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Buffs Host Kansas Tuesday

Jan 21, 2008

THE GAME: The University of Colorado will host the University of Kansas on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.

BROADCAST: Tuesday's game will be televised on Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain with Tim Ring providing the play-by-play and former Buffaloes' coach Ceal Barry with the color commentary. Radio coverage will come from KKZN AM 760. Mike Rice, in his second season, will have the play-by-play and he 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 12-5 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12 Conference. Despite their current three-game slide, the Buffaloes continue to enjoy the program's best mark since a 15-2 start in 2003-04. The Buffs will be looking to match their win total from the 2006-07 season (13-17).

Colorado fell from the Associated Press Top 25 poll released on Jan. 21, but still is listed among teams receiving votes. The Buffaloes were ranked for four straight weeks, peaking at No. 23 in the polls of Jan. 1 and Jan. 8. CU has received votes in each AP and ESPN/USA Today/WBCA poll since Dec. 10.

Senior All-America candidate Jackie McFarland leads the Buffaloes at 18.5 points per game and is averaging 22.3 points through the first four Big 12 games. She tops the Buffs with a stellar 60.1 percentage from the field (107-of-178) and 8.1 rebounding average. McFarland is second in blocked shots (1.4 bpg) and assists (2.7 apg). McFarland became the fifth player in CU history to reach 1,600 points during the Texas A&M game and also became the third player to reach 900 career rebounds at the Kansas State contest. The All-Big 12 forward once again can be found among the Top 10 in most league statistical categories ranking first in field-goal percentage, second in scoring and minutes, third in rebounding, fifth in free-throw percentage and ninth in blocks.

Freshman Brittany Spears is making a name for herself as well. Named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Jan. 7, Spears has certainly put up numbers worthy of repeating that honor through her first four conference games. She is averaging 18 points, a team-best 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks while hitting 47 percent from the field (26-of-55) in league play. Spears recorded a double-double against Texas A&M with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. She leads CU in free-throw percentage (.829, 34-of-41), and steals (2.2 spg) and ranks second on the team in scoring (14.5 ppg) and is third in blocked shots (1.3 bpg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg). Her scoring, rebounding and blocks per game top all freshmen in the Big 12 while she is also second in steals and fourth in assists (2.1 apg).

Senior guard Susie Powers has taken control of the Colorado offense from the point guard position averaging a team-best 4.7 assists per game. She's on pace to have the most assists by Buffs' player since Mandy Nightingale had 161 (4.7 apg) during the 2001-02 season. Powers, who had a career-high 10 assists in the win over Pepperdine, is third in the nation and leads the Big 12 with a 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio and also ranks sixth in the Big 12 in assists. She has 78 assists against only 30 turnovers this season and has 73 assists over the last 14 games (5.2 apg).

Sophomore Aija Putnina has started the last 14 contests, helping the Buffaloes to a 11-3 mark in that span. She is averaging 8.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and a team-high 1.5 blocks per game. Putnina is fourth in rebounding, eighth in blocked shots and ninth in free-throw percentage on the Big 12 charts. Putnina registered her first double-double in Big 12 play with a 12-point, 10-rebound performance at Missouri. She had a career night against Jacksonville State scoring 20 points on 8-of-9 from the field including a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range. Only Jenny Roulier who hit 5-of-5 from downtown against Missouri on Feb. 13, 2002, had more 3-pointers in a game without a miss. Putnina had just four 3-point field goals in 37 career games prior to the JSU contest.

Junior Hannah Skildum, who has started the last 13 games, has provided a strong defensive presence to Colorado's back court. She has modest numbers, averaging 4.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists on the season, but she's a key reason the Buffaloes can be found in the NCAA's Top 40 in several defensive categories including blocked shots, field-goal percentage defense, rebound margin and scoring defense.

Colorado is 10-3 with its current starting line up of Powers-Skildum-Spears-McFarland-Putnina.

