Buffs And Bears Meet In Waco
THE GAME: The University of Colorado will travel to play No. 8 (AP)/9 (WBCA) Baylor University on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. MST at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
BROADCAST: Wednesday's game will be broadcast on KKZN AM 760. Mike Rice, in his second season, will have the play-by-play with Carol Callan of USA Basketball providing the color commentary. Live internet audio can be accessed through Yahoo! Sports.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 15-11 overall and sits in a four-way tie for eighth place in the Big 12 at 4-9 joining Kansas, Texas and Texas Tech. The four teams are just one game out of seventh, trailing Iowa State at 5-8. Colorado has won two straight after losing its previous six games. CU's six-game skid was its most since 2004-05 and combine that with its 11-game win streak earlier in the season, it's the first time in school history the Buffaloes have endured a six game winning streak and a six game losing streak in the same season. The Buffaloes halted their skid by defeating Texas 67-52 on Feb. 16 and kept the momentum going with a 73-68 win over No. 15 (AP & WBCA) Kansas State on Feb. 23. The Buffs have surpassed their win total from the 2006-07 season (13-17) and have their best record since 2003-04 when CU last made the NCAA Tournament. Colorado needs one more victory to guarantee itself a winning record for the first time since 2003-04.
Senior All-America candidate Jackie McFarland leads the Buffaloes at 17.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting 56 percent from the field (151-of-268). Her numbers have remained solid during league play averaging 17.9 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 54 percent (74-of-136). She is second on the team in overall assists (2.7 apg) and actually leads the team during the Big 12 schedule (also at 2.7 apg). McFarland now has 1,778 career points and moved into third place on CU's all-time scoring list during the win over Kansas State, passing former CU All-American Shelley Sheetz who had 1,775 from 1991-95. She is one of only two players -- joining Lisa Van Goor -- to have 1,700 points and 900 rebounds in a career and needs just 22 points and 21 rebounds to make it 1,800 and 1,000. The All-Big 12 forward once again can be found among the leaders in most league statistical categories ranking second in field-goal percentage, and minutes, third in scoring, fifth in rebounding and free-throw percentage and 12th in blocked shots.
Freshman Brittany Spears is making a name for herself as well. Named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the second time this season on Feb. 11, her 361 points are the most by a freshman since Sheetz had 437 in 1991-92. Her 13.9 points per game average is on pace to be the best by a CU freshman since Sheetz averaged 14.1 in 1991-92 and the best by any first-year player since Isabelle Fijalkowski averaged 16.1 in 1994-95, her lone season in Boulder. An all-around performer, she is only the second player in team history to record 40 blocks, 40 assists and 40 steals in the same season (Raegan Scott did it as a junior in 1995-96 and as a senior in 1996-97). Spears' numbers for rebounds (7.3 rpg), steals (1.8 spg) and blocks (1.7 bpg) are also on pace to be among the Top 5 performances by a CU freshman in team history, in fact her 43 blocks are already third on the Buffs' freshman list. She leads CU in free-throw percentage (.871, 54-of-62) and tops the Big 12 at 92 percent (33-of-36) during league only games. Her scoring, rebounding, and blocks per game top all freshmen in the Big 12 while she is also second in steals and free-throw percentage and fourth in assists (1.8 apg).
In the backcourt, senior guard Susie Powers averages a team-best 3.7 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 24th in the nation (through games of Feb. 24) and is second in the Big 12 with a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio (97 assists-49 turnovers) and also ranks ninth in the Big 12 in assists.
Sophomore Aija Putnina, who has started the last 23 contests, is averaging 7.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Putnina, who registered her fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 15 rebounds against Texas, is sixth in free-throw percentage (.756), eighth in blocks and tied for ninth in rebounding on the Big 12 charts. She owns two of CU's top three single-game rebounding performances this season, also nabbing 15 against Northern Colorado on Nov. 28. Her 35 blocks on the season are the fifth most by a sophomore in team history.
