Buffs At Nebraska In Regular Season Finale
THE GAME: The University of Colorado closes out the 2006-07 regular season with a border battle at the University of Nebraska on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 6:05 p.m. MST, at the Devaney Center in Lincoln.
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 with USA Basketball"s Carol Callan on the color commentary. Live internet audio can be accessed through Yahoo! Sports. Live video streaming of Tuesday"s battle will be available through Stampede Online at CUBuffs.com.
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 12-15 overall and tied with Texas and Texas Tech for seventh place in the Big 12 Conference at 6-9. The Buffaloes" six Big 12 wins are one more than their totals in the previous two years combined (3-13 in 2005-06 and 2-14 in 2004-05). 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.
With just one game remaining in the regular season, the Buffaloes could finish as high as a sixth-place tie in the league standings as Oklahoma State is one game ahead of the threesome at 7-8.
The Buffaloes do know they have clinched at least the No. 10 seed, and could be as high as No. 6 depending on what happens in the next few days. A win over Nebraska would clinch at least the No. 8 seed since the Buffs hold the tiebreaker over Texas Tech and could jump to the No. 7 seed if first place Texas A&M beats Texas in College Station on Wednesday. If Oklahoma State falls at home to Kansas State and a three-way tie exists between OSU, CU and Texas Tech at 7-9, the Buffs would come away with the No. 6 seed. The same scenario would apply if Texas wins and makes it a four-way tie at 7-9.
A loss would mean CU would finish between the No. 8 and 10 spot and its seeding would depend on how Texas Tech and Missouri finish. Texas Tech hosts Iowa State and Missouri hosts Kansas on Thursday. Missouri and Colorado split, but if the Tigers beat Kansas, the Tigers would hold the tiebreaker by virtue of a better record against North Division teams (MU 6-4, CU 5-5), putting CU at No. 10. If KU beats Missouri, CU would be the No. 8 seed if Iowa State beats Texas Tech, or the No. 9 seed if the Lady Raiders prevail.
Colorado closed its home schedule with a 59-50 win over Kansas on Feb. 24. The Buffaloes finished the Coors Events Center slate at 11-5 and will be looking for their second road win of the year Tuesday. The Buffaloes have won just two of their last 26 on the road.
Junior forward Jackie McFarland is living up to her All-Big 12 second team status in 2006, and then some. She is averaging 17.5 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, ranking third and second in the Big 12 respectively. McFarland ranked fifth in NCAA Division I in field-goal percentage (.611) and 10th in rebounding through games of Feb. 22. She has 11 games of shooting 70 percent or better this season.
She is only the seventh player in CU history to register 1,200 points and 700 rebounds in a career and currently ranks in CU"s Top 10 in blocked shots, free-throws made and rebounds. McFarland needs just seven rebounds to become the sixth player in team history with 300 in one season. 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 16 double-doubles this season, ranking second in the Big 12, and nine in 14 conference games. She has 35 double-doubles and 36 double-digit rebounding gams in her career, both of which rank third on CU"s all-time list. McFarland has missed five other double-doubles this season by a single point or rebound.
Senior guard/forward Jasmina Ilic is second on the team in scoring at 12.6 points per game. She surpassed the 1,000 point mark during the Texas Tech game, becoming the 21st player in team history to reach the milestone and the 10th fastest (84 games). Ilic also tops the Buffaloes with 45 3-point field goals and an 86.7 percent efficiency from the free-throw stripe, which ranks second in the Big 12.
Sophomore center Kara Richards has rebounded nicely from a mid-season slump. She is averaging 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds over the last three games while connecting on 70 percent from the field (16-of-23). She has upped her season field-goal percentage total to 60.2 percent and would sit second in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage, behind only McFarland, but barely lacks the minimum number of games played to be ranked. However, appearing in Tuesday"s game will alleviate that issue, as she will reach the 75 percent minimum (21-of-28 games). She is fourth on the team in scoring (7.5 ppg) and second in rebounding (5.0 rpg) and tops the Buffs, and the Big 12, in field-goal percentage during conference only games at .610.
Junior guard Susie Powers is averaging 4.1 points and 2.2 assists per game and had a stand-out defensive effort against Kansas State while scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds. She is hitting 40 percent from 3-point range during the Big 12 schedule.
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 in assists at 2.3 per game and overall is third on the team in scoring at 7.8 points per contest. In the road game against Kansas, she had a career-high 25 points.
Colorado is receiving overall strong support from its freshman class. Redshirt freshman guard Bianca Smith is averaging 5.3 points per game and ranks 11th in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (.345). She has distributed the ball well of late averaging 3.3 assists over her last four games. Smith hit four straight free throws in the waining minutes of the Kansas game to ice the Buffs 59-50 win. Guard Candace Rucker is averaging 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game off the bench for the Buffaloes. She had a career-high eight points at Iowa State and had seven against Kansas State on Feb. 14, hitting a pair of free throws with just six seconds remaining in regulation to provide the winning margin. Forward Aija Putnina set personal Big 12 highs with eight points and 14 rebounds in the win over Kansas.