It's not just the starters, as the bench has been big too. Sophomore Bianca Smith is emerging into a formidable "Sixth-Woman" candidate averaging nearly 10.1 points off the bench for the Buffs. Over CU's last 13 games in the which the Buffaloes are 11-3, she has been the team's third-leading scorer at 11.1 points per game while hitting 43 percent from 3-point range (39-of-90). She already has more 3-point field goals than she did in 30 games as a freshman (32). Smith was named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 10 after averaging 19.0 points and hitting 57 percent from the field in games against No. 22 (AP)/21 (WBCA) Wyoming and No. 20/17 Vanderbilt. Whitney Houston and Britney Blythe have also seen extended minutes in the Colorado backcourt.

Freshman Courtney Dunn has become one of the first front court players of the CU bench averaging 6.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists while hitting 63 percent from the field over the last two games. Juniors Caley Dow and Kara Richards solidify CU's front court depth.

Colorado is averaging just under 70 points per game while holding opponents to 57.5 per contest. Colorado's defense has been a big reason for the team's early success. The Buffaloes rank 12th in the nation in blocked shots (5.6 bpg), 20th in field goal percentage defense (.348) and 27th in rebounding margin (+6.8) through games of Jan. 17. CU has outrebounded its opponents in 15 of 17 games this season and has outrebounded the opposition in 20 of 22 dating back to last season.

ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS: Kansas enters Tuesday's game with an identical record to Colorado at 12-5 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12. The Jayhawks are coming off their first Big 12 win of the season, claiming a 66-60 home decision over Missouri on Jan. 16. KU is last in the Big 12 in scoring averaging 63.6 points per game overall, and that number drops to just 51.5 points in Big 12 play.

Sophomore Danielle McCray leads Kansas in scoring at 15.1 points per game and is second in rebounding at 7.2 per contest. Sophomore guard Sade Morris is second in scoring at 11.9 points per game. KU's frontcourt has shot the ball well this year as senior forward Taylor McIntosh and freshman center Krysten Boogaard combine to hit 52 percent from the field (109-of-208). McIntosh averages 8.0 points per game and is the team's leading rebounder at 7.4 per contest. Boogaard is third on the team in scoring at 8.5 points per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 60th meeting between Colorado and Kansas with the Buffaloes holding a 31-28 series lead. The teams split their meetings last season, each winning at home, but the Buffaloes have won three of the last four and 11-of-14 since 2001. Kathy McConnell-Miller is 3-1 against Kansas as a head coach, all with Colorado.

COLORADO AND KANSAS, LAST 10:

Date Result Date Result

2/24/07 (H) W, 59-50 1/25/05 (H) L, 60-65

2/6/06 (A) L, 68-70 OT 2/24/04 (H) W, 75-56

2/1/06 (A) W, 77-71 1/13/04 (A) W, 59-49

1/10/06 (H) W, 74-65 2/5/03 (H) W, 73-42

1/12/05 (A) L, 54-76 1/18/03 (A) W, 71-50

DOUBLE OT: Colorado went double-overtime for just the fifth time in school history and the first time at the Coors Events Center with its 84-77 loss to Iowa State on Jan. 13. It was the first double-overtme for CU since the Buffaloes defeated the Cyclones 68-66 at Iowa State on Jan. 18, 1997, and the Buffs fell to 16-20 all-time in overtime and 2-3 in double-overtime. Seniors Jackie McFarland and Susie Powers each played 48 minutes in the game, tying a school record initially set by Tracy Tripp against Oklahoma State on March 6, 1989.

BIG 12 OPENERS: Colorado evened its record in Big 12 Conference openers at 6-6 by defeating Missouri 70-58 on Jan. 9. It was Colorado's first season-opening Big 12 win on the road since the Buffs beat Baylor to begin the 2004 league slate. The 12-point margin was also the Buffs highest in a conference road opener since a 67-53 win at Missouri to open the 1993 Big Eight schedule. Colorado, now 20-14 in all-time conference openers, are 16-9 in home league openers since 1983 and 6-5 in the Big 12 era.