Sophomore Bianca Smith, who entered the starting lineup for the first time this season against Oklahoma State, ranks third on the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game, but that number vaults to 16.8 over the last five contests. She leads the team in 3-pointers with 67, which ties Mandy Nightingale (2001-02) for sixth on CU's single-season list, and his hitting a scortching 48 percent from downtown (21-of-44) over the last five games. A formidable "Sixth-Woman" candidate in the Big 12 this season, 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.
Junior Hannah Skildum, who has started 16 of 26 games, provides a strong defensive presence to Colorado's back court and averages 3.2 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Whitney Houston and Britney Blythe have also seen extended minutes in the Colorado backcourt. Houston's minutes have increased over the past seven games, averaging six points per contest during that span. Blythe, played key minutes off the bench in Colorado's win over Kansas, scoring eight points and grabbing three rebounds but has missed five of the last seven games.
Colorado has several front-court options off the bench. Junior Caley Dow is averaging 3.4 points, three rebounds and two assists over the last seven games and is hitting 59 percent from the field (10-of-17). Freshman Courtney Dunn had six points and five rebounds off the bench against No. 10 Oklahoma and has played double-digit minutes in four of her last six appearances. Junior Kara Richards has made 55 percent of her shots (24-of-44) and is coming off her two most productive Big 12 games this season averaging 4.5 points and 4.5 rebounds over the pair of contests prior to the Kansas State game where she did not play.
Colorado is averaging 66.9 points per game while holding opponents to 60.7 per contest. Overall CU is shooting 42 percent from the field and is the Big 12's top free-throw shooting team at 75 percent. CU is outrebounding teams by nearly four boards per game and ranks second in 3-point field goals (7.3 3mpg) and third in blocked shots (5.4 bpg) on the Big 12 charts. In league play, Colorado is scoring 63.8 points per game and shooting 40 percent from the field.
ABOUT THE BEARS: No. 8 (AP)/9 (WBCA) ranked Baylor is 22-3 overall and in the drivers seat for the 2008 Big 12 regular season title with an 11-2 record. Baylor is one game up on both Oklahoma and Kansas State (each at 10-3) and the Bears own the all-important tie breaker with both teams for seeding in the upcoming Big 12 Championship. The Bears are one of the best defensive teams in the Big 12, leading the conference in scoring defense (54.7 ppg), field-goal percentage defense (.342), 3-point defense (.258) and blocked shots (6.2 bpg). Baylor can score too. The Bears are third in the Big 12 in scoring offense at 73.5 points per game and shoot 45 percent from the field.
Senior guard Angela Tisdale, a 2007 second team All-Big 12 pick, leads the Bears at 15 points and 3.2 assists per game. She's also BU's top 3-point shooter with 50 on the season. Junior forward Rachel Allison is second on the team in scoring at 13.2 points per game and leads the Bears and ranks second in the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.7 per contest. Junior forward Jessica Morrow averages 12.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest. Danielle Wilson, an All-Big 12 Freshman team member in 2007 who has come off the bench the last two games, averages 10.8 points per game and leads Baylor and ranks third in the Big 12 in blocked shots at 2.7 per game.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 16th meeting between Colorado and Baylor with the Buffaloes holding a slim 8-7 series lead. Baylor has won the last three in the series, including a 75-67 win in Boulder on Feb. 21, 2007. Baylor holds a 4-2 series lead in Waco, winning the last meeting in an 86-40 rout on Feb. 22, 2006. Kathy McConnell-Miller is 0-2 against Baylor as a head coach, both previous meetings with Colorado.
