Buffs Host Bears Wednesday
THE GAMES: The University of Colorado hosts the University of Northern Colorado on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
BROADCAST: All Colorado women's basketball regular and post season games are broadcast live on KKZN 760 AM, Boulder's Progressive Talk station. Mike Rice, in his second year, will handle play-by-play duties and is joined by Carol Callan of USA Basketball with the color commentary. Live internet audio can be accessed through Yahoo! Sports. BuffsTV, a video subscription service of CU's Official Athletic Website CUBuffs.com, Wednesday's game live.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 2-2 overall after placing third in the 21st Annual Coors Classic held on Nov. 23-24 in Boulder. Colorado dropped a first-round game to Siena College, 83-74, before rebounding to defeat Rice University, 72-55, in the consolation round. Clemson University won the 2007 Coors Classic by defeating Siena 77-67 in the championship. The loss to Siena marked just the second time Colorado has lost an opening round Coors Classic game and also just the second time in 34 seasons the Buffaloes have dropped their home opener.
Senior forward Jackie McFarland was named to the Coors Classic All-Tournament team for the third straight season as she paced the Buffaloes by averaging 18 points, 11 rebounds and 6.5 assists over the two games. McFarland had 12 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high seven assists in the win against Rice. Just missing out on the school's first-ever triple-double by three assists. She's actually been closer to a triple-double before as she had a school-record tying eight blocked shots to go along with 15 points and 12 rebounds in a 65-50 win over South Dakota State on Dec. 28, 2005. McFarland leads the Buffaloes through four games averaging 16.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
Freshman Brittany Spears continues to have a solid start to her collegiate career has she ranks second on the team in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg). Her scoring numbers and rebounding numbers are also tops among all freshmen in the Big 12 Conference so far this season while she is second in steals (2.3 spg) and assists (2.5 apg).
Sophomore Aija Putnina ranks third on the team in scoring (8.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg). She had a big game against Rice, answering the call to start for the first time in nearly a year -- Dec. 7, 2006 against Cal State Fullerton to be exact. Putnina responded to the start by notching her third career double-double by recording a career-high 15 points and pulling in 12 rebounds.
Junior guard/forward Hannah Skildum had a productive weekend off the bench for the Buffaloes, averaging 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds at the Coors Classic while hitting 60 percent from the field. She hit all three of her 3-point field goal attmepts against Siena and finished with 11 points.
With the three front-line players accounting for just over 24 rebounds a game, and throw in starting guard Susie Powers' nearly four rebounds a game, it's no wonder the Buffaloes are enjoying a +7.0 rebound margin through the first four games.
On the offensive end, Colorado is shooting 42 percent on the season, helped by a season-best 47 percent performance in the win over Rice. The Buffaloes drilled 10 3-point field goals against Rice, their most in one game since making 13 against Iowa State on Jan. 10, 2007.
Colorado has made and attempted more 3-pointers through four games than it has in any other season in team history. The Buffaloes are 30-of-97 through four contests (.309). CU's 30 3-pointers just edges by its previous best of 29 through four games set in 2003-04. The Buffaloes' 97 attempts are drastically more than the second-highest output ever of 72, also set in 2003-04.
THE COACH: Kathy McConnell-Miller is in her third season as Colorado's head coach. She is 24-40 in her first two seasons with the Buffaloes and has an overall eight-year head coaching record of 115-128.
ABOUT THE BEARS: Northern Colorado is 3-2 overall and coming off a 60-49 win over Southeast Missouri State at the New Mexico State Tournament last weekend. The Bears are led by guard Whitley Cox who averages 20.2 points per game and is second on the team with 16 assists. Center Danielle Hagen is Northern Colorado's top rebounder with 11.4 per game and averages 8.6 points per contest. Freshman guard/forward Kate Kevorken has been a big help off the bench averaging 11.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Like Colorado, UNC has been strong rebounding, pulling down 44 per game and holding a +5.6 margin over its opponents. The Bears are not shy when it comes to shooting from outside, putting up just over 24 3-pointers per game while shooting 32 percent from that range. Kevorken is UNC's top shooter from outside hitting 14 3-pointers on the season.
Kathy McConnell-Miller is 1-0 against UNC as a head coach.
The Buffaloes are 45-19 all-time against teams in the current Big Sky Conference, although this will be CU's first meeting with UNC as a member of the nine-team conference.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 15th meeting between Colorado and Northern Colorado with the Buffaloes holding an 8-6 advantage. This will be just the third meeting where both schools are affiliated with NCAA Division I, with CU winning both those prior meetings, 77-58 on Dec. 29, 2004 and 92-65 on Feb. 13, 2006. The two teams split the previous 12 matchups, most of which came from 1975-79 when both teams were affiliated with the AIAW and the Intermountain Conference.