OPENING NIGHT STAR: Colorado freshman Brittany Spears joined some elite company in her Big 12 debut. Her 24 points were the second-most in team history for a freshman in her first league game. Only CU Athletic Hall of Fame member and 1995 All-American Shelley Sheetz had more points in a conference debut as she scored 25 during a 75-69 loss at Nebraska on Jan. 15, 1992. Her seven rebounds tie current teammate Jackie McFarland for the most by a freshman in a road opener since 1994. McFarland had seven in an 84-62 setback at Nebraska on Jan. 5, 2005.

NUMBERS ON 11 STRAIGHT: Colorado saw its 11-game win streak end against Iowa State, but the run was the seventh longest in team history and the most consecutive victories since the 1994-95 team matched a CU All-Sports record 25 straight wins (shared with the 1939-41 baseball team). Here are the Buffs' all-time best win streaks:

Wins Season Record Noteable

1. 25 1994-95 30-3 NCAA Elite Eight, 14-0 in Big Eight

2. 20 1988-89 27-4 NCAA 1st Round, 14-0 in Big Eight

3. 15 1992-93 27-4 NCAA Elite Eight, 15-0 season start

4. 14 1991-92 22-9 NCAA 1st Rd, Big Eight Tourney Champs

5. 12 1981-82 28-8 AIAW National 1st Round

12 1980-81 28-5 First of two 9-plus winning streaks in ?81

7. 11 2007-08 ?? First 11-plus streak since 1994-95

8. 9 2003-04 22-8 NCAA 1st Round

9 1993-94 27-5 NCAA Sweet 16

9 1992-93 27-4 NCAA Elite Eight, Big Eight Champs

9 1980-81 28-5 First AIAW National Appearance

9 1978-79 22-9 3rd place in AIAW Regional

PERFECT DECEMBER: Colorado registered a perfect 7-0 record for the month of December for the first time since 2003-04, and for just the sixth time in team history. The Buffaloes matched the 1980-81 and 1981-82 teams which were both 7-0 in December. The 1992-93 team had a program best December mark of 9-0, while the 2002-03 squad was 6-0 and 5-0 in 2003-04. CU is 118-54 (.686) all-time in the month of December.

DEFENSE WINS: Colorado has enjoyed some impressive defensive numbers this season.

The Buffaloes have held five opponents under 50 points in 2007; 29-vs. Texas Southern, 38-vs. Southern Utah 43-vs. Dartmouth, 47-at Colorado State and 48-at San Francisco. CU had held their opponent under 50 points just three times total in the previous three seasons.

CU yielded less than 50 points in three-straight games -- Texas Southern, Dartmouth and Southern Utah -- the first such streak since 2003-04. The Buffs' five sub-50 point defensive performances are the most in one season since the 2002-03 squad registered nine.

Against Dartmouth, Colorado had 13 blocked shots, the second highest single-game total in team history, trailing only the school record 16 set against Sam Houston in a 99-60 win on Dec. 14, 2000. CU followed up that performance with 12 against Iowa State on Jan. 13.

Colorado had a historic performance from a defensive perspective against Texas Southern. The Buffaloes held the Lady Tigers to just 29 points, which ties for the fourth-lowest total in team history (equals a 79-29 win over Iowa State on Feb. 19, 1993). It was just the fifth time in CU history the Buffs have held an opponent under 30 points (the ISU game in 1993 being the last). CU allowed just 13 second-half points, tying for the second-lowest second-half total in team history (also done in the ISU game and against Utah State on Jan. 28, 1981). The Buffaloes forced Texas Southern into 32 turnovers, the most since forcing 35 against Detroit Mercy on Nov. 24, 2002.

SMITH, SPEARS EARN BIG 12 WEEKLY HONORS: Colorado has been recognized with Big 12 weekly honors twice this season.