COLORADO AND BAYLOR, LAST 10:
Date Result Date Result
2/21/07 (H) L, 67-75 2/20/02 (A) L, 69-80
2/22/06 (A) L, 40-86 2/3/01 (H) W, 85-66
2/26/05 (H) L, 65-84 2/23/00 (A) L, 90-91 OT
1/7/04 (A) W, 69-59 2/20/99 (H) L, 52-62
1/29/03 (H) W, 66-59 1/10/98 (A) L, 57-76
JONES CUP REUNION: Colorado's Jackie McFarland and Baylor's Rachel Allison will battle against each other on Wednesday, but the two were teammates -- along with Baylor guard Jhasmin Player who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury -- this last July with the U.S. William Jones Cup team. McFarland averaged 9.7 points and 4.5 rebounds and led Team USA in field-goal percentage (.571) while Allison averaged 10.8 points and seven rebounds and Player averaged 10.2 points and 3.8 rebounds as Team USA brought home a bronze medal from the six-game tournament held in Taipei, Taiwan.
GOOD OMEN?: Colorado has referenced its 69-59 win at Baylor on Jan. 7, 2004, several times this season as its successes have netted various firsts dating back to that game including, a win over a ranked team, winning the Big 12 opener on the road and highest margin of victory in a road league contest.
Now it's time for one more. The Buffaloes will be looking for their first road win against a Big 12 Southern Division team since that win over the Bears to start the 2004 Big 12 slate. CU has dropped its last 13 on the road in the Big 12 Southern Division, including its last trip to Waco, 86-40 in 2006.
PLAYING WELL AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: With its 73-68 win over No. 15 (AP & WBCA) Kansas State on Feb. 23, Colorado moved to 3-3 on the season against ranked opponents. The three wins are the most by the Buffaloes since sporting a 3-7 mark against the nation's Top 25 in 2003-04.
CU will be looking for its fourth win over a ranked team this season when it faces No. 8/9 Baylor which would be its most since winning six during the 2001-02 schedule. The Buffs would also be looking for their first winning record against ranked teams since the 1996-97 squad was 6-4 against the Top 25.
The Wildcats are the highest ranked team the Buffaloes have beaten since defeating No. 15 Notre Dame, 67-63 on Nov. 15, 2003. It's the highest ranked team the Buffs have beaten as an unranked team since knocking off No. 12 North Carolina 86-67 in the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament in Boulder.
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 on Dec. 5 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 the NCAA Tournament win over UNC.
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 was 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 the Baylor game in 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.
Colorado's losses against the Top 25 this year have been competitive, if not downright close calls. No. 10/10 Oklahoma used a strong second half to pull away 82-66 on Feb. 9 in Norman as did No. 21/18 Oklahoma State in an 81-72 decision on Feb. 2 in Boulder. CU led No. 19/16 Texas A&M for most the game before a late comeback allowed the Aggies to leave Boulder with a 72-68 decision on Jan. 16.
SMITH'S RECORD NIGHT FROM '3': Sophomore Bianca Smith tied three different school 3-point field goal records during CU's 67-52 win over Texas on Feb. 16. Smith tied school marks for 3-pointers made in one game with seven, and also 3-pointers made and attempted in one half by hitting 5-of-9 in the first 20 minutes. It's the fifth time a CU player has had seven 3-pointers in one game, done by four players (Kate Fagan did it twice). Veronica Johns-Richardson was the last to do it, against Northern Colorado on Dec. 29, 2004. Smith's five first half 3-pointers matched efforts by Shelley Sheetz at Tennessee on Dec. 20, 1993 and Fagan at Syracuse on Dec. 31, 2002. Her nine first half 3-point attempts matched Sheetz's nine at Tennessee.
Smith, who finished with a career-high 26 points on that night and followed that performance up with five more 3-pointers in the win over Kansas State, continues to move up the ladder on CU's single season and career 3-point charts. Her 67 3-pointers this season ties Mandy Nightingale (2001-02) for sixth on CU's single-season list and leaves her just 12 shy of Kate Fagan's single-season school record of 79 set in 2003-04. She has 99 career 3-pointers ranking eighth on CU's all-time list and needs 11 to pass Alexis Felts (1994-98) for seventh. Smith's 176 3-point attempts this season are the fifth most in team history while her 268 career attempts rank eighth.
