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CU Opens Big 12 Play By Hosting Missouri

Jan 8, 2010

THE GAME: The University of Colorado opens the 2010 Big 12 Conference season by hosting the University of Missouri on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 12 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.

PROMOTION: Saturday is Youth Day. General admission tickets for kids 13 and under will be just $3 and can be purchased online here or at the door.

BROADCAST: Saturday's game will televised nationally on Fox Sports Net. Drew Goodman will provide the play-by-play with legendary CU coach Ceal Barry providing the color commentary. Due to a conflict with the CU men's basketball game, Saturday's radio broadcast will air on KVCU 1190 AM. 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 CUBuffs.com. Please note the BuffsRadio audio and BuffsTV video are separate subscriptions.

OPENING TIP: Colorado needs just one win to equal its win total for the entire 2008-09 season (11-18).

THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 10-3 overall, finishing the nonconference schedule with double-digit wins for the second time in three years (2007-08).  The Buffaloes closed out non-league play with a 78-71 win over Yale on Jan. 4. CU has won four of its last five and eight of its last 10 overall. Colorado is 9-1 at home this year and will be looking to record double-digit home wins in a season for the 21st time in the last 32 seasons.

TEAM NUMBERS: Colorado is averaging 74 points per game and shooting 44 percent from the field. The Buffaloes have scored 78 points or better in six of the last eight contests. That stretch includes a string of 80-plus points in five straight home games where the Buffaloes shot a combined 50 percent (162-of-321) in those five wins. It was the first time CU has scored 80-plus in five straight at home since the 2001-02 season when the Buffs registered 80 in six straight with wins over San Diego (83-44), Bowling Green (96-44), Houston (88-58), Iowa (92-83),  Air Force (80-47) and Wyoming (81-57).

Colorado shot a season best 59.3 percent in its win over Grambling State (35-59), its best mark since shooting 61.9 percent (26-of-42) in a 77-71 win at Kansas on Feb. 1, 2006.

CU is averaging 8.6 3-pointers per game, ranking second in the Big 12 and eighth in the NCAA through games of Jan. 3. The Buffaloes are also the No. 1 free throw shooting team in the Big 12 at 77 percent (155-of-201). Colorado is averaging 39.4 rebounds per game, and winning the battle of the boards by 3.2 per game. The Buffaloes are also averaging 9.8 steals per game and forcing opponents into 18.5 turnovers per contest.

SPEARS LEADS: Brittany Spears looks to carry the momentum of a strong nonconference season into Big 12 play as she leads Colroado at 19.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. Spears has scored 20 or more points in seven of 13 games and four of her last five. She has now made 56 of her last 108 field goal attempts (.520) and 19-of-35 from 3-point range (.543) during that span.

On the league charts she ranks third in scoring, fourth in steals and defensive rebounds (6.1 drpg), fifth in overall rebounds, eighth in free-throw percentage (.811), blocks (1.5 bpg) and 3-pointers made (2.2 3mpg), ninth in minutes (31.9 mpg) and 14th in 3-point percentage (.403). She has four double-doubles on the season which currently ties for fourth in the Big 12.

SMITH OFF THE BENCH, SAME RESULTS: After starting the entire 2008-09 season, senior guard Bianca Smith has come off the bench for all but one game without missing a beat. She is averaging 14.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game and is still displaying her sharp-shooting abilities. Smith leads the Big 12 with 42 3-pointers and is the Big 12's best free throw shooter making 29 of her first 30 attempts on the season (.967) and has made 21 straight. She is 13th in 3-point accuracy at 42 percent (42-of-100).

Smith ranks 14th in overall scoring in the Big 12 and third among 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                         15.1
Danielle Adams, Texas A&M                14.8
Bianca Smith, Colorado                      14.4
Christine Flores, Missouri                    9.4
Ashley Field, Baylor                               8.4

FRESHMEN THRIVING: Freshmen Chucky Jeffery and Meagan Malcolm-Peck have made major contributions to Colorado's solid start.

