Last Big 12 Trip To Texas As Buffs Visit Longhorns
THE GAME: The University of Colorado makes its final Big 12 Conference appearance in the Lone Star State by traveling to play the University of Texas on Sunday, Jan. 30, at 1 p.m. MST at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.
BROADCAST: Sunday's game will be brodcast on KKZN AM 760, with Mike Rice handling the call. Live internet audio is available on CUBuffs.com, through the BuffsRadio free subscription. Sunday's game is being televised by the Longhorn Sports Network, an arm of FSN Regional networks. Kevin Eschenfelder will have the call alongside Dan Hughes with the color commentary. Although the game is not scheduled to appear on FSN Rocky Mountain, viewers in the Rocky Mountain region with higher tiered digital cable or satellite packages will be able to pick up the broadcast. Check with your local provider for schedule details.
OPENING TIP: Senior Brittany Spears is scheduled to make her 113th consecutive start on Sunday at Texas, which would set a new school record. She is currently tied with Amy Mathern who started the final 112 games of her distinguished career from 1989-93.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 11-8 overall and in a three-way tie with Texas and Missouri for seventh place in the Big 12 standings at 2-4. The Buffaloes will be looking to equal their Big 12 win total from a year ago (3-13). CU has traded wins and losses over the last five games, which could be a good omen for Sunday as the Buffaloes are coming off a 72-59 setback to Kansas State at the Coors Events Center on Jan. 26. After beginning the Big 12 season with four out of five at home, Colorado begins a string of six of its next nine on the road.
Despite allowing 72 points and an opponent season-high 48 percent shooting to the Wildcats, Colorado has played well defensively this season, giving up just 58 points a game while opponents are only shooting 37 percent from the field. Colorado's 48 points allowed to Missouri two games ago was the fewest by a Big 12 opponent, since the Tigers scored an equal mark in a 64-48 CU win on Jan. 10, 2010. The Buffaloes have been even more stringent from the 3-point line, allowing just 26.1 percent from beyond the arc, ranking second in the Big 12 and among the NCAA Division I leaders all season (CU's 25.7 percent allowed ranked 10th through games of Jan. 23). Colorado has also been winning the battle of the boards, outrebounding or equalling its opponent in 15-of-19 games and by an average of nearly six boards an outing (more on CU rebounding below). The Buffaloes rank fifth in the Big 12 rebounding defense (35.4 opponent rpg) and 3-point field-goals made (6.3 3mpg) and sixth in steals (8.9 spg).
Senior guard/forward Brittany Spears leads CU and ranks fifth in the Big 12 in scoring at 17.7 points per game. She is also fourth in 3-point field-goals made (2.3 3mpg), fifth in defensive rebounds (5.8 drpg), seventh in overall rebounding (8.3 rpg), 11th in steals (1.8 spg), 12th in free-throw percentage (.786), 14th in blocked shots (0.9 bpg) and 15th in 3-point percentage (.352) on the league charts.
Spears is averaging 18.7 points and 9.5 rebounds since the start of Big 12 play. She has logged double digits in 18-of-19 games this season and in 97-of-112 career outings. Her 97 career games in double-figures is the third most in team history trailing only Lisa Van Goor (108 from 1980-85) and Jackie McFarland (102 from 2004-08).
Spears, who had a team season-high 26 points in the win over Missouri, also leads the team in 3-point field goals (43) and blocks (17) and is second in steals (35) and rebounds on a per game basis (8.3 rpg).
Sophomore guard Chucky Jeffery is CU's top rebounder on a per-game basis (8.8 rpg) while ranking second on the team in scoring at 14.8 an outing. Jeffery has seven double-doubles this season, ranking third in the Big 12, including the second triple-double in team history by recording 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against Loyola Chicago.
Jeffery leads the Big 12 in rebounding (8.8 rpg) and in steals (3.2 spg) while ranking second in defensive rebounding (6.2 drpg), seventh in assists (4.5 apg), 10th in field-goal percentage (.490), 11th in offensive rebounds (2.6 orpg) and 12th in scoring and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2). Jeffery returned to the lineup for the Missouri game after missing the previous two with a concussion.
Sophomore guard/forward Meagan Malcolm-Peck is averaging 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds and is second on the team in blocked shots (12). She ranks 10th in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage (.371) and 15th in 3-pointers made (1.2 3mpg). Malcolm-Peck has hit 8-of-18 from 3-point range in Big 12 play, which at 44 percent ranks fifth in conference only contests. She put together a gutsy performance against Iowa State. Hobbled by a sore ankle, Malcolm-Peck played just 14 minutes but was extremely effective in her time on the court scoring 10 points on 3-of-4 from the field and drilled a pair of clutch free throws in overtime to extend CU's lead to 66-60 in the closing seconds.
Junior forward Julie Seabrook is averaging 5.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the field (46-of-94). She has shot 60 percent or better in eight games, and 50 percent or better in 11 outings. Seabrook ranks 20th in the Big 12 in overall rebounding and has been even better during league play. Her 7.7 per game average during Big 12 games ranks ninth on the league charts and she is fifth in offensive rebounding at 3.3 per contest. She
has four games of double-digit rebounds, including a season-best 11 boards in the win over Missouri.
Freshman guard Brittany Wilson is averaging 8.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game and is one of three Buffs -- joining Spears and Jeffery -- with at least 25 assists and 25 steals. Her 28 steals rank fourth among freshmen in the Big 12. Wilson recorded her first career double-double by scoring 11 points and grabbing a personal-best 12 rebounds in the win over Missouri.
Senior Chelsea Dale has started the last four games, dishing out 10 assists in those contests including a personal-best five against Oklahoma State. In 10 games back from missing the fall semester with academic issues, Dale is averaging 5.1 points while grabbing two rebounds per game. She had a career-high with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the win over Colgate. Dale's 51 points in 10 games is eight better than the scoring output in her first 46 career games. She made her season debut at USC, contributing 10 points and a career-best five rebounds off the bench in the loss to the Trojans.
ABOUT THE LONGHORNS: Texas is 13-7 overall and tied with Colorado and Missouri for seventh place in the Big 12 at 2-4. The Longhorns have won two straight after dropping their first four league contests. Texas is currently receiving a handful of votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today ESPN Coaches' Top 25 polls, and has been ranked as high as No. 16 (AP) earlier this season. Texas sports the Big 12's second-best scoring offense at 81.9 points per game, but its defense gives up a Big 12 most 68.4 points an outing. The Longhorns rank fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage (.364) while making nearly seven per game.
Freshman guard Chassidy Fussell leads Texas at 17.6 points per game while hitting 42 percent from the floor and 37 percent from downtown. She leads all freshman and ranks seventh overall in the Big 12 in scoring. Texas sports two of the top four rebounders in the Big 12 in junior center Ashley Gayle and senior guard Kathleen Nash. Gayle tops the Longhorns and is third in the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.6 per contest. She also averages eight points and a team-best 4.4 blocks per game. Nash, right behind Gayle at 8.5 boards per game, is UT's second leading scorer at 15.3 an outing and ranks second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 90.1 percent (64-of-71).
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 20th meeting between Colorado and Texas with the Longhorns holding a 15-4 series lead. Texas has won the last two in the series, including a 74-50 win in Boulder on Feb. 10, 2010. Colorado has just one win in eight tries in Austin, that coming in a 60-56 decision on Feb. 26, 1997. CU's last overall win against Texas was a 67-52 win at the Coors Events Center on Feb. 16, 2008.
COLORADO AND TEXAS, LAST 10:
Date Result Date Result
2/10/10 (H) L, 50-74 2/23/05 (A) L, 40-83
1/17/09 (A) L, 32-62 2/14/04 (H) L, 45-51
2/16/08 (H) W, 67-52 3/13/03 (N) L, 47-62
1/13/07 (A) L, 49-68 2/19/03 (A) L, 55-75
2/4/06 (H) L, 64-69 1/6/02 (H) L, 68-70
CONNECTIONS: Colorado assistant coach Johnna Pointer was a four-year letterwinner and All-Southwest Conference guard for the Longhorns from 1988-92. She helped Texas to four NCAA tournaments, including the 1988 and 1989 Elite Eight's, and two SWC Tournament crowns. The Buffaloes have one player from Texas on their roster, freshman center Rachel Hargis is from Robinson, just outside of Waco. She had an outstanding high school career in the Lone Star state, guiding Robinson High School to the 2009 Class 3A state title.
BUFFS REBOUNDING: One of Colorado's biggest improvements as a team this year is rebounding. The Buffaloes are currently averaging 41 rebounds per game while allowing just 35.4 per contest. CU's rebounding margin of +5.6 ranks seventh in the Big 12 and 38th in NCAA Division I (through games of Jan. 23). In 2009-10 the Buffaloes averaged just 35.1 per contest while allowing opponents 36.9 a game.
Through six Big 12 games, CU's 39.8 rebounds per game ranks third in the Big 12 as does its margin of +3.0 per contest. Colorado has equalled or out rebounded 15 of 19 opponents this season, and three of those games where CU was outrebounded, it was by two or fewer boards. Colorado has equalled or outrebounded four Big 12 opponents through six games -- all coming in the past four contests. CU outrebounded its opponent in only four of 16 Big 12 games in 2010.
