Buffs vs. Nebraska Highlights National Girls & Women In Sports Day Festivities
THE GAME: The University of Colorado hosts the No. 21 ranked University of Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center. CU celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day Saturday with an afternoon full of activities (see below or the icon on the right hand side of the page details).
BROADCAST: Saturday's game will be televised live nationally by Fox Sports Net, with Kevin Eschenfelder on the play by play and Brenda Van Lengen with the color commentary. 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 10-12 overall and tied with Oklahoma State University for eighth place in the Big 12 Conference at 4-6 and just one game behind a three-way tie for fifth place as Iowa State University, Texas Tech University and the University of Texas, are all at 5-5. The Buffaloes have won two out of three overall, but will be looking to rebound after a 70-68 overtime setback to the University of Kansas on Feb. 6 in Lawrence. Despite the loss, CU has secured its best record since 2003-04 when the Buffs finished 22-8, 11-5 in the Big 12, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Junior forward Jackie McFarland is living up to her All-Big 12 second team status in 2006, and then some. She is averaging 18.5 points and 11 rebounds per game, second in the Big 12 in both categories, and coming off a 22-point and career-best 18-rebound performance against Kansas. The 18 rebounds by McFarland are the most by a Buffalo since Raegan Scott had 21 at Texas on Feb. 26, 1997. McFarland ranked third in NCAA Division I in field-goal percentage through games of Feb. 4 at 63.2 percent and has 11 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 needs just six points to reach 1,200 and 14 rebounds to reach 700. She currently ranks in CU's career Top 10 in blocked shots, free-throws made and 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 14 double-doubles this season, ranking second in the Big 12, and seven in 10 conference games. She has 33 double-doubles and 33 double-digit rebounding gams in her career, both of which rank 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 and had a memorable performance in her last home outing. Ilic scored a game-high 27 points with a season-high five 3-point field goals to lead the Buffaloes over Texas Tech. She surpassed the 1,000 point mark during the game, becoming the 21st player in team history to reach the milestone and the 10th fastest (84 games). Ilic also tops the Buffaloes with 40 3-point field goals, 26 steals and an 89.2 percent efficiency from the free-throw stripe, which ranks second in the Big 12.
Freshman Whitney Houston has emerged as the team's starting point guard and has stepped up during the Big 12 season. She leads the team and ranks 15th in the Big 12 in assists at 2.5 per game. Overall she's third on the team in scoring at 8.5 points per contest, but is actually averaging 12.1 points over the last seven games including a career-high 25 points against Kansas in her last outing.
Colorado is receiving overall strong support from its freshman class. Redshirt freshman guard Bianca Smith has made 13 starts and is averaging 5.6 points per game including a career-high 18 points in the win over Iowa State. Smith has come off the bench the last three games, to providing needed scoring punches. She scored all seven of her points against Texas Tech in a 1:36 span during the first half and scored eight points during the Buffs' 23-0 second-half run against Kansas State. She has 28 3-point field goals and ranks seventh in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (.384).
Guard Candace Rucker is averaging 3.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game off the bench for the Buffaloes. She scored six points, including 4-of-4 from the free-throw line, and grabbed three rebounds against the Jayhawks. Forward Aija Putnina enjoyed her most extended time in over two months playing 32 minutes off the bench against Kansas, recording five rebounds and career-highs with four blocked shots and two assists.
Sophomore center Kara Richards is fourth on the team in scoring (6.4 ppg) and second in rebounding average (4.9 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.594). She missed seven games with a fracture in the fourth metatarsal of her left foot. Junior guard Susie Powers is averaging 3.8 points per game and is hitting 39.6 percent from 3-point range. She ranks second on the team in assists with 50.
HOME COOKING: The Buffaloes look to continue the momentum they have built at the Coors Events Center this season. Colorado is shooting 45 percent in 13 home games (326-of-724), far better than its 39.6 percent average in eight road losses (192-of-409). CU is also rebounding far better at home, with a rebounding margin of 6.4 per game while pulling down 40.5 a contest. On the road, CU is pulling down just 36.1 per game and giving up 39.6 to its opponents. The Buffaloes have been battling turnovers all season long and average nearly four more on the road (23.3 TOpg) than at home (19.7 TOpg). Rebounds and turnovers have allowed CU opponents to take 14 more shots per game (65-51) on the road than the Buffs, however the CU defense has held opponents to just 37.2 percent from the field on the road (192-of-516), which is better than the 39.8 percent allowed at home (308-774).
ON THE OFFENSIVE: Prior to the Texas Tech contest, Colorado was struggling on the offensive boards ranking last in the Big 12, pulling in just 10.75 per game overall and only 7.75 per game in league contests. Against the Lady Raiders, the Buffaloes pulled in 23 offensive rebounds which led to a 22-5 advantage in second-chance points. CU's 23 offensive boards were its most since recording 23 against Bowling Green on Nov. 23, 2001, and its most in league play since grabbing 24 at Iowa State on Feb. 18, 1996. The Buffs' previous high against a Big 12 team this season was 11 against Oklahoma on Jan. 20.