Jeffery is third on the team in scoring at 9.5 points per game and is second in steals (2.3 spg) and third in rebounds (5.5 rpg). She tops all Big 12 freshmen in steals and is sixth overall in that category on the league charts. Jeffery had one of the best stat lines of the season in the nonconference finale against Yale recording 19 points on a perfect 7-of-7 from the field to go along with nine assists, seven rebounds, five steals and two blocks. Her nine assists are a career and team season high while her points and steals tied personal bests.

Malcolm-Peck also had a career night in the Big 12 tune up against Yale, matching her classmate with a career best 19 points, including a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range, a team season best percentage. On the team charts, Malcolm-Peck leads CU in blocks (1.8 bpg) and is second in rebounding (5.8 ppg) and fourth in scoring (7.9 ppg). On the Big 12 charts, Malcolm-Peck is fifth in blocks, sixth in offensive rebounds (3.0 orpg) and 15th in 3-point percentage (.400).

FRESSLE HEATING UP: After a slow start, sophomore guard Alyssa Fressle is finding her freshman form that gained her a spot on the 2009 Big 12 All-Rookie team. Fressle is averaging 7.4 points over the last eight games while grabbing 2.5 rebounds and dishing out 2.5 assists per contest during that span. She has shot 50 percent or better in five of the last eight games

GETTING 'ER DUNN: Senior center Courtney Dunn, who has started 11 of the last 12 contests, matched a career high with eight rebounds in the win over Grambling State. She 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).

MULLANEY BOLSTERS BENCH: Junior guard Kelly Jo Mullaney continues to give Colorado key minutes and punch off the bench. She had 11 points on 5-of-6 from the field with five rebounds in the win over Grambling State. She averages 4.4 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Buffaloes and has hit 6-of-12 from 3-point range on the season. She is two-thirds to her 3-point output from 2008-09 when she made nine in 28 games.

ABOUT THE TIGERS: Missouri enters Big 12 play with a 10-3 record. The Tigers had won seven straight before dropping their nonconference finale to No. 16 (AP)/14 (WBCA) Xavier, 68-60, on Jan. 5. Missouri has won two of its three road games this year, picking up wins at Indiana and Bradley. The Tigers average 70.4 points per game, shooting 40 percent from the field and 63 percent from the foul line.

Senior forward Jessra Johnson leads Missouri at 13.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.  Senior forward Amanda Hanneman is second on the team in scoring at 12 points per game and tops the Tigers in 3-pointers with 31, and her 2.8 3-pointers made per game ranks her just behind CU's Bianca Smith (3.2 3mpg) on the league leaderboard. Junior forward Shakara Jones averages 10.7 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 47 percent from the field. Junior guard RaeShara Brown tops the league in steals with 47 and averages 9.1 points and 4.0 assists per outing.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 66th meeting between Colorado and Missouri, becoming the most played series in team history even if only for a few weeks as the Buffaloes will play their 66th game with Nebraska on Saturday, Jan. 30. Colorado holds a 38-27 series lead over Missouri. A win on Saturday would be Colorado's 39th over Missouri which would tie its series against Nebraska (39-26) for its most wins over one team. The Big 12 North rivals split their series last year with both teams winning on the road. Missouri handed CU a 66-55 loss at the Coors Events Center on Feb. 28, 2009, which also snapped a three-game CU win streak in the series. Colorado is 20-8 all-time against Missouri in Boulder and has won 16 of the last 19.

Kathy McConnell-Miller is 4-5 against Missouri as a head coach, 4-4 while with Colorado.

COLORADO AND MISSOURI, LAST 10 GAMES:

Date                       Result                  Date                       Result
2/28/09 (H)         L, 55-66                1/3/07 (H)            W, 71-59
1/24/09 (A)         W, 61-56               2/18/06 (H)         L, 57-72
3/5/08 (H)           W, 63-47               1/18/06 (A)          L, 49-69
1/9/08 (A)            W, 70-58               2/9/05 (H)            L, 55-58
1/28/07 (A)         L, 48-61                1/18/05 (A)          W, 56-51

CU IN BIG 12 OPENERS: This will be the third time in four years that Colorado has opened the Big 12 schedule against Missouri with the Buffaloes prevailing in those two prior meetings -- a 71-59 home win on Jan. 3, 2007 and a 70-58 road win on Jan. 9, 2008. Overall, Colorado is 6-7 in Big 12 openers and 5-8 in its first Big 12 home game of the season. CU lost to No. 6/5 Baylor 63-50 in last season's Big 12 opener. Colorado is 3-4 when opening the overall league season at home. The Buffaloes are 20-15 all-time in conference openers, including the Big Eight and Intermountain Conferences.

