Buffs At Seton Hall Tuesday
THE GAME: The University of Colorado faces its second road test of the season playing at Seton Hall University on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. MST in Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, N.J.
BROADCAST: Tuesday's game can be heard live on KKZN AM 760. Mike Rice will deliver play-by-play with Carol Callan of USA Basketball providing color commentary. Live internet audio of all CU basketball games is available through Yahoo! Sports.
OPENING TIP: Colorado is out for its first road win of 2008, matching up with Seton Hall for the first time in team history.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 3-3 overall coming off its best defensive performance of the season in a 73-39 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 2. The Buffaloes hope to carry the momentum from their home win onto the road, searching for their first win away from Coors since the 2008 Big 12 Conference opener at Missouri on Jan. 9, 2008.
Sophomore Brittany Spears leads Colorado and ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring at 21.3 points per game. She recorded her second double-double of the season by scoring a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. She has the highest individual scoring output in the Big 12 this season, notching 36 against UMass in the first round of the Coors Classic, a Classic record and tying for the third best total in team history (Jasmina Ilic scored 36 against Nebraska on Jan. 4, 2006). Spears, who was named to the Coors Classic All-Tournament Team, ranks fifth in the Big 12 in rebounding (8.7 rpg), 9th in 3-point field goals made (1.8 3mpg and percentage (.286), 13th in free-throw percentage (.703) and 14th in field-goal percentage (.484).
Senior center Kara Richards is off to her best start since her freshman year, averaging 13.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks over the first six games. Richards tops CU and the Big 12 in field-goal percentage at 63.3 percent (31-of-45). She's eclipsed the 20 point mark twice this season, including a career-high 25 in the win over Colorado State, which included a personal best 9-of-9 performance from the free throw line. She's just 18 points away from passing her junior season point total of 97 in 30 games.
Junior guard Bianca Smith has averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in the early season totals. The scoring is not a surprise for Smith, but the rebound numbers are vastly improved. She held a career 1.7 rebound per game average coming into this season, but had a personal-best 12 rebounds -- all defensive -- against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, her first double-digit rebounding total. She has six or more rebounds in six of her last seven games, dating back to last season.
True freshman guard Alyssa Fressle has started the season's first six games averaging 10.0 points, 3.5 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game. She ranks second in the Big 12 in steals and is the top league freshman. Fressle is tied for seventh in the Big 12 in assists and is 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.9). She logged a team season-high eight assists in the win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, filling out the stat sheet quite nicely by adding eight points, four steals and three rebounds.
Sophomore point guard Kelly Jo Mullaney is averaging 5.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Mullaney scored 14 points and dished out six assists in win over Colorado State, a team which she played for in 2006-07.
Colorado's bench, albeit short due to injuries, has been very productive. Freshman forward Julie Seabrook has averaged 3.7 points and 4.0 rebounds while hitting 9-of-14 from the field. Senior Hannah Skildum recorded 10 points on 4-of-7 from the field against Drexel for her best scoring output since she had 11 against Siena in 2007 and is CU's leading scorer off the bench, averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. Sophomore center Courtney Dunn is averaging 3.2 points and 3.0 rebounds and is tied for the team lead with five blocked shots.
Colorado is averaging 70 points per game while allowing 62.5 to opponents, after holding Arkansas-Pine Bluff to a season-low 39. The Buffaloes are shooting 42 percent from the field and 65 percent from the free throw line. Colorado's field goal percentage defense has been good, limiting opponents to just 35 percent from the floor and 26 percent from 3-point range, but opponents are enjoying a 2.5 rebound per game edge over the Buffaloes.
ABOUT THE PIRATES: Seton Hall is 5-1 overall, with its lone loss coming at San Diego, 74-72, on Nov. 28. The Pirates are a perfect 5-0 at home and coming off a 73-52 win over Marshall on Dec. 6. Seton Hall is averaging 78.8 points per game, and take away the Pirates' first game total in a 64-48 win over Rider, they're averaging 81.8 per contest. Seton Hall gets over one quarter of its points from the free throw line. The Pirates are hitting 73 percent from the charity stripe, making 133 of 183 attempts. They have eight players that have made at least 10 free throws on the season. Seton Hall is also a solid rebounding team, grabbing 48 per game and holding an advantage of almost 15 per game over its opponents.
Senior forward Noteisha Womack leads Seton Hall's balanced scoring attack at 15.8 points per game and leads the team in rebounding at 13 per contest. She registered a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Marshall. She's extremely aggressive on the offensive boards, actually totalling more offensive rebounds (27) than defensive (25). Sophomore guard Ebonie Williams leads the Pirates in assists (17) and is second in scoring at 15.5 per contest. Freshman forward Kandice Green has come off the bench in all six games this season and ranks second on the team in rebounding (8.7 rpg) and third in scoring (13.5 ppg). She and teammate Nicole Emery each scored a game-high 18 points in the win over Marshall. Green leads Seton Hall's free throw barrage, hitting 29-of-38 through six games.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the first meeting between Colorado and Seton Hall. The Buffaloes are 10-8 all-time against the Big East Conference. Two of those games against the Big East came in the 2008 postseason WNIT. The Buffaloes defeated Villanova 64-58 in the third round and lost to eventual champion Marquette 86-72 in the semifinals.
