Buffaloes Take Final Big 12 Trip To Nebraska
THE GAME: The University of Colorado plays its final regular season road game in the Big 12 Conference, fittingly at long-time rival University of Nebraska on Wednesday, March 2, at 6:05 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln.
BROADCAST: Wednesday's game will be broadcast live on FSN Rocky Mountain. Greg Sharpe will have the play-by-play and Brenda VanLengen will provide the color for this FSN Midwest produced broadcast. Wednesday's game will be broadcast on KVCU AM 1190, due to a conflict with the CU men's game. There will be no pregame show, and the broadcast will begin at the top of the hour (6 p.m.). Mike Rice will have the play-by-play. Live internet audio is available on CUBuffs.com, through the BuffsRadio free subscription.
OPENING TIP: A win on Wednesday would give Colorado 15 regular season wins, thus locking in at least a .500 regular season record and eligibilty for postseason play for the first time since 2008.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 14-13 overall and in sole possession of ninth place in the Big 12 standings at 5-9. The Buffaloes are one game out of seventh place as Texas and Kansas are both 6-8. A win on Wednesday would guarantee the Buffaloes no lower than the No. 9 seed at the upcoming Big 12 Championship, March 8-12 at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium. Colorado could still be anywhere from the No. 7 to No. 11 seed, but the most likely scenarios would put the Buffaloes in that No. 8-9 first round game for the third time in the last five seasons (No. 8 in 2007, No. 9 in 2008).
Colorado has its most wins, both conference and overall, since the 2008 WNIT semifinal team finished 19-15, 5-11 in league play. The Buffaloes have won two-straight in Big 12 play for the first time this season and are enjoying back-to-back victories in the month of February for just the second time (2008) since 2003. Colorado claimed its first true road win of the season with a 63-59 triumph at Missouri on Feb. 26, breaking a streak of nine straight road setbacks and an 11-game skid in games away from Boulder.
Colorado is averaging 61.3 points per game while shooting 40 percent from the field. Defensively the Buffaloes are also giving up 61 points per game while allowing 39 percent from the field. Colorado has been winning the battle of the boards, outrebounding or equaling its opponent in 19-of-27 games and by an average of 4.2 boards an outing (more on CU rebounding below).
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 second in defensive rebounds (5.9 drpg), fourth in 3-point field goals (2.2 3mpg), fifth in overall rebounding (7.9 rpg), 10th in free-throw percentage (.805) and 11th in blocked shots (1.0 bpg) and steals (1.7 spg).
Spears is coming off a week where she averaged 25 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in wins over No. 16/15 Oklahoma and Missouri. She tied her own team season high with 26 points against the Tigers, her 41st career 20-plus point game, which also put her over 2,000 for her career (more on 2,000 below). She has logged double digits in scoring in 25-of-27 games this season and in 104-of-120 career outings. Her 104 career games in double-figures ranks as the second most in team history, trailing only Lisa Van Goor, who had 108 from 1980-85. Spears also leads the team in 3-point field goals (60) and blocks (28) and is second in steals (47) and rebounds on a per game basis (7.9 rpg).
Sophomore guard Chucky Jeffery is CU's top rebounder on a per-game basis (8.2 rpg) while ranking second on the team in scoring at 13.8 an outing. Jeffery has eight 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 steals (2.7 spg) and defensive rebounds (6.0 drpg) while ranking third in overall rebounding, eighth in assists (4.3 apg), 13th in offensive rebounds (2.2 orpg), 15th in field-goal percentage (.469) and 18th in scoring.
Sophomore guard/forward Meagan Malcolm-Peck is averaging 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds and is second on the team in 3-point field goals (30) and third in blocked shots (15). She is sixth in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage during league play at 41 percent (15-of-37) and is 14th on the league's overall season charts at 37 percent (30-of-81). Malcolm-Peck hit her 52nd career 3-point field goal in the win over Missouri, moving her into 15th place on CU's all-time list.
Junior forward Julie Seabrook is averaging 5.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting a team best 49 percent from the field (62-of-126). She has shot 60 percent or better in 13 games, and 50 percent or better in 16 outings. Seabrook has four games of double-digit rebounds, including a season-best 11 boards in the win over Missouri. Seabrook was 2-of-3 from 3-point range against Oklahoma, and has now made five of her last nine threes over the last four games. Overall she is 8-of-19 (42.1), all 19 attempts coming this season.
Freshman guard Brittany Wilson is averaging 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game and is one of three Buffs -- joining Spears and Jeffery -- with at least 30 assists and 30 steals. Her 32 total steals rank fifth among freshmen in the Big 12. Wilson set a career-high by scoring 22 points in the loss at Kansas and dished out a personal-best six assists against Nebraska.
Senior guard Britney Blythe has had success from downtown making 14 of her last 32 (.438), and none bigger than the last. Blythe hit the clutch go-ahead 3-pointer against Missouri with just 14.1 seconds left, giving the Buffs a 61-59 lead. She has hit 38.5 percent from deep during the Big 12 season, ranking ninth on the league charts.