BIG 12 HONORS BUFFS: Freshman Meagan Malcolm-Peck was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Freshman of the Week on Dec. 28 for games played from Dec. 21-27. It was CU's second Big 12 weekly honor as junior Brittany Spears was named Co-Player of the Week on Nov. 23 for games from Nov. 16-22.

Malcolm-Peck pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds with four points in Colorado's win over San Jose State - her second double-digit rebounding effort of the season. She also recorded personal bests with four steals and three assists while tying a career high with three blocked shots. Malcolm-Peck's four steals came in the first eight minutes of the game as the Buffaloes built a 46-13 lead in the first half. For Malcolm-Peck it is her first weekly honor.

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 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.

For Spears it was 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.

STEAL-Y EYED: Colorado has been picking up steals in bunches this season. CU logged 11 steals against Yale, giving the Buffs double-digit steals in eight of 13 games this season. CU had only five games with double-digit steals in 2008-09. The eight games of double-digit steals are the most in a season since the Buffaloes had 12 in 2003-04.

SHUTTING DOWN OPPONENT'S 'O' EARLY: Colorado held San Jose State to 13 first-half points. Combined with the 11 allowed against Southern Utah in the previous game, the 24 points in back-to-back first halves are the lowest combined total in team history. The previous low total was 27 in 2001-02 in games against San Diego (36-18) and Bowling Green (53-9).

NUGGETS FROM THE SOUTHERN UTAH GAME: Colorado's 88-36 win over Southern Utah entered the Buffaloes' record book on several fronts:

Colorado's 42 point halftime lead (53-11) tied for the second largest in team history. The Buffaloes also held a 42 point lead against Colorado State on Nov. 16 1979 (63-21). The school record is a 44 point lead CU had against Bowling Green on Nov. 23, 2001 (53-9).

Southern Utah's 11 first half points tied for the fifth fewest by a CU opponent in any half. The school record is 8 set against Kansas State on March 7, 1992 (46-8).

Fewest Points In One Half By An Opponent

Date                Opponent                                Points
3/7/92            vs. Kansas State                       8
11/23/01       vs. Bowling Green                   9
12/9/98         at Wyoming                              10
12/31/91       vs. New Mexcio                       10
12/19/09    vs. Southern Utah                 11
3/17/95         vs. SW Missouri State             11

Colorado's final winning margin of 52 points are CU's most since a 96-44 win over Bowling Green on Nov. 23, 2001.

Southern Utah's 36 total points tied for the 10th fewest allowed in team history and the fewest since giving up 35 to Kansas on Jan. 16, 2002.

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 16th on CU's all-time scoring list with 1,259 needing just 14 points to pass Britt Hartshorn (1,272 from 1998-02) for 15th place. Spears is also seventh in blocked shots (104), eighth in 3-pointers made (130) and attempted (382), 13th in rebounds (599), 15th in steals (144) and 16th in field goals made (463).

Spears' possible climbs Saturday:
1 steal for 13th; 4 steals for 12th
1 field goal for 15th
1 rebound for 600 -- 13th all-time
13 points for 15th in scoring

Smith is third in career 3-point field goals made (217) and attempted (574). She made her 200th career 3-pointer in the win over Southern Utah on Dec. 19. She needs eight more to pass Mandy Nightingale (1998-02) for second place on CU's all-time list. Smith, who currently has 42 3-pointers on the season, would need 77 total 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.

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.

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

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. Eight of CU's 2009-10 opponents are ranked in the current Associated Press poll while seven are ranked in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches poll.

HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 339-107 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) will be produced by FSN Kansas City, but will also be picked up by FSN Rocky Mountain.

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