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Buffs Face Lady Raiders In Big 12 First Round Tuesday

Mar 5, 2007

THE GAME: The University of Colorado is the No. 8 seed in the 2007 Big 12 Championship tournament and will face No. 9 seed Texas Tech University in a first round game on Tuesday, March 6, at 11 a.m. MST, at the COX Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.

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. Tuesday's first round games will be televised by COX cable outlets while the quarterfinals through the championship game will be carried live nationally on Fox Sports Net.

OPENING TIPS: Some facts about Colorado and the Big 12 Championship:

- Colorado is 7-9 in Big 12 tournament games.

- Colorado won the inaugural Big 12 Tournament in 1997 as the No. 3 seed defeating No. 5 Kansas State, 55-54, in the championship game.

- Colorado has five conference tournament titles in its history, four of which came in the old Big Eight Conference.

- This is the sixth time in the 11-year history of the Big 12 Championship that Colorado is seeded lower than No. 5.

- Colorado has been the No. 8 seed once, in 1998, when the Buffaloes won their first round game against No. 9 seed Oklahoma, 71-66, before falling to top seeded Texas Tech 81-51 the next day.

- Colorado is 2-3 in Big 12 Championship first round games (seeded fifth or lower).

- The No. 8 seed is 3-10 all-time in the Big 12 Championship and has lost the last four No. 8 vs. No. 9 first round match ups.

- The Buffaloes have lost their four games in the Big 12 Championship tournament.


1997 No. 3 Seed

Quarterfinals: Colorado 56, Iowa State 39

Semifinals: Colorado 64, Texas 50

Championship: Colorado 54, Kansas State 44

1998 No. 8 Seed

First Round: Colorado 71, Oklahoma 66

Second Round: Texas Tech 81, Colorado 51

1999 No. 9 Seed

First Round: Kansas State 55, Colorado 51

2000 No. 10 Seed

First Round: Colorado 83, Missouri 68

Quarterfinals: Texas Tech 76, Colorado 60

2001 No. 4 Seed

Quarterfinals: Colorado 83, Missouri 72

Semifinals: Oklahoma 102, Colorado 93

2002 No. 3 Seed

Quarterfinals: Iowa State 58, Colorado 56

2003 No. 4 Seed

Quarterfinals: Colorado 73, Oklahoma 68

Semifinals: Texas 62, Colorado 47

2004 No. 3 Seed

Quarterfinals: Oklahoma 63, Colorado 56

2005 No. 12 Seed

First Round: Iowa State 64, Colorado 62

2006 No. 11 Seed

First Round: Nebraska 67, Colorado 59

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 12-16 overall and completed the regular season in a tie with Texas and Texas Tech for seventh place in the Big 12 at 6-10. 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). Texas won the tiebreaker over CU and Texas Tech for the No. 7 seed and the Buffaloes claimed the No. 8 seed by virtue of their 70-67 win over the Lady Raiders in Boulder on Feb. 3. 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.

Colorado has won one of its last four and is 4-6 over its last 10. The Buffaloes played just one neutral site game in 2006-07, dropping a 70-60 decision to Oregon at the Rose Garden in Portland on Dec. 9. CU is 1-11 this season away from Boulder.

Junior forward Jackie McFarland is living up to her All-Big 12 second team status in 2006, and then some. She is averaging 17.3 points and 10.7 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. 25. 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 is the sixth player in team history with 300 rebounds in one season, and needs just one more to set the standard for juniors at CU as she's currently tied with Susan Horner (1977-78) right at 300. 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 had nine in 16 conference games. She has 35 double-doubles and 36 double-digit rebounding games 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 12.5 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 46 3-point field goals and an 86.2 percent efficiency from the free-throw stripe, which ranks second in the Big 12.

Sophomore center Kara Richards ranks second in the Big 12 with a 59.5 field-goal percentage, giving the Buffaloes a nice 1-2 punch on the league's leaderboard. She tops the conference in league only games at an even 60 percent. Richards rebounded nicely from a mid-season slump by averaging 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds while connecting on 70 percent from the field (16-of-23) during the three games prior to the Nebraska game where she was limited to just two points and two rebounds in 13 minutes.

Junior guard Susie Powers is averaging 3.9 points and 2.1 assists per game while hitting 37 percent from 3-point range. Reserve sophomore guard Hannah Skildum is coming off a career-best 16-point effort against Nebraska while classmate Caley Dow is averaging 4.5 points over her last four outings.

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 8.0 points per contest. Houston is averaging 10.5 points and three rebounds over the last two games.

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 (.344). She has distributed the ball well of late averaging 2.8 assists over her last five 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 LADY RAIDERS: Texas Tech completed the regular season even at 15-15, but has lost four straight and seven of its last eight games. The Lady Raiders' lone win during that span was a 70-69 win at Nebraska on Feb. 14. Texas Tech is second-to-last in the Big 12 in scoring at 63.7 points per game and is also 11th in shooting at 40.3 percent from the field.

Senior forward Alesha Robertson leads the Lady Raiders by averaging 13.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. First-year guard Jordan Murphree tops Texas Tech with 88 assists and ranks second on the squad at 9.1 points per game. Senior center Patrice Edwards is averaging 8.5 points per contest for TTU and has a team-best 54.4 shooting percentage.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 18th meeting between Colorado and Texas Tech with the Lady Raiders holding a 13-4 series advantage. Colorado snapped a four-game losing streak to the Lady Raiders with a 70-67 win during the regular season meeting in Boulder on Feb. 3. Texas Tech holds a 3-1 advantage on a neutral court including a pair of wins during Big 12 Championship play. The Lady Raiders won quarterfinal games in both 1998 and 2000. The most memorable postseason meeting between the two teams was in the 1993 NCAA West Region final where Sheryl Swoopes' Texas Tech squad defeated Shelley Sheetz and the Buffs' first Elite Eight team, 79-54, en route to the national championship.

Kathy McConnell-Miller is 1-1 in her head coaching career against Texas Tech, both games coming with Colorado.

PUTNINA SUSPENDED FOR ONE GAME BY THE BIG 12: Colorado freshman forward Aija Putnina was suspended by the Big 12 Conference for one game following an elbowing incident during the latter part of the Buffaloes' 59-50 win over Kansas on Feb. 24. Putnina served the suspension, missing the regular season finale at Nebraska, and returns to the CU rotation for the Big 12 Championship.

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.

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 607-369 in 32-plus seasons. CU's overall .622 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 Nebraska to increase her career total to 140, good for sixth place on CU's all-time list. She needs 10 to pass Amy Palmer (1992-96) for fifth.

Anna Nedovic had a 3-pointer against Nebraska to move into sole possession of 13th place on CU's all-time list with 52.

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 1,271 points through 85 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 19th on CU's all-time scoring list with 1,069 points through 91 career games (11.7 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 list. 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 745 and is surging up the single-season charts as well. Her 300 rebounds tie Susan Horner (1977-78) for fifth in one season and she's also tied with Horner for the most by a junior in one season. Her current 10.7 per game average would rank as the third best mark in team history for a season. McFarland had a career-best 18 rebounds at Kansas, 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 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.