Sophomore guard Bianca Smith was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week on Dec. 10 and freshman forward Brittany Spears was named Rookie of the Week on Jan. 7. The Big 12 honors were a first for both players.

Spears helped Colorado register its 10th straight win by scoring 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds in a 65-53 decision over Pepperdine on Jan. 4. She tied a personal-best with seven field goals and made them on just 10 attempts (.700). Spears had an outstanding all-around game by also recording four assists, four steals and one blocked shots.

Smith averaged 19 points, two assists and two rebounds off the bench while leading Colorado to wins over No. 22 (AP)/21 (WBCA) Wyoming and at No. 20/17 Vanderbilt. Colorado broke a 23-game losing streak against ranked teams with its 69-55 win over Wyoming on Dec. 5. The Buffaloes then made it wins in back-to-back games over ranked teams for the first time since the 2002 NCAA Tournament with a 62-51 triumph at Vanderbilt on Dec. 9.

Against Wyoming, Smith scored 16 points on 5-of-8 from the floor with three assists as Colorado broke a three-game losing streak against the Cowgirls. She was 4-of-7 from 3-point range and her final two from downtown were clutch as they provided the answer to a 14-3 Wyoming run that cut the CU lead to just one with 5:11 remaining.

Smith had an even bigger game against Vanderbilt. She had a career-high 22 points on 7-of-14 from the field with three rebounds, one steal and one assist as the Buffs handed the Commodores just their second loss in their last 23 home games. Smith scored 13 of CU's first 17 points to erase an early 8-0 Vanderbilt lead, and hit four straight free throws in the final seconds of the game to close it out.

RANK STREAK IS OVER: Colorado had its biggest week in early December in several years in terms of success against ranked teams.

Colorado's 69-55 win over No. 21/22 Wyoming snapped a 23-game Buffs' losing streak to ranked teams. The Buffaloes last win over a ranked opponent had been a 69-59 decision at No. 24 Baylor on Jan. 7, 2004 where CU was ranked No. 14 at the time. The win was Colorado's first against a ranked team while being unranked since knocking off No. 12 North Carolina 86-67 in the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament.

The Buffaloes kept the momentum going four days later with a 62-51 win at No. 20/17 Vanderbilt. The win gave CU's its first two-game win streak against ranked teams since knocking off No. 23 Washington and No. 24 Baylor in 2003-04. It's the first pair of wins over two ranked teams in back-to-back games since the 2002 NCAA Tournament when the Buffs defeated No. 22/24 LSU in the second round and No. 5 Stanford in the Sweet 16. It was Colorado's first win on the road over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 24 Baylor 69-59 in Waco, Texas, on Jan. 7. 2004. It was CU's first win over a ranked opponent as an unranked team since defeating No. 12 Texas in Austin, 60-56, on Feb. 26, 1997.

RANKING OF OUR OWN: Colorado fell out of the latest AP Top 25 poll released Jan. 21. The Buffaloes had been ranked in the previous four AP polls, peaking at No. 23 on Jan. 1 and Jan. 8. The Buffaloes debuted in the 2007 AP poll at No. 25 on Dec. 24 for their first national ranking since finishing No. 17 (AP)/No. 24 (WBCA) in the final 2003-04 polls. Colorado has a rich tradition in the AP poll, making 158 appearances since 1980. The Buffs were ranked in 75 straight polls from Mar. 15, 1992 to Dec. 9, 1996 and 30 straight from Jan. 22, 2001 to Mar. 22, 2002. The Buffaloes did remain among the teams receiving votes, marking the sixth-straight week CU has received some mention in the national polls.

With Colorado's early-season AP ranking, Buffs head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller became the 22nd person in NCAA Division I women's history to play for and coach an AP ranked team. McConnell-Miller was a four-year letterwinner at Virginia (1986-90) where she played in four NCAA Tournaments with the Cavaliers including a pair of Sweet 16 appearances and the 1988 Elite Eight.

