Women's Hoops At No. 3 Nebraska Saturday
THE GAME: The University of Colorado travels to play No. 3 (AP)/3 (WBCA) ranked University of Nebraska on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 12:05 p.m. MST at the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb.
BROADCAST: Due to a conflict with the CU men's game, Saturday's game will be broadcast live on KVCU AM 1190. Mike Rice will give the play by play with USA Basketball's Carol Callan with the color commentary. Live internet audio of all CU basketball games is available on BuffsRadio, a subscription service through CUBuffs.com. Live streaming video (courtesy of Nebraska athletics) will be available to BuffsTV subscribers at CUBuffs.com. Please note the BuffsRadio audio and BuffsTV video are separate subscriptions.
OPENING TIPS: No. 3 ranked Nebraska will be the highest ranked road opponent for Colorado since the Buffaloes played at No. 3 Oklahoma on Jan. 2, 2002, a 78-67 Sooners win. CU has just one win in 12 tries against teams ranked in the top 3, that coming in a 61-60 win over No. 2 Louisiana Tech on Jan. 3, 1989. The Buffaloes will be looking to end an 18-game skid against ranked teams and 15-game slide against teams ranked in both the AP and WBCA Coaches polls.
In a scheduling quirk, Colorado begins its first of two-straight road games after swapping home and away dates for its first 11 league contests. The Buffaloes, which will be compensated with consecutive home games after this two-game stretch, are the last Big 12 Conference team to play two straight at home or on the road. In 12 of the Big 12's 13 seasons CU has had at least one back-to-back home or road series within its first five league contests. In 2002, the first back-to-back games came in games 6 & 7.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 12-12 overall and in 11th place in the Big 12 at 2-9. The Buffaloes have lost their last seven and nine of their last 10. CU's 7-game skid is its longest since dropping 11 straight during the 2004-05 campaign. Five of those seven, and four of the last five losses have come against teams ranked in the Top 15.
TEAM NUMBERS: Colorado is averaging 68 points per game and shooting 41 percent from the field overall but those numbers have fallen to 60 points per game and 38 percent shooting over CU's 11 Big 12 contests. The Buffaloes recorded their highest scoring output in Big 12 games this year with 72 in its loss to Kansas on Feb. 16. Colorado is averaging 7.3 3-pointers per game, ranking third in the Big 12. The Buffaloes are the top free throw shooting team in the Big 12 at 75.2 percent (297-395). The Buffaloes also rank third in the Big 12 in steals (9.2 spg) and fifth in blocks (4.1 bpg).
SPEARS LEADS: Brittany Spears tops Colorado by averaging 17.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. Spears recorded her 21st career dobule-double, sixth of the season and second in Big 12 play with 17 points and 11 rebounds against Kansas. She has emerged from her recent scoring slump averaging 22.5 points over the last two games after averaging just 8.0 over the previous three.
Spears has reached 20 points nine times this season and has recorded double-digit scoring in 21 of 24 games, 52 of her last 57 games and 75 of 87 career outings.
On the league charts she ranks third in steals and defensive rebounds (6.0 drpg), fifth in free-throw percentage (.833) and overall rebounds, sixth in scoring, eighth in blocks (1.2 bpg) and 13th in offensive rebounds (2.5 orpg) and 3-pointers made (1.6 3mpg).
OFF THE BENCH OR STARTER, SMITH SOLID: Senior guard Bianca Smith resumed a starting role against Kansas, but primarily has come off the bench this season. Starting or coming off the bench, Smith's numbers have been solid the entire season. She is averaging 12.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game while displaying her sharp-shooting abilities. Smith leads the Big 12 with 66 3-pointers and ranks 13th in 3-point accuracy at 37 percent (66-of-178).
Smith ranks 19th in overall scoring in the Big 12 and second 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
Danielle Adams, Texas A&M 16.0
Bianca Smith, Colorado 12.6
Christine Flores, Missouri 9.6
Cokie Reed, Texas 8.3
Sydney Carter, Texas A&M 7.9
SMITH NETS MILESTONE: Bianca Smith scored 11 points at Kansas and in the process became the 23rd player in team history to reach 1,000 career points. She currently resides in 22nd place on CU's all-time scoring list with 1,055.
Smith gives CU two 1,000 point scorers on the same team as she joins Brittany Spears who reached 1,000 last year and currently resides in 10th on CU's all-time list with 1,415. Having multiple 1,000 point scorers on the same team has happened several times in CU's history, and on two different occasions in the last decade alone. Jackie McFarland and Jasmina Ilic were 1,000-point teammates in 2006-07 and the Buffaloes had a trio of 1,000-point scorers in 2001-02 featuring Jenny Roulier, Mandy Nightingale and Britt Hartshorn.
FRESHMEN THRIVING: Freshmen Chucky Jeffery and Meagan Malcolm-Peck have made major contributions in their first collegiate seasons.
Jeffery tops all Big 12 freshmen and ranks fourth overall in steals at 2.2 per game. She leads Colorado and ranks ninth in the Big 12 in assists (3.3 apg) and is second on the team in steals and rebounds (5.5 rpg) and is third in scoring (10.1 ppg). She has scored in double-digits in eight of the last 12 games, and recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against Nebraska. 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.
Malcolm-Peck leads CU and ranks sixth in the Big 12 in blocks (1.3 bpg). Her 30 blocks on the season are the fifth best by a freshman in team history. She is fourth on the team in rebounding (4.1 rpg) and sixth in scoring (5.7 ppg). Malcolm-Peck delivered one of the clutch performances of the season at Kansas State. After making just seven of her first 16 career free-throw attempts (.438), she drilled two attempts with 17 seconds remaining to give CU a four-point lead (61-57) en route to a 63-57 triumph.
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, coming off three-straight double-digit scoring efforts for the first time this season, is second on the team in assists (2.4 apg) while ranking third in steals (1.5 spg) and fourth in scoring (6.9 ppg). Her numbers have improved during the Big 12 schedule as she is averaging 8.5 points and 1.9 steals per outing. Her 21 steals during the conference schedule rank eighth best among league players.
GETTING 'ER DUNN: Senior center Courtney Dunn, has two career double-doubles, both of which came in a four-game span. She had a career outing against Oklahoma State tying a career high (Denver) and setting a new Big 12 personal best 16 points while nabbing a career high and team single season high 14 rebounds. She also had a double-double at Texas Tech recording 10 points and a then personal-best 11 rebounds. She is averaging 7.5 points and 5.6 rebounds over the 11 league contests. Overall she has 149 points (6.5 ppg) and 110 rebounds (4.8 rpg) this season (23 games) after recording just 94 points and 85 rebounds combined in her first two seasons (48 games).
MULLANEY BOLSTERS BENCH: Junior guard Kelly Jo Mullaney continues to give Colorado key minutes and punch off the bench. She has provided double-digit minutes in eight of the last 10 games and has made four of her last seven from 3-point range. Mullaney averages 3.9 points and 2.1 rebounds for the Buffaloes and has hit 15-of-28 from 3-point range on the season. She had made just nine 3-pointers in 28 games in 2008-09. Mullaney is 9-of-16 from 3-point range during the Big 12 schedule.
ABOUT THE HUSKERS: Not only is No. 3 (AP)/3 (WBCA) off to its best start in school history at 24-0, 11-0 in Big 12 play, its the best start in Big 12 history. NU joins defending national champion Connecticut (26-0) as the only remaining overall unbeaten NCAA Division I teams in the country. Nebraska leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+21.5) as the Huskers lead the league in scoring offense (78.0 ppg) and are third in scoring defense (56.5 ppg). Nebraska is fifth in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense (.376) and is the league's top team in defending the 3-point line (.265).
Nebraska is led by senior forward and All-America candidate Kelsey Griffin who averages 19.3 points and a Big 12 leading 10.2 rebounds per game. Griffin also ranks second in the Big 12 in field goal accuracy at 61.3 percent (168-of-274). Senior forward Cory Montgomery ranks second on the team at 12.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while hitting 52 percent from the floor. Senior guard Yvonne Turner is averaging 12.5 points per game and is Nebraska's top 3-point shooter with 65, ranking second only behind CU's Bianca Smith (66) on the league charts.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 67th meeting between Colorado and Nebraska with the Buffaloes holding a 39-27 series lead. This game will briefly become the most played series in Colorado history as the series with Missouri will equal it as that series plays its 67th game on Tuesday when the Buffaloes travel to Columbia.The 39 wins over Nebraska tie for the most against one squad in team history (Missouri). Nebraska has won nine of the last 10 in the series and five straight at home where the Huskers hold a 20-11 series lead. CU's last win at Nebraska was a 63-60 decision on Mar. 3, 2004. Kathy McConnell-Miller is 1-9 against Nebraska as a head coach, all with Colorado.
COLORADO AND NEBRASKA, LAST 10:
Date Result Date Result
1/30/10 (H) L, 64-80 2/27/07 (A) L, 70-90
3/3/09 (A) L, 64-75 2/10/07 (H) L, 44-54
1/31/09 (H) W, 75-73 3/7/06 (N) L, 59-67
3/2/08 (A) L, 55-63 1/28/06 (A) L, 54-70
2/6/08 (H) L, 71-80 1/4/06 (H) L, 62-80
BIG 12 HONORS BUFFS: Colorado has been cited by the Big 12 Conference for weekly honors three times this season. Junior Brittany Spears was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Co-Player of the Week on Nov. 23, Meagan Malcolm-Peck was the Freshman of the Week on Dec. 28 and Chucky Jeffery was named top freshman on Jan. 11.