Freshman center Rachel Hargis is becoming a solid player off the bench, especially on the defensive side. Hargis ranks second on the team in blocked shots with 22, and has stepped it up in that category during league play. Fifteen of those 22 blocks, have come in conference games, ranking 11th on the league charts, including a personal-best four at Iowa State.
ABOUT THE CORNHUSKERS: Nebraska is 13-15 overall and tied with Oklahoma State for 11th place in the Big 12 standings at 3-11. The Cornhuskers have lost seven of their last eight. Nebraska's lone loss in that span came at home against Missouri, 76-34, on Feb. 22. All three of the Cornhuskers' Big 12 wins have come at the Devaney Center and they're 11-4 overall at home this season. Nebraska is averaging 65 points per game while hitting 39 percent from the field. The Cornhuskers rank second in the Big 12 in 3-pointers with 7.2 made per game.
Freshman forward Jordan Hooper paces the Cornhuskers overall at 14.7 points per game while grabbing 6.6 rebounds per contest, the latter tops among freshmen in the Big 12. She also leads Nebraska with 60 3-pointers and is shooting 38 percent from downtown. Sophomore guard Lindsey Moore tops Nebraska and ranks third in the Big 12 in assists at 5.5 per game while also scoring 13.9 points an outing. Moore is Nebraska's top scorer during Big 12 games at 16.9 per contest. Senior center Catheryn Redmon tops the Cornhuskers in rebounding at 7.2 per game while also averaging 9.3 points and 2.4 blocks.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be Colorado's 69th meeting with Nebraska, tying the Missouri series for the most played in school history. The Buffaloes hold a 40-28 series lead over the Cornhuskers as the two teams will play their final game as conference opponents. Colorado won the first meeting at home, 70-45, breaking a three-game skid to the Cornhuskers. Nebraska holds a 21-11 series lead in Lincoln and has won six straight there. CU's last win at Nebraska was a 63-60 decision on March 3, 2004.
COLORADO AND NEBRASKA, LAST 10:
Date Result Date Result
2/6/11 (H) W, 70-45 3/2/08 (A) L, 55-63
2/20/10 (A) L, 73-89 2/6/08 (H) L, 71-80
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
CONNECTIONS: Nebraska head coach Connie Yori is one of five Big 12 coaches that were at their current position while CU head coach Linda Lappe played for the Buffaloes. Yori's first year at Nebraska was 2002-03, Lappe's senior season. Sunday's game features three players from British Columbia, Canada, including two products of that country's national training program. CU's Julie Seabrook and Nebraska's Kaitlyn Burke both hail from North Vancouver while Cornhusker junior Harleen Siduh is from Surrey. Seabrook and Burke both attended Canada's National Elite Development Academy and have both played for that country's national junior teams.
RANKING NUMBERS: Colorado improved to 2-2 against ranked teams this season after its 73-68 win over No. 16/15 Oklahoma on Feb. 23. It is the first time since the 2007-08 campaign that the Buffaloes have multiple wins over ranked teams in the same season.
Colorado's 66-60 overtime win over No. 17/16 Iowa State on Jan. 15 in Boulder broke a string of 24-straight losses to ranked teams and 21-game skid against teams ranked in both AP and WBCA Coaches polls (Iowa State was ranked only in the WBCA poll in one meeting last season as was Kansas State in two meetings in 2008-09). Prior to the upset, CU's last win over a ranked opponent was a 73-68 decision over No. 15/15 Kansas State on Feb. 23, 2008.
The last time the Buffaloes beat a ranked ISU team was on Jan. 23, 2002, in an 86-73 win at home. At that time, Colorado was ranked 20/19 as ISU secured a 14/10 position in the polls. The win marked the first time in history that a non-ranked Colorado team has beaten a ranked ISU squad. As for the Oklahoma game, it was the first win over a ranked Sooner team since a 69-64 decision in Norman on Feb. 3, 1995 (CU was ranked No. 4, OU No. 25). It was the first unranked CU team to beat an OU ranked team since a 94-80 win on Jan. 27, 1987, OU was ranked No. 23 in the coaches poll.
LAPPE IN ELITE COACHING COMPANY: Colorado's Linda Lappe is the only rookie NCAA Division I head coach to beat a ranked opponent this season, and her teams have achieved it twice, knocking off No. 17/16 Iowa State and No. 16/15 Oklahoma.
Of 35 coaches in Division I that are in the first season at the helm of their respective programs, including those who have been head coaches elsewhere, there are five wins against ranked teams. Lappe has two of those wins, Missouri's Robin Pingeton (formerly of Illinois State) twice and Houston's Todd Buchanan (formerly of Houston Baptist) the other.