ABOUT THE HUSKERS: Nebraska, ranked No. 24 in the most recently released USA Today/ESPN/Coaches Poll, is 21-8 overall and tied with Iowa State for fourth in the Big 12 at 9-6. A win would clinch the No. 4 seed and a first round bye for the Huskers. Since defeating Colorado in Boulder on Feb. 10, 54-44, Nebraska has dropped four straight. The Huskers, who are receiving votes in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, are the second-best field-goal shooting team in the Big 12 at 44.5 percent and have the fourth-best scoring offense at 70.8 points per game. However, during it"s four-game slide, Nebraska has hit just 39 percent from the field while averaging 58.9 points per contest.
Senior guard Kiera Hardy leads Nebraska in scoring at 15.6 points per game and leads the Big 12 with 62 3-point field goals. Sophomore forward Kelsey Griffin is prominent among the Big 12 leaders ranking fourth in field-goal percentage (.557), sixth in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and seventh in scoring (15.2 ppg). Senior Chelsea Aubry averages 8.5 points a contest while junior Danielle Page averages 6.7 points and 5.3 rebounds off the bench.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 61st meeting between Colorado and Nebraska, tying Missouri as the most-played series in team history. CU owns a 38-22 series advantage, but the Huskers have had the upper hand recently winning the last four meetings - the longest win streak for Nebraska over CU at any point in the series. The Huskers have won two straight in Lincoln where they hold a 17-11 series advantage.
Kathy McConnell-Miller is 0-4 in her head coaching career against Nebraska, all four games coming with Colorado.
COLORADO AND NEBRASKA, LAST 10 GAMES:
Date Result Date Result
2/10/07 (H) L, 44-54 1/5/05 (A) L, 62-84
3/7/06 (N) L, 59-67 3/3/04 (A) W, 63-60
1/28/06 (A) L, 54-70 2/4/04 (H) W, 78-64
1/4/06 (H) L, 62-80 3/5/03 (A) W, 70-56
3/2/05 (H) W, 78-76 1/14/03 (H) W, 74-54
HOME-ROAD DISPARITY: Colorado broke out of its 11-game road slump with a 60-58 win over Kansas State on Feb. 14. For the Buffaloes to notch road win No. 2, they will look to improve on field-goal shooting, rebounding and turnovers. Colorado is shooting 40 percent (205-516) in 10 road games this season while shooting 44 percent in 16 home games (388-877) where the Buffs finished 11-5. CU enjoys a rebounding margin of 5.3 per game at home while pulling down just under 40 a contest. On the road, CU is pulling down 35.5 per game and giving up 38.4 to its opponents. The Buffaloes have been battling turnovers all season. CU averages nearly just over two more on the road (21.9 TOpg) than at home (19.6 TOpg). Rebounds and turnovers have allowed CU opponents to take 10 more shots per game (61-51) on the road than the Buffs, however the CU defense has held opponents to just 38.1 percent from the field on the road (235-of-617), which is better than the 39.4 percent allowed at home (376-954).
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.
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.
CU"s Top Halftime Comebacks:
Date Opp. Half Final Margin
12/21/82 Washington (N) UW 35-16 CU 67-65 19
1/31/07 Kansas State (H) KS 39-24 CU 66-55 15
12/1/83 Wyoming (A) UW 35-21 CU 57-56 14
12/20/03 Southern Cal (A) SC 39-27 CU 69-67 12
2/19/00 Texas (H) UT 38-26 CU 79-65 12
STILL IN NEED OF A WIN OVER A RANKED TEAM: Colorado has dropped 22 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.
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.
MILESTONE WINS: With a 56-51 win over Colorado State, CU won its 600th women"s basketball game and now stands 607-368 in 32-plus seasons. CU"s overall .623 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 307-92 (.769) all-time at the facility.
CLIMBING THE 3-POINT LADDER: Jasmina Ilic hit a 3-point field goal against Kansas to increase her career total to 139, good for sixth place on CU"s all-time list. She needs 11 to pass Amy Palmer (1992-96) for fifth.
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 15th on CU"s all-time scoring list with 1,259 points through 84 career games (15.0 ppg).
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 20th on CU"s all-time scoring list with 1,061 points through 90 career games (11.8 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 35 career double-doubles and 36 double-digit rebounding games, which both rank third on the CU charts. Her 16 double-doubles this season, second-most in the Big 12, is 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 is fifth on CU"s all-time rebounding list at 738 and is surging up the single-season charts as well. Her 293 rebounds are seventh on CU"s single-season leaderboard and needs just seven become the sixth player in team history with 300 rebounds in one season. Her current 10.9 per game average would rank as the third best mark in team history for a season. McFarland had a career-best 18 rebounds in the last Kansas game, the most by a Buffalo since Scott had 21 at Texas on Feb. 26, 1997.
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
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.
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 307-92 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.769). 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 finished 11-5 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 featured nine games that were be televised either regionally or nationally by Fox Sports Net. Two games were part of the Big 12"s national package with FSN: Jan. 28, at Missouri and Feb. 10, at home against Nebraska. FSN Rocky Mountain televised six CU home games and FSN Midwest will televised CU"s game at Kansas State Feb. 14.
UP NEXT: Colorado will play a first-round game in the 2007 Big 12 Championship tournament on Tuesday, March 6, at a time to be determined at the COX Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.