REVERSING ROAD WOES: Colorado is 4-2 on the road this season and had won three straight for the first time since 2003-04 before falling at Kansas State on Jan. 19. The four wins doubles the team road win total from the previous 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. Colorado broke Vanderbilt's 10-game home winning streak and handed the Commodores just their second loss in 23 home games, the other coming last season against eventual national champion Tennessee.

3-POINTERS FALLING: Colorado's 3-point shooting has cooled off during the first four Big 12 games as the Buffs have made just under 30 percent and average five made per game. However, the Buffaloes are still on pace to have their most prolific season from 3-point range in team history. With a guarantee of 13 games remaining on the schedule, CU's current pace of 7.6 3-pointers made per game would give the Buffs 228 for the season, passing the school record of 196 in 2001-02. CU's current pace of 22.9 attempts per game would net 688 in 13 more contests, well over the school record of 501 also set in 2001-02. The Buffaloes need just two 3-pointers to enter the single-season Top 10.

Colorado is second in the Big 12 Conference and ranks sixth in the nation at 7.6 3-point field goals per game. The Buffaloes have a school single-season record six games with 10 or more 3-point field goals. The previous season high was five in the 34-game 2001-02 season. CU had a season-high 14 against Colorado State, its second best single-game total (CU had 16 against Buffalo on Jan. 3, 2004). That came during a string of netting 10 or more 3-pointers in four straight games for the first time. The Buffs had 10 3-pointers against Wyoming and 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.

Individually, it hasn't been one player doing the damage. Ten different players on the CU roster have at least two 3-point field goals and nine have attempted at least 10. Sophomore Bianca Smith leads the team with 41, 39 of which have come in the last 14 games. Brittany Spears is second with 29 and Susie Powers has 16.

NUMBERS FOR McFARLAND: Jackie McFarland has had five double-doubles this season ranking third in the Big 12 Conference. She ranks second in CU history in career double-doubles with 42 and her 43 career double-digit rebounding games are third on the CU career charts.

McFarland became the fifth player in CU history to reach 1,600 points during the Texas A&M game and now stands fourth on the all-time chart at 1,634. McFarland became the third player in team history to reach 900 rebounds during the Kansas State game and needs 92 to reach 1,000.

McFarland is second on CU's all-time for free throws made with 473 and is just 21 away from catching Bridget Turner (1985-99) for the all-time mark of 494. She is tied for fifth in blocked shots (124), seventh in minutes (3,307) and ninth in field goals made (569).

McFARLAND NOMINATED FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Senior forward Jackie McFarland has been named one of 30 nationwide candidates for the 2008 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

The award ? presented annually to the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete of the Year in eight sports ? focuses on the "Four C's" of classroom, character, community and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season to honor the attributes of college basketball seniors who remain committed to their university and pursue the many rewards that a senior season and complete college education brings.

A native of Derby, Kan., McFarland is a two-time Academic All-American sporting a 3.89 GPA. She is working on a concurrent degree program which will allow her to earn her MBA while completing her undergraduate degree in accounting. McFarland won CU's Scholar-Athlete Award in the spring of 2007 for having the highest GPA in her class. McFarland is a three-year team captain and is actively involved in CU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. SAAC is the governing body for student-athletes at CU which assists in the development and implementation of programs that motivate student-athletes to strive for and be recognized for academic excellence and community involvement.

From the list of 30 nominees for each gender, a national media committee will select 10 finalists to be announced later this month. Those 10 names will then be put to ballot for a nationwide vote during the NCAA Tournament in March. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the male and female recipients.

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.

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.

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).

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 315-95 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 is televising seven CU home games which began with Wyoming on Dec. 5. CU's game at Colorado State on Dec. 1 was televised by The Mtn. Network.

UP NEXT: Colorado will travel to play Texas Tech University on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m. MST in Lubbock, Texas. The game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.