CAPTAINS NAMED: Seniors Jackie McFarland and Susie Powers and junior Caley Dow will serve as team captains for the 2007-08 season. McFarland is a captain for a third straight season, Powers is in her second year as captain and Dow is a captain for the first time. CU team captains are voted on by players prior to the first regular season contest each year.
PITERNIECE OUT, BUT PROGRESSING: Junior forward Dina Piterniece who continues to recover from a broken toe suffered during practice on Oct. 19, has resumed limited drills in practice, but a time table on her return is still to be determined. Piterniece, who has missed the first four game, is expected to make a significant contribution to the CU lineup this season after a two-year career at Odessa where her teams went 66-3, winning the 2007 junior college national championship and a second place finish in 2006.
McFARLAND PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12; BUFFS PICKED 11TH: Senior forward Jackie McFarland has been named to the 2007-08 Preseason All-Big 12 Conference Women's Basketball team by a vote of league coaches.
McFarland is CU's second preseason All-Big 12 honoree as former Buffaloes standout Erin Scholz was named to the 1996-97 squad. She joins Nebraska forward Kelsey Griffin, Oklahoma center Courtney Paris and Texas A&M guards A'Quonesia Franklin and Takia Starks on the five-member preseason team. All five players were first team All-Big 12 picks last winter.
A native of Derby, Kan., McFarland topped the Big 12 and ranked third in the nation in field-goal accuracy in 2006-07 at 61 percent. She was second in the Big 12 in scoring (17.8 ppg) and rebounding (10.8 rpg) and led the league in minutes at 36.4 per game.
McFarland, a 2007 Associated Press honorable mention All-American, is one of just five players in Colorado history with career numbers totaling 1,300 points and 700 rebounds and just one of three players to record back-to-back 500 point seasons. She is already in Colorado's career Top 10 for rebounding (fourth at 770), free throws made (sixth at 383) and blocked shots (sixth at 100) and is on pace to enter the Top 5 in all three categories as well as scoring and field goals made.
She was one of just two players in the Big 12 with 18 or more double-doubles in 2006-07 and missed five additional double-double opportunities by either a single point or rebound. Her 18 double-doubles were equal to or more than 10 of the 12 conference teams. McFarland's 37 career double-doubles are tied with Scholz (1993-97) for second on CU's all-time list.
Her 325 rebounds were a school-record for a junior and the fifth best single-season total in team history. McFarland's 10.8 rebounding average was the school's third best single-season mark while her 17.8 scoring average listed as sixth.
Despite returning eight players from a team that finished tied for seventh last season, the Buffaloes were picked to finish 11th in the Big 12 in 2007-08 in annual preseason coaches poll.
Defending co-champion Texas A&M was picked to win the 2008 title with seven first place votes and 117 points overall, just edging out the league's other co-champion, Oklahoma who had the other five first place votes and 115 points. The Big South held down the top five spots in the poll as Baylor was third with 97 points followed by Texas (86) and Oklahoma State (66). Iowa State was the top North school (64) followed by Nebraska (56), Kansas State and Texas Tech (54 each), Kansas (43), Colorado (29) and Missouri (11).
MORE NUMBERS FOR McFARLAND: Jackie McFarland had double-doubles in each of her Coors Classic games to move into sole possession of second place on CU's all-time list with 39. Her 40 career double-digit rebounding games are third on the CU career charts.
McFarland is the fourth player in Colorado history with 800 career rebounds, and now stands at 807. McFarland now has 1,385 points in 91 career games (15.2 ppg) and is just two points away from breaking into the top 10 and just 15 away from becoming the ninth player in school history with 1,400 points. McFarland needs just two free throws to become the fifth player to reach 400.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Colorado once again faces a tough schedule with no less than 16 games against 2007 NCAA or WNIT tournament teams. The Buffaloes will travel to perennial NCAA women's powers Southern California and Vanderbilt during the non-conference season as well as region rival Colorado State. Colorado will host 2007 WNIT Champion Wyoming and will also see Rice, Clemson and Pepperdine at the Coors Events Center. Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Texas 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 308-93 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.768). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CECC in 19 of the previous 29 years including, 2007-08 when the Buffaloes went 11-5 at home with four of the five losses coming to ranked teams. The Buffaloes have enjoyed five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94) at the CECC.
BUFFS ON TV: Colorado's schedule features 10 games that will be televised either regionally or nationally, nine of which will be carried by Fox Sports Net. Two games are part of the Big 12's national package with FSN: Sunday, Jan. 13 against Iowa State at home and Saturday, Jan. 26, at Texas Tech. FSN Rocky Mountain will televise six CU home games beginning with Wyoming on Dec. 5. FSN Midwest will televise CU's game at Kansas State on Jan. 19, which could potentially be picked up by FSN Rocky Mountain as well. CU's game at Colorado State on Dec. 1 will be televised by The Mtn. Network.
UP NEXT: Colorado will head north to face Colorado State University on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2:30 p.m. at Moby Arena in Fort Collins. The game will be televised live on The Mtn.