AWARDS PILING UP FOR McFARLAND: Jackie McFarland was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team for the third straight year, this time as a first team member, announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America on Feb. 26.
McFarland earned second team honors in 2006 and 2007. She is Colorado's third three-time Academic All-American joining Jim Hansen (Football, 1990-92) and Kelly Smith (Cross Country/Track & Field, 1996-98).
Sporting a 3.86 GPA, McFarland 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.
McFarland is currently one of 10 finalists for the 2008 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. She was one of 30 original nominees for the Senior CLASS Award that was pared down to 10 finalists by a national media committee.
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.
McFarland is a 2008 Naismith Award semifinalist and she was tabbed as a preseason first team All-Big 12 selection and one of the top five power forwards in the country by ESPN.com.
Fans nationwide can vote on the Senior CLASS Award finalists from now through March 21. Fan balloting, available on the award's official website www.seniorclassaward.com, will be combined with votes from coaches, media and sponsors to determine the recipient of the award. Winners will be announced during the NCAA Men's and Women's Final Four.
SMITH, SPEARS EARN BIG 12 WEEKLY HONORS: Colorado has been recognized with Big 12 weekly honors three times 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 and again Feb. 11.
In her most recent honor, Spears averaged 19 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 blocks while hitting 48 percent from the field in games against Nebraska and No. 10 (AP & WBCA) Oklahoma. Her other honor came right before the beginning of the Big 12 season as she 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.
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. 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 23 home games.
BLOCK PARTY: Colorado is blocking shots at a near-record pace. The Buffaloes rank third in the Big 12, and second during conference only contests, at 5.4 blocks per game. CU's 5.4 average puts them right on pace to equal the school single-season record of 162 set in 2000-01. CU's 140 blocks in 2007-08 currently ranks fourth on the team's single-season list. Freshman Brittany Spears leads the way with 43 blocks while sophomore Aija Putnina is second with 35. It's the first time since the 2001-02 season the Buffaloes have two players with 30 or more blocks in one year. Britt Hartshorn led the 2001-02 team with 46 while Tera Bjorklund had 37. Of course we can't forget about senior Jackie McFarland who happens to rank fourth on CU's all-time blocks list with 129. She has 29 this season which means one more block would give the Buffaloes three players with 30 or more blocks for the first time in team history.
CU's high for a game this season was 13 against Dartmouth, 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. The Buffaloes, who have three games this season with 10 or more blocks, rank 11th in the NCAA in blocked shots through games of Feb. 24.
3-POINTERS FALLING: Colorado's 3-point shooting is starting to heat up again after a cold start to the Big 12 season. The Buffaloes are making 6.2 3-pointers a game and hitting 31 percent during the league schedule. CU is coming off a two-game homestand in which the Buffs hit 21-of-50 from 3-point range (.420) including 12 against Kansas State. The Buffaloes are near to clinching their most prolific season from 3-point range in team history. Colorado's 189 3-point field goals rank second on the team single-season list and the Buffs are just eight away from breaking the 2001-02 team record of 196. CU's 583 3-point field goal attempts are a school record, shattering the old mark of 501 set in 2001-02.
Colorado is second in the Big 12 Conference and ranks 13th in the nation in 3-point field goals per game at 7.3. The Buffaloes have a school single-season record eight 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. For the first time in school history, CU has six different players with 10 or more 3-pointers. Sophomore Bianca Smith leads the team with 67, Brittany Spears is second with 43 followed by Susie Powers (22), Jackie McFarland (13), Whitney Houston (12) and Hannah Skildum (11).
NUMBERS FOR McFARLAND: Jackie McFarland has had seven double-doubles this season which is tied for third in the Big 12. She ranks second in CU history in career double-doubles with 44 and has tied Erin Scholz (1993-97) for second in career double-digit rebounding games with 46 after her 10-point, 10-rebound effort against Texas on Feb. 13.