CU's three weekly recognitions are its most since 2007-08 when Spears was named Freshman of the Week four times and Bianca Smith was Player of the Week once. It is also the first time that two different CU newcomers have earned Freshman/Rookie of the Week honors in the same season since 2004-05 when Kara Richards and Jackie McFarland were both recognized.
Jeffery averaged 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 5.0 steals in Colorado's wins over Yale and Missouri. She tied a career-best with 19 points, connecting on all seven of her field goals attempts against Yale. Displaying her all-around game, Jeffery also registered a personal and team season-best nine assists to go along with seven rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots. Jeffery made her Big 12 debut by scoring 12 points and equaling a career-best eight rebounds and five steals in the win over Missouri. She hit 5-of-10 from the floor and also dished our four assists.
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.
STEAL-Y EYED: Colorado has been picking up steals in bunches this season. CU, which ranks third in the Big 12 in steals at 9.3 per game, has double-digit steals in 11 of 24 games this season. CU had only five games with double-digit steals in 2008-09. The 10 games of double-digit steals are the most in a season since the Buffaloes had 12 in 2003-04.
INDIVIDUALLY SPEAKING: Junior Brittany Spears leads Colorado with 55 steals this season and her 2.3 per game average ranks third in the Big 12. Spears, who already ranks 11th on CU's all-time steals list with 167, is the first player since CU All-American Shelley Sheetz to record 50 steals in each of her first three seasons (1991-92 to 1993-94). Freshman Chucky Jeffery is right behind Spears in number with 51 steals, ranking fourth in the Big 12 on a per game basis (2.2 spg). Jeffery is on pace for 64 steals (based on number of guaranteed games left) which would rank as the fourth best freshman season at Colorado.
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, scored 17 points against Kansas to enter the CU's career Top 10 in scoring (1,415). She is also seventh in blocked shots (113), eighth in 3-pointers made (140) and attempted (428), 11th in rebounds (689) and steals (167), 14th in field goals made (515) and 17th in free throws made (245).
Spears' possible climbs Saturday:
1 3-point attempt for 7th
2 rebounds for 10th
4 3-pointers made for 7th
8 field goals made for 13th
Smith is second in career 3-point field goals made (241) and attempted (652), trailing only former CU All-American Shelley Sheetz in both categories (252-of-661 from 1991-95). Smith, who currently leads the Big 12 with 66 3-pointers this season, needs 11 to catch Sheetz's all-time career mark. Smith is the Big 12's active career leader in 3-pointers made and is 10th on the league's all-time 3-point list.
Smith is 22nd on CU's all-time scoring list with 1,055. She needs 38 points to crack the Top 20.
MORE SMITH FROM '3': Bianca Smith has 66 3-pointers this season which is eighth on CU's single-season list. She has already passed her 2008-09 season total of 63 and has a chance to break her own single-season school record of 80 set in 2007-08. Smith is the only player to appear on CU's single-season Top 10 for 3-pointers made in three different seasons.
TEAM SOLID FROM '3' TOO: Colorado ranks third in the Big 12 and 20th in the nation at 7.3 3-pointers made per game. CU's 176 3-pointers ranks third on CU's single-season list. CU's 2007-08 WNIT semifinalist squad holds the current school record with 236.
HOUSTON TAKES LEAVE: Junior guard Whitney Houston has taken a leave of absence from the women's basketball team for personal reasons Kathy McConnell-Miller announced prior to CU's Big 12 opening win over Missouri. Houston, a native of Memphis, Tenn., had appeared in 12 of CU's 13 games prior to the announcement, logging two starts and averaging 4.2 points and 1.3 assists per game. No timetable has been set on her return.
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.
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.
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 currently ranked in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches poll while seven are ranked in the Associated Press poll.
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 340-112 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.752). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CECC in 21 of the previous 32 years. The Buffaloes have enjoyed five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94) at the CECC.
BUFFS ON TV: Colorado's regular season schedule featured nine games televised either regionally or nationally, eight of which were at home. CU opened its first of eight FSN Rocky Mountain games on Dec. 2, against Denver. FSN Rocky Mountain also televised 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 were televised nationally on FSN as part of the network's Big 12 package. Colorado's game at Kansas State (Jan. 20) was produced by FSN Kansas City, but will also picked up by FSN Rocky Mountain.
CU has appeared on 81 regional or national telecasts over the last nine 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