Kathy McConnell-Miller has never faced Seton Hall as a head coach.
MORE ON SPEARS SCORING: Sophomore Brittany Spears' scoring numbers have been impressive over the first six games and ranks among the best totals in team history. Her 128 points and 21.3 points per game average ranks fourth on CU's all-time list through the first six games off the season. Her 36 points against UMass tied for third all-time on the Buffs' single-game chart. Spears trails only former teammate and CU's second all-time leading scorer Jackie McFarland who is on the list twice, and Jamillah Lang who averaged 24.8 points in 1993-94, en route to setting Colorado's single-season record for scoring average at 19.2 per game.
CU All-Time Best Through Six Games
Player (season) Points Avg.
1 Jamillah Lang (1993-94) 149 24.8
2 Jackie McFarland (2005-06) 140 23.3
3 Jackie McFarland (2006-07) 129 21.5
4 Brittany Spears (2008-09) 128 21.3
5 Tera Bjorklund (2003-04) 126 21.0
6 Tera Bjorklund (2002-03) 118 19.7
SCORING EARLY AND OFTEN AT COORS: The Buffaloes offense started the season red hot, breaking the 80-point mark in their first two games (89.5 ppg). It was the first time CU opened the season with back-to-back 80-plus point games since the 2002-03 campaign when the Buffs began with home wins over Rice (85-66) and Detroit Mercy (86-43). The 179 combined points were CU's most since 2000-01 when the Buffs scored 189 in wins over Albany (93-43) and Howard (96-45).
AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: Colorado is 50-108 all-time against ranked teams, after falling to No. 16/11 Virginia on Nov. 24. CU had one of its more successful years against ranked teams in 2007-08, sporting a 3-4 records. Prior to the 2007-08 season, the Buffs had suffered 23 straight losses against ranked opponents from 2004-07.
ON THIS DATE: Colorado is 4-3 all-time on Dec. 9, and 2-1 on the road. One of those two road wins came last season as the Buffaloes upset No. 20/17 Vanderbilt, 62-51, in Nashville.
Colorado is 151-67 all-time in the month of December. The Buffaloes were a perfect 7-0 last December and have won their last nine in the 12th month, dating back to 2006.
BUFFS IN OPENERS: Colorado improved to 30-5 (.857) all-time in season openers and an outstanding 33-2 (.942) all-time in home openers. Colorado has never lost its overall season opener when played at home (23-0).
HOUSTON TO MISS SEASON, DALE TO COME BACK SOON: Junior guard Whitney Houston will miss the 2008-09 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee on Sept. 24 during team individual workouts. She had successful surgery in October and will be able to use her redshirt season and have two years of eligibility remaining.
Houston has averaged 6.1 points and 1.8 assists for the Buffaloes in 59 games over the past two seasons. She was a starter in 20 of those and was in the mix for the starting point guard position once again. Houston was CU's leader in scoring (4.3 ppg) and assists (1.4 apg) among those that primarily came off the bench in 2007-08 and averaged 6.5 points and just under two assists over the final 15 games.
Sophomore guard Chelsea Dale, who underwent successful surgery to stabilize ligaments in her right ankle in early September, should be available soon. Dale has been practicing with the team and is expected to make her season debut within the next few games. Dale saw action in 12 games as a true freshman in 2007-08.
BUFFS PICKED 11TH...AGAIN: For the third straight season Colorado was picked to finish 11th in the annual Big 12 Conference Preseason Coaches Poll.
Oklahoma was picked to win the 2009 title with seven first place votes and 124 points overall. Texas, earning one first place vote, edged out Iowa State for second place with 95 points. The Cyclones, who actually claimed a pair of first place votes came in third with 93. Baylor was fourth with 89 (and one first place vote), followed by Texas A&M (85), Oklahoma State (79, and one first place vote), Kansas State (71), Nebraska (56), Kansas (41), Texas Tech (36), Colorado (18) and Missouri (15).
The Buffaloes have fared better than the Big 12 coaches preseason prediction each of the last three seasons under Kathy McConnell-Miller:
Season Preseason Actual
2008-09 11th ??
2007-08 11th 9th
2006-07 11th t-7th
2005-06 12th 11th
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Colorado once again faces a tough schedule with no less than 17 games against 2008 NCAA or WNIT tournament teams. Seven of CU's opponents are ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma State and Iowa State. Six of those seven are ranked in the latest regular season Associated Press poll, with Iowa State the fourth team listed in the others receiving votes category. Kansas State, Nebraska and Texas Tech received votes in the coaches poll while K-State joined ISU in the AP receiving votes group.
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 325-100 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.765). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CECC in 20 of the previous 30 years including a 15-6 mark in 2007-08. The Buffaloes have enjoyed five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94) at the CECC.
BUFFS ON TV: Colorado's schedule features seven games that will be televised either regionally or nationally, all at home and on FSN Rocky Mountain. The Buffaloes will host Nebraska on Saturday, Jan. 31 in a nationally televised contest on FSN. Other games on CU's FSN Rocky Mountain schedule are Colorado State (Nov. 19), Baylor (Jan. 10), Oklahoma (Jan. 21), Texas Tech (Jan. 28), Iowa State (Feb. 7) and Missouri (Feb. 28).
UP NEXT: Colorado returns home to host Southern University on Friday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.