Buffs Head South For Shootout With Oklahoma State
THE GAME: The University of Colorado plays its third road game in four outings and its fourth-straight overall against a Big 12 Conference Southern Division opponent as the Buffaloes take on Oklahoma State University on Wednesdy, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. MST at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.
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 CUBuffs.com.
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado, 8-9 overall and 2-3 in Big 12 play, will be attempting to snap an overall three-game losing streak and an eight-game slide on the road dating back to a 77-71 win at Kansas on Feb. 1, 2006. All three of the Buffs' losses during their current skid have come against ranked teams, with the latest being a hard-fought 82-67 setback to No. 7/6 ranked University of Oklahoma on Jan. 20. CU has been a streaky team this season, compiling two separate three-game winning streaks while having a four-game losing streak and a current three-game slide. 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 is just 4-23 in road games since the beginning of the 2004-05 campaign.
Junior forward Jackie McFarland is living up to her All-Big 12 second team status in 2006, and then some. She is averaging 19.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, ranking third and second in the Big 12 respectively. McFarland ranks fourth in NCAA Division I in field-goal percentage at 64.9 percent (106-of-168). She has 10 games of shooting 70 percent or better this season.
McFarland is just the ninth player in school history to register 1,100 points and 600 career rebounds and she currently ranks in CU's career Top 10 in blocked shots and free-throws made. 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 11 double-doubles this season, ranking second in the Big 12, and 30 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 13.8 points per game after a team season-high 29 against Oklahoma. She also leads the Buffaloes with 29 3-point field goals, 22 steals and an 88.7 percent efficiency from the free-throw stripe. Her 22 steals are two more than she had in 30 games last season and her free-throw percentage ranks second in the Big 12 and 15th in the nation.
Sophomore center Kara Richards is third on the team in scoring (8.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.3 rpg) and second in field-goal percentage (.625). She leads the Big 12 in field-goal percentage during conference only games (.680) and would be second in the Big 12 overall, behind McFarland, but has not reached the minimum percentage of CU's games played to be ranked (75 percent). She missed seven games with a fracture in the fourth metatarsal of her left foot, but as returned strong as the Buffs are 3-3 since her return. 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.
Junior guard Susie Powers had a breakout game against Iowa State and has continued on a hot streak ever since. She scored a career-high 12 points on 4-of-5 from 3-point range against the Cyclones, all of which were career highs. Powers has hit 8-of-11 from 3-point range during the Big 12 season, tops in league play. Her overall 48.6 percent efficiency from 3-point land ranks third in the Big 12 and her 42 assists are second on the team.
Colorado is receiving strong support from its freshman class. Redshirt freshman guard Bianca Smith has made 11 starts and is averaging 6.4 points per game including a career-high 18 points in the win over Iowa State. She has 25 3-point field goals and ranks seventh in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (.397).
Freshman Whitney Houston is averaging 6.9 points per game and leads the Buffaloes with 43 assists. She provided a spark off the bench in her first career Big 12 contest, scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 from the field against Missouri. Houston's 2.69 assists per game ranks fifth among freshmen in the Big 12 and 14th overall. Fellow Memphis, Tenn., native Candace Rucker started three games during the nonconference schedule and is averaging 3.5 points, 2.5 rebounds per game. She is third on the team in steals with 18 and her 1.1 per game average is eighth among freshmen in the Big 12. She tied a career high with seven points on 3-of-4 from the field in the loss at Texas A&M.
Forward Aija Putnina is averaging 5.8 rebounds per game, second on the team and second in the Big 12 among freshmen She had a team-high nine rebounds, two blocks and two assists against Texas on Jan. 13.
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 7 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 began the Big 12 season 2-0 for the first time since 1996-97. The start also agave the Buffaloes their first two-game league win streak since defeating Oklahoma State and Kansas on Feb. 21 and 24, 2004. 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 17-30 with the Buffaloes and has an overall head coaching record of 108-118.
ABOUT THE COWGIRLS: Oklahoma State is 14-4 overall and 2-3 in the Big 12. The Cowgirls have received votes in one of the two major national polls for the last eight weeks. OSU is 10-2 at home, but has dropped its last two, including a nail-biting 63-61 decision to Texas Tech University on Jan. 20. Oklahoma State has enjoyed a wide scoring margin over its opponents this season. The Cowgirls have averaged 75.2 points per game while allowing just 53.8. The 21.4 points margin leads the Big 12. OSU has allowed opponents to shoot just 34.3 percent overall from the field and 28.1 percent from 3-point range. The Cowgirls have rebounded well, averaging 45.5 per game while holding opponents to just 33.8. Both marks trail only Oklahoma in the Big 12.
Oklahoma State has a balanced scoring attack led by junior center and part-time starter Maria Cordero who averages 13.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor. Senior forward Rashidat Sadiq is second on the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game and pulls down just under six rebounds per contest. Freshman guard Andrea Riley has a team best 89 assists and ranks third in the Big 12 at 5.24 per game. She averages 11.1 points per game and hits 77 percent from the free-throw line.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 47th meeting between Colorado and Oklahoma State, with the Buffaloes holding a 26-20 series lead. CU won last year's game in Boulder, 73-62, on Feb. 26, and the Cowgirls won the last game played at Gallagher-Iba Arena, 76-70 in overtime on Jan. 22, 2005. Colorado has won five of its last six against OSU and three of its last four in Stillwater. The Cowgirls hold a 10-8 all-time edge in Stillwater.
Kathy McConnell-Miller is 4-2 in her career against Oklahoma State and 1-0 at Colorado. She recorded career wins No. 1 and No. 100 against OSU.
AGAINST THE BIG 12 SOUTH: Colorado has won just one of its last 16 games against teams from the Big 12 South. The Buffs' lone win in that span game against Wednesday's opponent, a 73-62 win over Oklahoma State in the 2005-06 home finale on Feb. 26.
MILESTONE WINS: With a 56-51 win over Colorado State, CU won its 600th women's basketball game and now stands 603-362 in 32-plus seasons. CU's overall .625 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 304-90 (.772) all-time at the facility.
CLIMBING THE 3-POINT LADDER: Jasmina Ilic hit three 3-point field goals against Oklahoma to increase her career total to 123, 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 16th on CU's all-time scoring list with 1,111 points through 74 career games (15.0 ppg). McFarland is also just the ninth Buff to record 1,100 points and 600 rebounds.
Jasmina Ilic needs 46 points to reach 1,000, which by using her season average of 13.8 ppg, she would reach around the game against Texas Tech on Feb. 3.
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 30 career double-doubles and 30 double-digit rebounding games, which both rank third on the CU charts. Her 11 double-doubles this season, second-most in the Big 12, are sixth on CU's single-season chart. McFarland had 14 double-doubles in 2004-05, a mark that is fourth all-time at CU. 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 12th player in CU history to reach 600 rebounds, surpassing the mark during the loss at Texas on Jan. 13. She is currently 11th on the career list with 630 and needs 17 to move into CU's Top 10. She is seventh on CU's career list for blocked shots with 80. McFarland needs 20 to reach 100 and would be just the sixth Buff to reach the century mark. She is 10th on CU's career list with 323 free-throws made.
STILL IN NEED OF A WIN OVER A RANKED TEAM: Colorado has dropped 20 straight games to ranked teams 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.
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 304-90 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, 8-3 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 face its first rematch of the season as the Buffaloes take on the University of Missouri on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 11 a.m. MST in Columbia. The game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.