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Buffaloes Open Big 12 Season By Hosting Missouri Wednesday

Jan 2, 2007

THE GAME: The University of Colorado opens its 2007 Big 12 Conference schedule by hosting the University of Missouri on Wednesday, Jan. 3, at 8 p.m. MST 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 internet audio can be accessed through Yahoo! Sports. Live video streaming of Wednesday's battle will be available to Stampede Online subscribers at

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado improved to 6-6 overall as the Buffaloes closed out their nonconference schedule with a 76-61 win over Cal State University Bakersfield on Dec. 28, snapping a four-game losing streak in the process. With six wins, CU is two-thirds the way to its win total for the 2005-06 season (9-21).

Junior forward Jackie McFarland has had a fantastic start to the season. She is averaging 19.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, both marks ranking second in the Big 12 Conference. McFarland entered the last week of December ranking fourth in NCAA Division I in field-goal percentage (66.4 percent) and with her team season-best 9-of-10 performance against Cal State Bakersfield, she has actually improved to 68.3 percent (84-of-123), tops in the Big 12. At South Dakota State she became the 20th player in school history to score 1,000 career points and also became just the 12th to register 1,000 points and 500 career 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 13.2 points per game and has a team-best 16 steals and 18 3-point field goals. Her scoring has increased of late, averaging 16.2 points over the last five outings. Senior guard Susie Powers has dished out 28 assists and is averaging 3.3 points over the first 12 games.

Sophomore center Kara Richards returned to the CU lineup against Cal State Bakersfield after missing the previous seven games with a fracture in the fourth metatarsal of her left foot. She scored 10 points on 5-of-8 from the field with four rebounds, two blocks and two assists against the Roadurnners. She has averaged 9.0 points and 4.2 rebounds through five games and is shooting 58.1 percent from the field (18-of-31). The fracture was 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

Colorado is receiving strong support from its freshman class. Redshirt freshman guard Bianca Smith has made six starts and is averaging 6.9 points per game, including 18 3-point field goals. Smith ranks eigth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (.409) and has made 11 of her last 23 (.478).

Freshman Whitney Houston has started five of the last eight 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 11th overall, with 3.27 assists per game. Fellow Memphis, Tenn., native Candace Rucker made her first career start against Cal State Fullerton and is averaging 3.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

Forward Aija Putnina returned to the lineup against Cal State Bakersfield after missing two games, and most of a third, with a stress reaction on the third metatarsal of her left foot. The injury was not a fracture, rather a "hot spot" on the bone. She tallied four rebounds, one block, one steal and one assist against the Roadrunners in 10 minutes off the bench.

Prior to her injury, she had moved into the starting lineup with the foot injury to Richards and made an immediate impact. In her four starts she averaged 10.5 points, a team-best 13.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

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.

HOUSTON GAME CANCELLED: CU's game against the University of Houston that was scheduled for Dec. 30, was cancelled when the Cougars opted not to travel to Boulder for the game due to the winter weather conditions that had spread across the Midwest that weekend. The game is not expected to be rescheduled this season.

LUBIN LEAVES BUFFALOES: Junior guard Lauren Lubin has decided to leave the CU women's basketball program, but will remain at the university as a student, head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller announced on Dec. 27.

Lubin, who earned a pair of letters with the Buffaloes, averaged 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds over 49 career games. She played in five contests for the Buffaloes this winter, recording three steals and two rebounds. Lubin originally walked on in 2004-05 as a freshman, where she played in 16 games before missing the last half of the season with mononucleosis. Lubin earned a scholarship for the 2005-06 campaign, averaging 3.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore, including a team-best 42.9 percent from 3-point range (12-of-28).

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 15-27 with the Buffaloes and has an overall head coaching record of 106-115.