CU pulled down a season high 53 rebounds in the win over Missouri, tying for the most ever by the Buffaloes in a Big 12 game. CU also had 53 in a 69-40 win at Texas A&M on Feb. 8, 1997. Colorado's 20 offensive rebounds were its most in a Big 12 game since grabbing 20 in a 67-53 win over Texas on Feb. 16, 2008.
BLYTHE TOPS BIG 12 IN PROTECTING THE ROCK: Senior guard Britney Blythe not only routinely takes on the task of guarding the opponents best offenisve back court player, but she's among the best in the Big 12 this season in protecting the ball on the other end.
Blythe has just 16 turnovers this season. Even more remarkable, seven of those came in the first two games. She has turned the ball over only nine times in the last 17 games, no more than one in any of those games and none in the last four -- all starts with 20-plus minutes of action.
Blythe leads the Big 12 in fewest turnovers over a 40 minute stretch and is second for straight up turnovers per game (minimums are 75 percent of games played and 300 minutes played):
Big 12 Turnovers Per 40 Minutes
Name, School MP TO TO/40 Min
1. Britney Blythe, Colorado 498 16 1.29
2. Melissa Jones, Baylor 560 20 1.43
3. Maryann Baker, Texas A&M 370 15 1.62
4. Jordan Barncastle, Texas Tech 422 18 1.71
5. Sydney Carter, Texas A&M 539 25 1.86
Big 12 Turnovers Per Game
Name, School GP TO TOPG
1. Maryann Baker, Texas A&M 19 15 0.79
2. Britney Blythe, Colorado 19 16 0.84
3. Kelsey Harris, Iowa State 19 17 0.89
4. Jordan Barncastle, Texas Tech 20 18 0.90
5. Jordan Madden, Baylor 19 19 1.00
SPEARS' STARTING STREAK: Senior Brittany Spears is scheduled to make her 113th straight start Sunday, which would allow her to pass Amy Mathern (1989-93) for the longest consecutive streak in team history. Mathern started the final 112 games of her distinguished career. Spears already holds CU's mark for most consecutive starts at the beginning of a career as she passed Lisa Van Goor (1980-85) when she started her 101st game against Illinois on Dec. 4. With her 113th start, she remains in sixth place for overall career starts, needing two more to catch Mathern for fifth at 115.
DEFENSIVE FEAT A FIRST: Colorado allowed 34 points to Loyola Chicago and 35 points to Texas State, the first time in team history that the Buffaloes have held an opponent below 40 points in consecutive games. The 69 combined points also marks the lowest two-game total in team history, eclipsing the 72 allowed in wins over Texas Southern (64-29) and Dartmouth (57-43), Dec. 14 & 21, 2007.
The 34 points allowed to Loyola Chicago tied for the seventh lowest single-game mark in team history (Southwest Missouri State, March 17, 1995), while the 35 points to Texas State ties for the ninth lowest with three other games (most recently against Kansas on Jan. 16, 2002).
JEFFERY'S TRIPLE-DOUBLE: Chucky Jeffery recorded the second triple-double in team history by totaling 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the Omni Hotels Classic Championship game against Loyola Chicago. The only other CU triple-double was by Sandy Bean vs. Utah State on Feb. 16, 1979. Bean had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
It marked career highs in both rebounds and assists for Jeffery as well as team season highs in both categories. She's the first CU player with 10 assists in a game since Susie Powers dished out 10 against Pepperdine on Jan. 4, 2008. Jeffery was awarded as the Classic's Most Valuable Player.
Jeffery's triple-double was the 18th in Big 12 Conference history (Baylor's Britteny Griner notched No. 19 the next day, Nov. 28) and she becomes the 11th different Big 12 player to record a triple-double.
SPEARS CLIMBING CAREER LADDERS: Senior guard/forward Brittany Spears scored 13 points against Kansas State and in the process passed recent CU Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Tera Bjorklund (1,858 from 2000-04) for third place on CU's all-time scoring list, now with 1,870. Spears also ranks second in field-goal attempts (1,605), third in field-goals made (682), fourth in 3-point field-goal attempts (586) and double-doubles (29), fifth in rebounds (878), blocked shots (133) and 3-point field-goals made (199), sixth in games started (112), seventh in minutes (3,714), eighth in steals (211), and 12th in free-throws made (307) on CU's all-time charts.
Spears is now just 87 points behind Jackie McFarland (2004-08) for second place on CU's all-time scoring list, 130 from becoming the second player in team history to score 2,000 and 197 behind all-time leading scorer Lisa Van Goor (1980-85). Based on a minimum 11 games remaining (10 regular season, one Big 12 Championship), Spears needs to average 11.8 points per game to reach 2,000 and 17.9 per game to catch Van Goor.