McFarland now has 1,778 career points and moved into third place on CU's all-time scoring list during the win over Kansas State, passing former CU All-American Shelley Sheetz who had 1,775 from 1991-95. She is one of only two players -- joining Lisa Van Goor -- to have 1,700 points and 900 rebounds in a career and needs just 22 points and 21 rebounds to make it 1,800 and 1,000.
McFarland is CU's all-time leader in free-throws made with 526, and ranks second in free-throw attempts (685), fourth in blocked shots (129), fifth in field-goals made (613) and sixth in minutes (3,624).
She is 42 points away from becoming the only player in team history to score 500 points in three different seasons. McFarland is 19 free throws made away from breaking her own single-season school record of 161 set in 2006-07.
1,000th GAME: Colorado's 80-71 loss to Nebraska on Feb. 6 marked the 1,000th game in team history. In their 34th season, the Buffaloes sport an all-time record of 623-381 heading into Wednesday's game. CU's 623 wins rank fifth among Big 12 teams -- with Kansas and Kansas State having played six more seasons than the Buffs -- and its .621 winning percentage ranks fourth trailing only Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas State.
DEFENSE IN THE KANSAS GAME: Colorado's 59-41 win over Kansas was won, in large part thanks to its defense. The 41 points allowed to the Jayhawks tied for the third lowest against a Big 12 opponent during the regular season. Three of the four lowest totals have come against the Jayhawks:
35 -- Colorado 70, at Kansas 35, Jan. 16, 2002
40 -- Colorado 69, at Texas A&M 40, Feb. 8, 1997
41 -- at Colorado 59, Kansas 41, Jan. 22, 2008
41 -- at Colorado 80, Kansas 41, Jan. 29, 2002
The 18-point margin of victory was also the highest by a Kathy McConnell-Miller led team in a Big 12 game, beating the previous margin of 14 against Iowa State on Jan. 10, 2007 (81-67).
YOUTH SERVED: Colorado's freshman class was key in the Buffaloes win over Kansas combining for 31 points, the most by a freshman class since the trio of Whitney Houston (25), Candace Rucker (6) and Aija Putnina (3) combined for 34 in a 70-68 overtime loss at Kansas last season. Brittany Spears led the way with 14 points while Courtney Dunn pitched in a career-high nine points and Britney Blythe had eight off the bench.
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 at times this season.
The Buffaloes have held six opponents under 50 points in 2007; 29-vs. Texas Southern, 38-vs. Southern Utah, 41-vs. Kansas, 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' six sub-50 point defensive performances are the most in one season since the 2002-03 squad registered nine.
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.
Colorado's season-long defensive efforts are on pace to rank among some of the best in team history. The Buffs have allowed opponents just 38.2 percent shooting from the field, which would rank third in the CU record book behind the 1980-81 (.358) and 1981-82 (.375) teams. CU has allowed just 60.7 points per contest and holds a 3.8 per game rebounding advantage. Both numbers would rank eighth on CU's all-time list if the season had ended.
RANKING OF OUR OWN: Colorado did not receive votes in either the AP or WBCA Top 25 polls released this week. CU had at least received votes for six-straight weeks from Dec. 10 through Jan. 22. The Buffaloes were ranked in four straight 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.
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.
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.
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 318-97 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.766). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CECC in 20 of the previous 30 years including this season, after notching win No. 10 against Texas on Feb. 16. The Buffaloes have enjoyed five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94) at the CECC.
ON THE ROAD: Colorado is 4-6 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) and one more would match CU's win total from the previous three seasons (5-28). 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.
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.
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 were part of the Big 12's national package with FSN: Jan. 13 against Iowa State at home and 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.
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).
UP NEXT: Colorado will play its final Big 12 road game of the season, facing the University of Nebraska on Sunday, March 2, at 1:05 p.m. MST at the Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln.