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Buffs, Rams To Battle Friday

Dec 10, 2009

THE GAME: The University of Colorado will play its final non conference road game of the season as the Buffaloes head north to face Colorado State University on Friday, Dec. 11, at 7:05 p.m. at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo.

BROADCAST: All Colorado women's basketball games can be heard live on KKZN AM 760. Mike Rice will handle play-by-play duties with USA Basketball's Carol Callan providing the color commentary. Live internet audio of all CU basketball games is available on BuffsRadio, a subscription service through

OPENING TIP: Colorado is off to a 6-1 start, its best since 2003-04 when the Buffaloes started out 12-1 and eventually advanced to the program's last NCAA Tournament appearance.

THE BUFFALOES: Colorado will be looking for its fifth straight win which would match the longest streak since a similar run to close out the 2008-09 non conference schedule. The Buffaloes are out to stop a six game losing streak on an opponents home court, dating back to a 61-56 win at Missouri on Jan. 24, 2009. After Friday's game with the Rams, Colorado will play its next six at home, including the Big 12 Conference opener against Missouri on Jan. 9, 2010.

Colorado has won four straight, and five in a row at home including an 80-54 win over Seton Hall on Dec. 6 at the Coors Events Center. Four Buffaloes scored in double-digits led by Brittany Spears who recorded her 19th career double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman guard Chucky Jeffery had career highs with 19 points and a team season-best six assists. Bianca Smith had 11 points and Alyssa Fressle had 10.

Spears leads the Buffaloes in scoring (19.4 ppg) and rebounding (9.9 rpg). Smith leads Colorado in 3-point shooting (20-of-49) and is second in scoring at 12.4 per contest. Colorado's depth is starting to show with seven players averaging at least five points per game and seven averaging at least two rebounds per contest.

ABOUT THE RAMS: Colorado State is 6-3 overall, already more than half way to its total of 10 wins in 2008-09. The Rams are coming off a third place finish at the University of California Colliers International Tournament, dropping a first round game to the No. 22 ranked and host Cal Bears, 78-44, while rebounding to defeat Southern Illinois 62-53 in the consolation game. The Rams are a perfect 4-0 at home to start the season, averaging just under 64 points per game.

Sophomore guard/forward Kim Mestdagh is leading the way for the Rams averaging 19.4 points per game. She has hit 35 3-pointers through nine games, making 44 percent of her shots from downtown. Sophomore forward Meghan Heimstra is CSU's top rebounder at 10 per contest and is averaging 9.9 points per game. Junior guard Bonnie Barbee averages 10.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 41st meeting between Colorado and Colorado State, the second-most played non-conference series for the Buffaloes in team history (Wyoming-42). CU holds a 30-10 series lead over Colorado State and has won the last three and six of the last seven meetings. The Buffaloes are 10-2 all-time against the Rams in Fort Collins, including the last meeting, an 82-47 decision on Dec. 1, 2007.

Kathy McConnell-Miller is 4-2 against Colorado State has a head coach, including an 3-1 mark with CU.


Date                       Result                   Date                       Result
11/19/08 (H)         W, 93-63               12/3/03 (A)            W, 81-74
12/1/07 (A)            W, 82-47               12/12/02 (H)          W, 65-51
11/29/06 (H)         W, 56-51               11/28/01 (A)          L, 69-81
11/30/05 (A)          L, 83-86                12/6/00 (H)            L, 70-72
12/8/04 (H)            W, 83-77               12/1/99 (A)            L, 67-73\

SPEARS' HOT START: Brittany Spears is off to a great start. Her 19.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game both rank second in the Big 12 Conference. She has a Big 12-best four double-doubles so far this season. Spears is also fifth in steals (2.4 spg) and minutes (33.1 mpg), tied for seventh in blocks (1.6 bpg), eighth in free-throw percentage (.806), and 10th in 3-point field goals (2.1 3mpg) and offensive rebounds (3.0 orpg) on the Big 12 charts.

SPEARS EARNS BIG 12 HONOR: Junior Brittany Spears was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Co-Player of the Week by a media voting panel for games from Nov. 16-22, the league office announced on Nov. 23.

Spears was named to the Minnesota Subway Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds in two games. She scored 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds in a season-low 25 minutes in the 63-49 win over Illinois-Chicago. She then recorded her 17th career double-double and second of the season with a game-high 27 points and 13 rebounds against Minnesota in the tournament final. She reached a double-double before intermission with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. Spears hit 10-of-20 shots from the field and added four assists and four steals.

Spears earns her fifth career Big 12 weekly honor, and first as Player of the Week. She earned four Big 12 Rookie of the Week citations as a freshman in 2007-08. It's also the first Big 12 weekly honor for the Buffaloes since Alyssa Fressle gained Rookie of the Week honors in the final week of the 2008-09 season.

SMITH OFF THE BENCH, SAME RESULTS: After starting the entire 2008-09 season, senior guard Bianca Smith has come off the bench for the first seven games of 2009 without missing a beat. She is averaging 12.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and is still displaying her sharp-shooting abilities. Smith leads CU and is fourth in the Big 12 with 20 3-pointers in her first seven games and hitting 41 percent from downtown. She is also CU's and the Big 12's top free-throw shooter making 15 of her first 16 attempts on the season (.938).

Through Dec. 10, Smith ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring for those players primarily coming off the bench (starting less than half of a team's games). Here are the current leaders:

Player, Team                                           PPG
Brittainey Raven, Texas                         14.8
Danielle Adams, Texas A&M                 14.6
Bianca Smith, Colorado                        12.4
Carlee Roethlisberger, Oklahoma       9.8
Ashley Field, Baylor                                8.0

GETTING 'ER DUNN: Senior center Courtney Dunn, who has started the last five games, had a career night against Denver, logging personal bests with 16 points, 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line. Her 16 points equaled her total for the first five games of the season combined. Her previous career high was nine against Kansas (1/22/08), a mark she eclipsed in the first half alone (14).

JEFFERY'S BIG TOURNEY: Freshman Chucky Jeffery was named to the 2009 Omni Hotels Classic All-Tournament Team. Over the two games she averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 steals and shot 61 percent (11-of-16). She had 11 points, six rebounds and a team season-high five steals in the first round win over Georgia Southern. Shot 5-of-8 from the field against the Eagles. Scored a career high 14 points against Harvard, including the decisive basket on a driving layup with five seconds remaining in the game as the Buffaloes won 67-65. Hit 6-of-9 from the field (67 percent) and recorded five rebounds, four assists and one block.

MULLANEY'S HOME COOKING: No one was looking more forward to CU's trip to Minnesota than Minneapolis native Kelly Jo Mullaney, and she responded in a big way. Against Illinois-Chicago, Mullaney came off the bench to score 13 points and record a career-high seven rebounds in the win. She also played well in the classic final against Minnesota with nine points on 3-of-4 from the field.

HOUSTON WE HAVE A RETURN, DESPITE BUMPS: Junior Whitney Houston made her much anticipated return to the CU lineup against UC Irvine. Houston redshirted last year after a preseason knee injury forced her to miss the 2008-09 campaign. She finished with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting with two steals in 26 minutes. Houston hit a couple of big buckets down the stretch, including a layup which gave the Buffaloes their first lead at 54-52 with just 1:37 left in the game.

She sat out the Illinois-Chicago game due to a slight concussion sustained in the UC Irvine game, but returned against Minnesota two days later and put up nearly identical numbers, scoring 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting while dishing out three assists.

IMPRESSIVE POINT SWING: The 63 point swing from last year's 77-40 loss to Seton Hall to this year's 80-54 win is the second largest in a series in team history (games no longer than two seasons apart). The Buffaloes had a 67 point swing against Idaho State during the 1981-82 season. Here are the top point swings in team history.

Opponent         Margin         Date      Margin          Date        Difference
Idaho State        -6 (55-61)     1/22/82  +61 (116-55) 2/13/82    +67
Seton Hall         -37 (40-77)   12/9/08  +26 (80-54)   12/6/09    +63
Nebraska           -41 (49-90)   1/6/99    +17 (70-53)   1/23/99    +58
Colorado State   -39 (42-81)   2/6/75    +15 (53-38)   11/20/75  +54
Illinois                 -44 (44-88)   1/4/98    +8 (78-70)     12/28/99  +52
Texas A&M        -9 (60-69)     1/6/92    +41 (92-51)   12/31/92  +50

FRESHMAN DEBUTS: A pair of true freshmen made their collegiate debuts and made significant contributions to the Buffaloes come-back win against UC Irvine. Forward Meagan Malcolm-Peck got the starting nod and responded with six points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Guard Chucky Jeffery came off the bench and registered four points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Malcolm-Peck's start marked the fourth straight year the Buffaloes have had a freshman in the initial season starting lineup. The three others: Bianca Smith in 2006, Brittany Spears in 2007 and Alyssa Fressle in 2008.

Two additional players from CU's heralded freshman class saw court action for the first time in Minnesota. Brenna Malcolm-Peck and Melissa MacFarlane saw spot duty in the win over Illinois-Chicago, each playing five minutes. The 6-foot-7 MacFarlane was fouled literally one second into her collegiate debut, off an inbounds pass, and hit 1-of-2 from the line. MacFarlane also had three rebounds and a block against the Flames. Brenna Malcolm-Peck recorded one defensive rebound in her debut.

REBOUNDING WOWS: Colorado has enjoyed early success on the boards. The Buffaloes began the season with back-to-back 50-plus rebounding efforts, corralling 50 against UC Irvine in the season opener and improving on that mark with 52 against Illinois-Chicago.

Colorado had just one game all of 2008-09 with 50 or more rebounds, notching 51 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 2. CU's 52 rebounds against Illinois-Chicago were its most since recording 58 at Colorado State on Dec. 1, 2007.

The Buffaloes back-to-back 50-rebound effort was the teams first since stringing together three straight from Nov. 20-24, 2001 (50 vs. San Diego, 59 vs. Bowling Green, 50 vs. Houston). CU wasn't able to get a third 50-rebound game this time, grabbing just 24 against Minnesota, but it should be noted that both teams shot right at 50 percent from the field in that game, leaving rebounds at a premium (UM won the rebounding battle 32-24).

Against UC Irvine, Brittany Spears led the way with 14 while Meagan Malcolm-Peck grabbed 11 in her CU debut. It marked the first time the Buffs had two players reach double-digits in rebounds since Brittany Spears and Julie Seabrook each had 13 against Idaho State on Dec. 30, 2008. In the Illinois-Chicago game, the rebounds were well distributed. No one had double digits, but six players had four or more rebounds and all 10 that played had at least one.

Back to UC Irvine, Malcom-Peck's 11 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end, put her in some exclusive CU company. Her 11 boards are the third most in team history by a freshman in her CU debut and the most in 27 years:

No.   Player                                  Opponent
16     Monica Kosenski                vs. Northern Arizona, 11/28/86
13     Kim Jackson                        vs. UTEP, 11/19/82
11     Meagan Malcolm-Peck    vs. UC Irvine 11/17/09
10     Randie Wirt                         vs. Albany, 11/17/00
10     Lisa Van Goor                     vs. Colorado Women's, 11/18/80
9       Crystal Ford                         vs. Adams State, 11/23/85
8       Jamillah Lang                     vs. Gonzaga, 11/23/90

Chucky Jeffery had seven rebounds in her debut. She is one of eight different players, a list that includes Brittany Spears (at San Francisco, 11/16/07), to reach that number in her first collegiate game.

MEMORABLE COMEBACK: Colorado's comeback from a 14-point halftime deficit to win against UC Irvine ties for the third-largest margin achieved in team history. The Buffaloes trailed the Anteaters 33-19 at the break before outscoring them 42-23 in the final 20 minutes.

Colorado came back from 19 down against the University of Washington on Dec. 21, 1982, at the Guisti Tournament in Portland, Ore.CU trailed 35-16 at halftime before winning 67-65. Colorado came back from 15 points down against Kansas State on Jan. 31, 2007, that game included a 23-0 second half run.

CU's Top Halftime Comebacks:
Date          Opp.                             Half             Final                 Margin
12/21/82   Washington (N)         UW 35-16   CU 67-65        19
1/31/07     Kansas State (H)       KS 39-24    CU 66-55        15
11/15/09   UC Irvine (H)             UCI 33-19  CU 61-56        14
12/1/83     Wyoming (A)              UW 35-21   CU 57-56        14
12/20/03   Southern Cal (A)       SC 39-27    CU 69-67        12
2/19/00     Texas (H)                    UT 38-26    CU 79-65        12

CLIMBING THE LADDERS: Junior Brittany Spears and Senior Bianca Smith continue to make their impressions on the CU record book.

Spears, who became just the second player in team history (Lisa Van Goor) to reach 1,000 points as a sophomore, is 17th on CU's all-time scoring list with 1,138. She is 16th in rebounds with 555, needing 17 to catch Susan Horner (1977-79) for 15th place. Spears is also seventh in blocked shots (96) and eighth in 3-pointers made (116) and attempted (355).

Smith is fifth in career 3-point field goals made (195) and third in attempts (523). She needs three 3-pointers to move into fourth place on CU's all-time list. Smith would need 77 total 3-pointers this year to break Shelley Sheetz's career mark of 252, but it's possible. Smith holds CU's single-season mark hitting 80 from downtown in 2007-08.

CAPTAINS NAMED: Before the season opener head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller announced that Brittany Spears, Whitney Houston and Bianca Smith were named captains for the 2009-10 season. Smith is a captain for the second straight year while Houston and Spears are first time captains. CU captains are voted on by the players.

BUFFS IN OPENERS: Colorado is now 31-5 (.861) all-time in season openers and started the season with a home game for the 24th time in 36 seasons. Colorado is an outstanding 34-2 (.944) all-time in home openers. Colorado has never lost its overall season opener when played at home (24-0).

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Colorado once again faces a tough schedule with potentially 16 games -- or 55 percent of the regular season schedule -- against 2009 NCAA or WNIT tournament teams. Seven of CU's 2009-10 opponents are ranked in the current Associated Press poll while six are ranked in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches poll.

HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 335-106 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.760). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CECC in 20 of the previous 31 years. The Buffaloes have enjoyed five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94) at the CECC.

BUFFS ON TV: Colorado's regular season schedule features nine games that will be televised either regionally or nationally, eight of which are at home. CU opened its first of eight FSN Rocky Mountain games on Dec. 2, against Denver. FSN Rocky Mountain will also televise home games against Virginia (Jan. 2), Missouri (Jan. 9), Iowa State (Jan. 16), Oklahoma State (Jan. 24), Nebraska (Jan. 30), Texas (Feb. 10) and Kansas (Feb. 16). The games against Missouri and Oklahoma State will be televised nationally on FSN as part of the network's Big 12 package. Colorado's game at Kansas State (Jan. 20) is set to air on FSN Kansas City.

Colorado was 2-5 in televised games during the 2008-09 regular season. CU has appeared on 72 regional or national telecasts over the previous eight seasons.

BUFFS SIGN THREE: Shae Kelley, Ashley Wilson and Brittany Wilson have signed National Letters of Intent to play basketball and continue their education at the University of Colorado in 2010-11, CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller announced Nov. 12, during the NCAA early signing period. Kelley, a 6-foot forward from Denver, is a two-time All-State honorable mention and All-Denver Prep League pick out of East High School. Kelley will be the fifth Denver Public Schools player to suit up for the Buffaloes and the first since Montbello's Nikki Weddle (1997-99). Ashley and Brittany are identical twin 5-8 guards from Long Beach, Calif. Playing for one of the most storied programs in Southern California, the Wilson twins have won three consecutive CIF Division I state titles with nationally-ranked Long Beach Poly.

SMITH GAINS FULL SEASON: Senior guard Bianca Smith was formally released from the National Letter of Intent she originally signed at the University of Tulsa earlier this summer, allowing her to gain back the semester of eligibility she would have otherwise had to surrender this season. Smith is now eligible to play the entire 2009-10 season for the Buffaloes. Smith, a native of Missouri City, Texas, had signed an NLI in November 2004 with Tulsa, who at the time was coached by current CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller. When McConnell-Miller took over the Colorado program in April 2005, Smith decided to follow her to Boulder.

She never enrolled at Tulsa, but was faced with sitting out two full seasons, one for not honoring her NLI commitment to Tulsa and a second for transferring to another NCAA Division I school. Smith was able to use her redshirt year to fulfill the NCAA transfer obligation, sitting out the 2005-06 season. She successfully petitioned the NLI Appeals Committee in 2005 to gain one semester back, but was still faced with losing one semester under the NLI commitment.

In the spring of 2009 then-CU-Boulder Chancellor Bud Peterson contacted Tulsa President, Dr. Steadman Upham, on behalf of Smith and the University of Colorado to ask for Smith's full release. Thanks to cooperation from both universities and athletic departments, Smith was released and rewarded a full final season. 

BUFFS PICKED 11TH...AGAIN: For the fourth straight season Colorado was picked to finish 11th in the annaul Big 12 Conference Preseason Coaches Poll.

In one of the closest votes at the top in recent memory, Baylor was picked to win the 2010 title with five first place votes and 109 total points, edging out Texas and Kansas who tied for second with 106 points (3 first place votes each). Texas A&M was picked fourth with 87 votes and picked up the final first place vote. Defending champion Oklahoma was fifth (86), followed by Nebraska (80), Iowa State (59), Kansas State (44), Oklahoma State (41), Texas Tech (38), Colorado (22) and Missouri (15).

The Buffaloes have fared better than the Big 12 coaches preseason prediction three of four seasons under Kathy McConnell-Miller:

Season                                Preseason                 Actual
2009-10                               11th                             ??
2008-09                               11th                             12th
2007-08                               11th                             9th
2006-07                               11th                             t-7th
2005-06                               12th                             11th