ABOUT THE TIGERS: Missouri is off to a program-best 12-1 record in 2006-07 and has received votes in both the Associated Press and WBCA/USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls. The Tigers' lone loss came at Stanford University, 75-60, on Nov. 21. MU has won nine-straight since, averaging 79.2 points per game during that span.

The Tigers are a well balanced team with four players averaging double-figures. Six Tigers, including the top four scorers, have 23 or more assists through 13 games. Senior post EeTisha Riddle leads the way by averaging 15.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. She also shoots 54.5 percent from the field (83-of-154) and has a team-high 17 blocked shots. Sophomore guard Alyssa Hollins averages 13.2 points per outing and has a team-best 29 3-point field goals. She is shooting 48 percent from downtown (29-of-60) leading a Tigers' squad that is strong overall from beyond the arc, ranking third in the Big 12 in both 3-point field goals made (6.0 3pg) and percentage (.384). Senior guard Tiffany Brooks averages 12.8 points and 2.6 assists for the Tigers while senior forward Carlynn Savant averages 12.4 points and ranks second on the squad with 21 3-point field goals.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 60th meeting between Colorado and Missouri, breaking a tie with Nebraska for the most-played series in Buffaloes history. CU holds a 34-25 advantage over Missouri, but the Tigers have won the last three, including a 72-57 decision in Boulder on Feb. 18, 2006, in the last meeting between the teams. CU is 18-7 against the Tigers in Boulder, but will be looking for its first win at the Coors Events Center against Missouri since a 71-54 victory on Jan. 18, 2004.

Kathy McConnell-Miller is 0-3 in her career as a head coach against Missouri, 0-2 while at Colorado.

HEY, WE PLAYED THEM TOO: Colorado and Missouri have one common opponent, South Dakota State, from the preseason schedule. The Buffaloes fell to the Jackrabbits, 80-58, in Brookings, S.D., on Dec. 13. Missouri defeated SDSU at home, 79-62, four nights later.

BIG 12 OPENERS: Colorado is 4-6 in Big 12 Conference openers and 18-14 overall in conference openers. The Buffaloes have lost two straight Big 12 openers overall and their last three Big 12 home openers. CU is also 4-6 overall in Big 12 home openers.

ON THIS DATE: Colorado is 4-1 all time on Jan. 3, and 3-1 at home. One of the more significant wins in team history on Jan. 3 came during the 1992-93 season when the No. 10 ranked Buffaloes knocked off the No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes, 72-70, at the Sun & Fun Classic in Miami.

MILESTONE WINS: With a 56-51 win over Colorado State, CU won its 600th women's basketball game and now stands 601-359 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 302-89 (.772) all-time at the facility.

CLIMBING THE 3-POINT LADDER: Jasmina Ilic hit a season-high four 3-point field goals against South Dakota State to move into sole possession of sixth place on CU's all-time list with 112.

Anna Nedovic had a pair of 3-point field goals against Cal State Bakersfield after sinking just two in the previous 10 games. The pair of treys pushed her career total to 51, tying her with former teammate Emily Waner (2003-04) for 13th on CU's all-time chart.

McFARLAND REACHES 1,000, ILIC CLOSING IN: Jackie McFarland became the 20th player in CU history to reach 1,000 career points during the loss at South Dakota State on Dec. 13. McFarland hit the milestone on a second-half layup and now stands at 1,024 points through 69 career games (14.8 ppg). McFarland is also just the 12th Buff to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

Jasmina Ilic needs 122 points to reach 1,000, which by using her season average of 13.2 ppg, she would reach around the game against Kansas on Feb. 6.

Ilic and McFarland 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.

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 12 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 13th on the career list with 570 and needs 77 to move into CU's Top 10. She is ninth on CU's career list for blocked shots with 75. McFarland needs 25 to reach 100 and would be just the sixth Buff to reach the century mark. She is 12th on CU's career list with 290 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.

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 302-89 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, 6-2 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 receive its Big 12 bye this weekend and will return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 10, against Iowa State University at 8 p.m. at the CECC.