she could return healthy for the games following the Christmas holiday break.

Prior to the injury, she had four straight-double-digit rebounding games, including back-to-back career-high 14-board outputs against Colorado State and USC. Putnina is the first freshman to record four-straight games with 10 or more rebounds since Erin Scholz had four in a row in 1993-94. Only all-time leading scorer Lisa VanGoor had longer streaks as a freshman, compiling separate streaks of five and six games during her maiden season in 1980-81.

She recorded back-to-back double-doubles 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.

Colorado will be looking for just its fifth win in its last 21 road games dating back to the beginning of the 2004-05 season.

RICHARDS OUT 1-TO-3 WEEKS WITH FOOT FRACTURE: Center Kara Richards will miss the next 1-to-3 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).

RICHARDS GRANTED MEDICAL HARDSHIP: Center Kara Richards received some good news on Dec. 2 as the Big 12 Conference office granted her a medical hardship for missing the 2005-06 season. Richards season was lost after suffering a Jones fracture ? a fracture to the fifth metatarsal ? in her left foot on Nov. 15, 2005, just three day's before CU's season opening win over Cal State Fullerton. The medical hardship means she returns to sophomore standing for the 2006-07 season and will have two more years of eligibility remaining.

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 14-26 with the Buffaloes and has an overall head coaching record of 105-114.

ABOUT THE JACKRABBITS: South Dakota State is 7-2 overall and riding a three-game winning streak. The Jackrabbits are a perfect 4-0 at home including wins over Southern California (67-63 on Nov. 17) and Southern Illinois (72-59 on Dec. 9).

Senior forward Megan Vogel tops the Jackrabbits, averaging 17.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game wile shooting a solid 59.2 percent from the field (45-of-76). Vogel, the seventh-leading scorer in SDSU history, has made 15 of her first 30 shots from 3-point range this season. Junior guard Andrea Verdegan is second on the Jacks' scoring charts at 7.9 points per contest and leads the team in assists at 2.9 per game.

The Jackrabbits have won with defense. SDSU has given up just 57.3 points per game and just 49.3 points per contest over their current three-game win streak. Opponents have shot just 35 percent from the field this season against the Jackrabbits (182-of-518).

SDSU is in its third year of a four-year transition from NCAA Division II to Division I. The Jackrabbits are playing an Independent schedule for the third-straight season, but will become a full member of the Mid-Continent Conference for the 2008-09 campaign.

LEGENDARY CONNECTION: Colorado will be playing its first game in the state of South Dakota, but the Buffaloes have a very significant connection to the state. CU all-time leading scorer and Colorado Athletic Hall of Famer Lisa Van Goor (1980-85) hails from Yankton, S.D., located in the southeast corner of the state, on the Nebraska border. Van Goor is the only CU basketball player -- male or female -- to score 2,000 career points (2.067). She is also CU's all-time leader in rebounds (1,145), field goals made (862) and blocked shots (289). Van Goor is currently CU's Director of Special Events.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the second meeting between Colorado and South Dakota State with the Buffaloes claiming the only prior meeting, 64-50, in Boulder on Dec. 28, 2005. The two teams did meet in an exhibition contest prior to the start of the 2003-04 season while the Jackrabbits were still at the NCAA Division II level, an 82-66 CU win in Boulder.

Kathy McConnell-Miller is 1-0 as a head coach against South Dakota State.

ON THIS DATE: Colorado is 2-1 all-time on Dec. 13, with its only loss coming on the road in a 67-63 setback to the University of Wyoming in 1989.

MILESTONE WINS: With a 56-51 win over Colorado State, CU won its 600th women's basketball game and now stands 600-358 in 32-plus seasons. CU's overall .626 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 301-89 (.772) all-time at the facility.

CLIMBING THE 3-POINT LADDER: Jasmina Ilic hit one 3-point field goal against Oregon to move her career total to 108 which is seventh on CU's all-time list. She needs one more to reach Alexis Felts (1994-98) who is in sixth with 109.

Anna Nedovic made her first 3-point field goal of the year in the Oregon game, moving her career total to 48 which ranks 15th on CU's all-time chart.

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 20th and 21st 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 could reach the milestone against SDSU as she

needs just 15 points. She currently ranks 20th on CU's all-time list with 985.

By reaching the scoring milestone, McFarland would also become just the 12th Buff to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

Ilic needs 150 points, which by using her season average of 13.0 ppg, she would reach around the game against Texas Tech on Feb. 3.

MORE NUMBERS FOR McFARLAND: Jackie 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 seven of 10 games, which ranks second in the Big 12.

McFarland's 26 career double-doubles are third on the CU charts and her 26 double-digit rebounding games tie Sandy Bean (1978-82) for fourth on the Buffs' 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 is currently 15th on the career list with 552 and needs 95 to move into CU's Top 10. She is ninth on CU's career list for blocked shots with 70. McFarland needs 30 to reach 100 and would be just the sixth Buff to reach the century mark. She is 12th on CU's career list with 281 free-throws made.

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: Despite three straight losses to begin the 12th month of 2006, December has generally been good to Colorado as the Buffaloes prepare for league competition at the turn of the calendar. CU is 110-53 (.675) all-time in the month of December including a solid 56-11 mark at the Coors Events Center. CU is 28-12 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 301-89 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.772). 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, 5-2 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 be off for the next two weeks as the players gear up for finals Dec. 16-21 and the holiday break to follow. The Buffaloes will return to action on Thursday, Dec. 28, against Cal State Bakersfield at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.