Buffs Host No. 21 Wyoming Wednesday
THE GAME: The University of Colorado will host the University of Wyoming on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
BROADCAST: Wednesday's game will be broadcast live Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain with Tim Ring delivering the play-by-play and former CU head coach Ceal Barry giving the color commentary. 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.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 4-2 overall and in the midst of a three-game winning streak after defeating Colorado State 82-47 in its last outing on Dec. 1. The Buffaloes will be looking to win four straight for the first time since winning five in a row during the tail end of the 2004-05 season's non-conference schedule.
Senior All-America candidate Jackie McFarland has once again started the season with a bang averaging a team-leading 18.0 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while shooting a customary 59.4 percent from the floor. McFarland, who is one of only three players in CU history with 1,400 points and 800 rebounds, also leads the team in free-throw shooting at 81 percent and ranks second in assists at 3.0 per game. The All-Big 12 forward ranks second on the league charts in scoring and rebounding so far this year and is also fourth in free-throw percentage, tied for fourth in 3-point field-goal percentage, seventh in field-goal percentage and tied for 14th in assists.
McFarland had 17 points and 10 rebounds against Colorado State to record her 40th career double-double. She has double-doubles in three of her last four games and has scored 20 or more points in three of six games this season.
Senior guard Susie Powers has stepped up her game over the past three contests. After being held scoreless for the first three games of the season, Powers has averaged 10.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists over the last two games while hitting 48 percent (11-of-23) from the floor.
Powers, who had a career-high eight assists in CU's win over Northern Colorado, leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 5.5 as she has 22 assists against only four turnovers this season.
Freshman Brittany Spears continues to have a solid start to her collegiate career has she ranks second on the team in scoring (13.3 ppg) and is third in rebounding (7.5 rpg). Her scoring numbers and rebounding numbers are also tops among all freshmen in the Big 12 Conference so far this season while she tied for first in steals (2.5 spg) and second in assists (3.0 apg).
Sophomore Aija Putnina and junior Hannah Skildum have played their way into the starting lineup after coming off the bench to begin the season. Putnina has started the last three games and has responded with a pair of double-doubles and is averaging 11.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. She has vaulted to the third spot on the league charts in overall rebounding at 9.0 per game, just one board behind McFarland. Skildum, who has started the past two contests, is averaging 7.0 points and 3.8 rebounds over the last four.
Sophomore Bianca Smith has been one of the first players off the bench for CU this season and is averaging 7.2 points per game. Her production is even higher over the last two games where she's registered back-to-back double-digit games for just the second time in her career. Whitney Houston and Britney Blythe have also seen extended minutes in the Colorado backcourt. Houston's minutes were limited against CSU, but she had a season-high four assists and two rebounds against UNC. Blythe broke a two-game scoreless streak against CSU by hitting a 3-pointer to go along with a career-best three rebounds.
Juniors Caley Dow and Kara Richards have been CU's first front court players off the bench. Dow is coming off a seven-rebound performance against CSU the most she's had since she recorded seven against Cal State Fullerton last season. Richards' 47 percent shooting ranks second on the team and she had a season-best seven points in her last home game against Northern Colorado.
Colorado's 82-point output against CSU upped its season average to 70 per game while the Buffs defense is holding opponents to 60.5 per contest. The Buffaloes have been tough on the boards early on, enjoying a +11 rebound margin, a number that ranks 16th nationally, thanks in part to a whopping 58-26 rebounding edge over Colorado State. The 58 rebounds were the most by a CU team since it grabbed 59 against Bowling Green on Nov. 23, 2001, and the most on the road since it had 59 at Oklahoma State on Jan. 28, 1983. The Buffaloes currently top the Big 12 Conference in free throws at 74.3 percent. CU's has been sharing the ball well of late averaging 16 assists per game and have netted 20 or more assists in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
ABOUT THE COWGIRLS: No. 21 Wyoming is 6-0 and off to its best start since the 1978-79 season when the Cowgirls started 8-0. Wyoming has actually won 12 straight dating back to last season as the Cowgirls rebounded from a loss in the Mountain West Conference tournament to win the 2007 postseason WNIT. This will be the third road game for Wyoming during its streak of success, both coming this year and each very close. The Cowgirls defeated Saint Louis 61-57 on Dec. 18 before edging Wisconsin 67-66 in overtime on Dec. 20 in a rematch of last year's WNIT championship game.
