Buffs Face First Road Test Of 2007 Saturday In Austin
THE GAME: The University of Colorado plays its first road Big 12 Conference game of the season -- and begins a stretch of four out of five away from Boulder -- as the Buffaloes travel to take on the No. 23 ranked University of Texas Longhorns on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m. MST, at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.
BROADCAST: Saturday's game will be broadcast live in its entirety on KVCU AM 1190. The game will also be joined in progress, following the CU-Texas A&M men's game (5 p.m. tip in Boulder), on KKZN AM 760. 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 8-6 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12 for the first time since the 1996-97 season when the Buffaloes began the inaugural Big 12 campaign 3-0. CU has won three-straight overall and has its first two-game winning streak in conference play since back-to-back home wins over Oklahoma State and Kansas on Feb. 21-24, 2004. The Buffaloes need just one win to equal both their overall and Big 12 win totals from the 2005-06 season (9-21, 3-13 Big 12). Colorado will be looking for just its fifth win in its last 22 road games dating back to the beginning of the 2004-05 season.
Junior forward Jackie McFarland is living up to her All-Big 12 second team status in 2006, and then some. She is averaging 19.8 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, ranking third and second in the Big 12 respectively. Through games of Jan. 7, McFarland ranked third in NCAA Division I in field-goal percentage at 68.5 percent and saw that number climb to 69.1 percent (96-of-139) after a 7-of-9 performance against Iowa State. She has nine games of shooting 70 percent or better this season and has made 27 of her last 34 attempts from the field (.794).
She is the 20th player in school history to score 1,000 career points and also 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.
McFarland has nine double-doubles this season, ranking second in the Big 12, and 28 in her career which ranks third on CU's all-time list.
Senior guard/forward Jasmina Ilic is second on the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game. She has a team-high 19 steals, which is just one shy of her 30-game total in 2005-06. Ilic has 20 3-point field goals while her 87.2 percent efficiency from the free-throw line ranks second in the Big 12.
After missing seven games with a fracture in the fourth metatarsal of her left foot, sophomore center Kara Richards has returned to the starting lineup for the last three games. In those contests -- all CU wins -- she has averaged 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while hitting 80 percent from the field (16-of-20). Playing in her first game against Big 12 competition since the 2005 Big 12 Tournament, Richards recorded her first career double-double with 11 points and a personal-best 13 rebounds in the win over Missouri. Through two conference games, Richards has made 11-of-12 field goal attempts (11-of-12), tops in the Big 12. In seven games total games this season, Richards is averaging 10 points, 5.6 rebounds and hitting 67.4 percent from the floor (29-of-43).
Junior guard Susie Powers had a breakout game against Iowa State. She scored a career-high 12 points on 4-of-5 from 3-point range, all of which were career highs. Her 46.9 percent efficiency from 3-point land ranks fourth in the Big 12 and her 34 assists rank second on the team.
Colorado is receiving strong support from its freshman class. Redshirt freshman guard Bianca Smith has made eight starts and is averaging 7.4 points per game after a career-high 18 points in the win over Iowa State. She has a team-best 24 3-point field goals. Smith ranks seventh in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (.436) and has made 17 of her last 34 (.500).
Freshman Whitney Houston is averaging 7.1 points per game and leads the Buffaloes with 38 assists. She provided a spark of the bench in her first career Big 12 contest, scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 from the field against Missouri. Houston's 2.92 assists per game average ranks fourth among freshmen in the Big 12 and 11th overall. Fellow Memphis, Tenn., native Candace Rucker made her first career start against Cal State Fullerton and is averaging 3.5 points, 2.7 rebounds per game. She is second on the team in steals with 16 and her 1.14 per game average is eighth among freshmen in the Big 12.
Forward Aija Putnina has played limited minutes in the last three games after missing the previous two, 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. 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. Her 6.3 rebounds per game ranks second among freshmen in the Big 12 and 18th overall.
SHOTS FALLING FOR BUFFALOES: During its three-game winning streak, Colorado is shooting an even 50 percent from the field (81-of-162). Much of that is thanks to the front-court combination of Kara Richards and Jackie McFarland who have combined to make 37-of-46 (.804) over the last three games. McFarland has made 21-of-26 (.808) during that span while Richards is 16-of-20 (.800) over the last three and 11-of-12 (.917) over the last two. CU is also getting help from the perimeter. After making just 10 of her first 33 shots in a Buffs uniform (.303), junior Susie Powers has hit on 9-of-17 (.529), including a scortching 7-of-10 (.700) from 3-point range. Bianca Smith has hit 10-of-16 (.526) from beyond the arc the last three contests. As a team Colorado has hit 49 percent from downtown during its winning streak (25-of-51) and 80.4 percent from the free-throw line (41-of-51).