HISTORIC COMEBACK: Colorado's comeback from a 15-point halftime deficit to win against Kansas State on Jan. 31 is the second-largest margin achieved in team history. The Buffaloes trailed the Wildcats 39-24 at the break before outscoring them 42-16 in the final 20 minutes, including a 23-0 run over a 10:24 span.
Colorado came back from 19 down against the University of Washington on Dec. 21, 1982, at the Guisti Tournament in Portland, Ore. CU trailed 35-16 at halftime before winning 67-65.
A more-recent double-digit halftime deficit overcome was a 12-point margin against the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on Dec. 20, 2003. CU trailed the Trojans 39-27 before prevailing 69-67.
ABOUT THE HUSKERS: At 20-4 overall, Nebraska is off to its best 24-game start in team history. The Huskers, who are ranked No. 21 by both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches polls, are tied with the University of Oklahoma and Texas A&M University for the lead in the Big 12 at 8-2. NU's league losses have come to the Sooners and Aggies. The Huskers are one of the best shooting teams in the league, ranking second in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage at 45.7 percent. NU also sports the conference's third-best scoring offense at 73.5 points per game.
Sophomore forward Kelsey Griffin paces Nebraska by averaging 16 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. She is the second-leading field-goal shooter in the Big 12 at 59.2 percent, trailing only CU's Jackie McFarland. Griffin also ranks sixth in the Big 12 in scoring and rebounding. Senior guard Kiera Hardy averages 15.8 points per game and has a team-high 69 assists and 50 3-point field goals. Senior forward Chelsea Aubry is third on the team in scoring at 8.8 points per game and is shooting 51 percent from the floor.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 60th meeting between Colorado and Nebraska, the second-most played series in Buffaloes' history (CU and Missouri have met 61 times). CU owns a 38-21 series advantage, but the Huskers have had the upper hand winning four of the five meetings over the last two years including a 67-59 decision in the first round of the 2006 Big 12 Championship. CU's lone win during that stretch came in Boulder, a 78-76 triumph, on Mar. 2, 2005. The Buffs are 24-3 all-time against Nebraska in Boulder.
Kathy McConnell-Miller is 0-3 in her head coaching career against Nebraska, all three games coming with Colorado.
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.
NATIONAL GIRLS AND WOMEN IN SPORTS DAY: CU Athletics will host a Skills Challenge in recognition of National Girls and Women in Sport Day on Saturday starting at noon.
The day was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1986 to honor female athletic achievement and recognize the importance of sports and fitness participation for all girls and women. This marks the second year in a row that the Buffaloes will host the skills challenge.
The fun will get started at 12 p.m. when student-athletes and coaches from women's basketball, volleyball, soccer, golf, cheerleading, track & field and tennis will guide kids 8th grade and younger through various drills on the concourse of the Coors Events Center. Meanwhile, Ralphie IV, CU's live female Buffalo mascot, will be in front of Coors' Northwest Entrance for participants to see and photograph before the game. The Skills Challenge and Ralphie's visit will both last from 12-1 p.m. The first 500 boys and girls 8th grade and younger completing the Skills Challenge will receive a free tee shirt.
At 1 p.m., the Skills Challenge will wrap up, and the student-athletes and coaches will be available for autographs until 1:30 p.m. That will be followed by the CU women's game against Nebraska. The game will tip off at 2 p.m., and all adults and kids arriving between 12-1 p.m. will receive admission to all activities free.
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.
MILESTONE WINS: With a 56-51 win over Colorado State, CU won its 600th women's basketball game and now stands 605-365 in 32-plus seasons. CU's overall .624 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 306-90 (.773) all-time at the facility.
CLIMBING THE 3-POINT LADDER: Jasmina Ilic hit a season-high five 3-point field goals against Texas Tech to increase her career total to 134, 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, ILIC REACH 1,000: 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 1,194 points through 79 career games (15.1 ppg). McFarland is also just the ninth Buff to record 1,100 points and 600 rebounds.
Jasmina Ilic became the 21st player in CU history to 1,000 points, reaching the milestone with a 27-point effort against Texas Tech on Feb. 3. Ilic hit the mark on a second-half bucket and now stands at 21st on CU's all-time scoring list with 1,024 points through 85 career games (12.0 ppg).
Ilic and McFarland are 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 33 career double-doubles and 33 double-digit rebounding games, which both rank third on the CU charts. Her 14 double-doubles this season, second-most in the Big 12, ties her own mark from 2004-05 for fourth on CU's single-season chart. 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 10th on the career list with 686. She is seventh on CU's career list for blocked shots with 90 and eighth on CU's career list with 340 free-throws.
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. Colorado has now won four games this season when trailing at halftime, all at home (USF, Missouri, Kansas State and Texas Tech).
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 306-90 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.773). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CECC in 19 of 29 years including five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94). The Buffaloes are 10-3 at home this season, their best mark since going 14-2 in 2003-04. CU has 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.
UP NEXT: Colorado will play its next two on the road, beginning with a game at Kansas State University on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 6 p.m. MST in Manhattan, Kan.