Two-time All-MWC forward Hanna Zavecz leads Wyoming in scoring at 16.2 per game and also tops the Cowgirls with 5.2 assists per game. Senior forward Justyna Podziemska, the 2007 MWC Newcomer of the Year, is averaging 13.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and tops the Wyoming perimeter attack with 14 3-point field goals. Sophomore guard Aubrey Vandiver is averaging 14 points and a team-best 8.0 rebounds off the bench for Wyoming. The Vandiver name should be familiar to Buffs fans as she is the daughter of former Buff men's standout Shaun Vandiver (1988-91).
Wyoming averages 64.3 points per game and is holding opponents to just 52.7 per contest. The Cowgirls are shooting 40 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the free-throw line. Wyoming has been solid on the boards averaging 37.7 per game while holding a +7.8 margin.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 42nd meeting between Colorado and Wyoming with the Buffaloes holding a commanding 32-9 series lead. The 32 wins over Wyoming are the most for CU over any nonconference opponent, and it is also the most played non-league series in Buffs' history. Although extended history is in favor of the Buffaloes, the Cowgirls have had the edge recently winning the last three contests including a 66-50 decision in the last game played in Boulder on Nov. 21, 2005. Last year's contest was played in Laramie with the Cowgirls claiming a 68-49 win.
Kathy McConnell-Miller is 0-2 against Wyoming in her head coaching career.
The Buffaloes are 87-48 all-time against teams currently in the Mountain West Conference. Sixty one of those wins have come against Wyoming (32) and Colorado State (29).
COLORADO AND WYOMING, LAST 10 GAMES:
Date Result Date Result
11/21/06 (A) L, 49-68 12/12/01 (H) W, 81-57
11/21/05 (H) L, 50-66 11/29/00 (A) W, 78-70
12/1/04 (A) L, 67-72 12/8/99 (H) W, 78-59
12/28/03 (H) W, 71-39 12/9/98 (A) W, 70-50
12/4/02 (A) W, 73-62 12/10/97 (H) W, 79-57
STILL IN NEED OF A WIN OVER A RANKED TEAM: Colorado has dropped 23 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.
REVERSING ROAD WOES: Colorado is 2-1 on the road this season with wins at San Francisco and Colorado State. The two wins equal the team win total on the road for the last two seasons combined (1-10 in 2006-07 and 1-9 in 2004-05). CU's 82-47 win over Colorado State was significant on several fronts. The 35-point margin was the Buffs' highest on the road since a 70-35 win over Kansas on Jan. 16, 2002 and it was also their largest win over Colorado State (regardless of venue) since a 112-48 win on Nov. 16, 1979. The 82 points were the most CU has scored on an opponents home court since the Buffs' last trip to Moby Arena, an 86-83 loss to the Rams on Nov. 30, 2005.
3-POINTERS FALLING: Colorado has made and attempted more 3-pointers through six games than it has in any other season in team history, and by a wide margin. The Buffaloes are 57-of-161 through six contests (.354). CU's 57 3-pointers are 19 more than the previous best six-game total of 38 in 2003-04 and the 161 attempts are 54 more than the previous six-game high of 107 in 2005-06.
Colorado, which ranks third in the NCAA and second to only Iowa State in the Big 12 Conference at 9.5 3-pointers per game, had 14 against Colorado State, the second best single-game total in team history (CU had 16 against Buffalo on Jan. 3, 2004) and it's also the first time the Buffs have had double-digit 3-point efforts in three straight games. CU had 10 3-pointers against Northern Colorado and 13 against Rice. Against UNC, the Buffs set a school record for 3-point field goal attempts in one half with 21 in the first stanza and finished the game with 36 attempts, just one shy of the school record of 37 set against Buffalo on Jan. 3, 2004.
THE COACH: Kathy McConnell-Miller is in her third season as Colorado's head coach. She is 26-40 with the Buffaloes and has an overall eight-year head coaching record of 117-128.
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, returned to light practice drills Monday after receiving treatment for chronic plantar fasciitis, which played a role in the original toe injury. Piterniece, who has missed the first six games, 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.
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 has had double-doubles in three of the last four games to become the second player in CU history to reach 40 career double-doubles. Her 41 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 825. She needs 71 rebounds to pass Sandy Bean (1978-82) for third pace on CU's all-time list. McFarland is the ninth player in team history to reach 1,400 career points and now has 1,428 in 93 career games (15.4 ppg). McFarland is the fifth player in school history to pass 400 free throws made (409). She needs 12 free throws to pass Mandy Nightingale (1998-02) for fourth place and is 85 away from catching Bridget Turner (1985-99) for the all-time mark of 494.
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 309-93 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 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 face its second-straight Top 25 opponent as the Buffaloes travel to No. 20 Vanderbilt on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1 p.m. MST in Nashville.