RECORD HALF FROM "3": Colorado set a school record for 3-point field goals in one half by drilling 10 in the first stanza of the Buffs' 81-67 win over Iowa State on Jan. 10. Bianca Smith's long-range jumper -- her fourth of the half -- with 17 seconds remaining in the period gave CU the record, breaking the previous mark of nine set against the University of Buffalo on Jan. 3, 2004. The 13 3-pointers CU had in the game was its most since a similar baker's dozen put up against the University of Northern Colorado on Dec. 29, 2004.
A SUCCESSFUL BEGINNING: Colorado opened the Big 12 season with a 71-59 win over the University of Missouri on Jan. 3. The win was the first for CU in a Big 12 opener since defeating Baylor to begin the 2004 league schedule and the 12-point margin of victory was CU's highest in the league's 11-year history. Colorado is now 5-6 in Big 12 openers and 19-14 overall in conference openers.
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 17-27 with the Buffaloes and has an overall head coaching record of 108-115.
ABOUT THE LONGHORNS: Texas is 12-4 overall, 1-1 in Big 12 action and ranked No. 23 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The Longhorns are receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches Poll. UT has won five of its last six games with the only setback a 79-75 decision at home against the University of Nebraska it its league opener. The Longhorns are 9-2 at home, their only other loss coming to national power Tennessee, 67-46, on Dec. 17. Texas' defense has been solid this season allowing opponents just 58.5 points per game and 38.6 percent from the floor. UT opponents have committed 22.1 turnovers per game, the third highest mark in the Big 12.
Texas is led by two-time All-Big 12 senior forward and Preseason Player of the Year candidate Tiffany Jackson who averages 20.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and league-best 2.6 steals per game. She is hitting 46.4 percent from the field and has more than twice as many shot attempts than any other Longhorn. Redshirt freshman guard Carla Cortijo has a team-high 56 assists and averages 6.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Redshirt freshman forward Earnesia Wiliams averages 9.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Texas will be without its second leading scorer, sophomore guard Erika Arriaran, who tore the ACL in her left knee in the Longhorns' 64-61 win over Purdue University. Arriaran averaged 10.5 points through 15 games and was also UT's top 3-point threat logging 26 of the team's 44 3-pointers.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 16th meeting between Colorado and Texas with the Longhorns holding a 12-3 advantage. Texas has won seven straight in the series including a 69-64 decision last season in Boulder. CU has only one win in six tries in Austin, that triumph coming on Feb. 26, 1997 (60-56). The Buffs went on to upset Texas again one week later in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City (64-50) en route to the inaugural Big 12 Tournament title.
Kathy McConnell-Miller is 0-1 in her career against Texas, with that loss coming last season.
CLASSMATES REUNITE: Colorado redshirt freshman Bianca Smith and Texas redshirt freshman Carla Cortijo were classmates and teammates for two years at Bellaire High School in the Houston area. Cortijo is originally from Puerto Rico, moving to Houston for her junior season.
AGAINST THE BIG 12 SOUTH: Colorado will be attempting to snap an eight game road losing streak against teams from the Big 12 Southern Division. CU's last Big 12 South road win came at Baylor on Jan. 7, 2004 (69-59). Overall, the Buffaloes have won just one of their last 13 games against teams from the Big 12 South. CU defeated Oklahoma State, 73-62, in its 2005-06 home finale on Feb. 26.
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.
ON THIS DATE: Colorado is 2-4 all-time on Jan. 13, including a 1-2 record on the road. The Buffaloes lone road win on Jan. 13, was also its last game on the date, beating Kansas 59-49 in Lawrence in 2004.
MILESTONE WINS: With a 56-51 win over Colorado State, CU won its 600th women's basketball game and now stands 603-359 in 32-plus seasons. CU's overall .627 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 304-89 (.774) all-time at the facility.
CLIMBING THE 3-POINT LADDER: Jasmina Ilic hit a pair of 3-point field goals against Missouri to increase her career total to 114, good for sixth place on CU's all-time list.
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 1,064 points through 71 career games (15.0 ppg). McFarland is also just the 12th Buff to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
Jasmina Ilic needs 99 points to reach 1,000, which by using her season average of 12.9 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 has 28 career double-doubles which ranks third on the CU charts and her 28 double-digit rebounding games are fourth on the Buffs' all-time list, just one behind LeaAnn Banks who had 29 double-digit rebounding games from 1984-86. She has nine double-doubles this season, ranking second in the Big 12. She 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.
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 12th on the career list with 595 and needs 52 to move into CU's Top 10. She is tied for eighth with Debbie Johnson (1989-91) on CU's career list for blocked shots with 77. McFarland needs 23 to reach 100 and would be just the sixth Buff to reach the century mark. She is 11th on CU's career list with 302 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.
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 304-89 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, 8-2 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 return to the state of Texas for a Big 12 showdown with No. 19 Texas A&M University on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. MST in College Station.