BUFFS REBOUNDING: One of Colorado's biggest improvements as a team this year is rebounding. The Buffaloes are currently averaging 38.9 rebounds per game while allowing just 34.7 per contest. CU's rebounding margin of +4.2 ranks sixth in the Big 12 and 51st in NCAA Division I through games of Feb. 27. In 2009-10 the Buffaloes averaged just 35.1 per contest while allowing opponents 36.9 a game.
Colorado has equaled or outrebounded 19-of-27 opponents this season, and four of those games where CU was outrebounded, it was by two or fewer boards. Colorado has equaled or outrebounded eight Big 12 opponents this year compared to just 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. Colorado's plus-18 rebound margin against Nebraska (45-27) was its most in a Big 12 game since out dueling Texas 50-29 (+21) on the boards on Feb. 16, 2008.
ON THE DEFENSIVE END: Second shot opportunities have been at a premium against Colorado as the Buffaloes rank second in the Big 12 in defensive rebounding percentage. When an opponent's shot goes up, Colorado claims the defensive board 71.9 percent of the time (704/979), trailing only Iowa State at 73.1 percent (787/1077). The Buffaloes have given up the fewest offensive rebounds in the Big 12 this season (275). CU ranks fourth in overall rebounding defense at 34.7, a number on pace for the third best mark in team history. Maintaining this pace would yield the lowest opponent rebound average since the 1994-95 NCAA Elite Eight squad gave up only 34.1 per game. The 1980-81 squad allowed just 34.2 per outing.
CU DOUBLES: Colorado is the only school in the Big 12 with two players sporting eight or more double-doubles this season. Senior Brittany Spears and sophomore Chucky Jeffery are tied with Baylor's Brittney Griner and Texas' Kathleen Nash for third in the Big 12 with eight double-doubles each.
Big 12 Double-Double Leaders
13 Toni Young, Oklahoma State
12 Danielle Adams, Texas A&M
8 Brittany Spears, Colorado
8 Chucky Jeffery, Colorado
8 Brittney Griner, Baylor
8 Kathleen Nash, Texas
Spears has 30 career double-doubles, ranking fourth on CU's all-time list. Jeffery's career total is nine after her 12-point, 10-rebound performance against Oklahoma.
JEFFERY, SPEARS BEST REBOUNDING DUO IN BIG 12: Chucky Jeffery ranks third in the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.2 per game, just a fraction behind Oklahoma State's Toni Young and Texas A&M's Danielle Adams. Brittany Spears ranks fifth in the same category at 7.9 per contest. The CU duo's 16.1 boards per outing is the best mark for a pair of teammates in the Big 12:
1. Chucky Jeffery (8.2), Brittany Spears (7.9), Colorado 16.1
2. Aishah Sutherland (7.8), Carolyn Davis (7.2), Kansas 15.0
3. Kathleen Nash (7.9), Ashley Gayle (7.0), Texas 14.9
4. Brittney Griner (7.9), Melissa Jones (6.9), Baylor 14.8
5. Danielle Adams (8.7), Adaora Elonu (5.8), Texas A&M 14.5
Jeffery and Spears also rank 1-2 overall on the league charts in defensive rebounds. Jeffery averages six defensive rebounds per game while Spears is right behind at 5.9 an outing.
BLYTHE PROTECTS THE ROCK: Senior guard Britney Blythe not only routinely takes on the task of guarding the opponents best offensive 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 28 turnovers this season, seven of which came in the first two games. She has turned the ball over only 21 times in the last 25 games and has had three different strings of two or more games without a turnover, including the last two outings.
Blythe leads the Big 12 in fewest turnovers over a 40 minute stretch and is seventh for straight up turnovers per game (minimums are 75 percent of games played and 400 minutes played):
Big 12 Turnovers Per 40 Minutes
Name, School MP TO TO/40 Min
1. Britney Blythe, Colorado 738 28 1.52
2. Melissa Jones, Baylor 853 34 1.59
3. Jordan Barncastle, Texas Tech 475 19 1.60
4. Jasmyn Otote, Missouri 814 35 1.72
5. Sydney Carter, Texas A&M 816 37 1.81
Big 12 Turnovers Per Game
Name, School GP TO TOPG
1. Jordan Barncastle, Texas Tech 27 19 0.70
2. Kelsey Harris, Iowa State 27 20 0.74
3. Maryann Baker, Texas A&M 27 23 0.85
4. Jordan Madden, Baylor 28 27 0.96
4. Jessica Periago, Nebraska 28 27 0.96
4. Morgan Hook, Oklahoma 28 27 0.96
7. Britney Blythe, Colorado 27 28 1.04
7. Carol Blair-Mobley, Oklahoma State 27 28 1.04
SPEARS CLIMBING CAREER LADDERS: Senior guard/forward Brittany Spears scored 26 points against Missouri, becoming the second player in team history to reach 2,000 career points. She reached the milestone on a 3-point field goal from the right side with 12:20 remaining in the second half to give CU a 40-37 lead. Chucky Jeffery had the assist on the basket.
Spears is now just 57 points behind all-time leading scorer Lisa Van Goor (1980-85). Based on a minimum three games remaining two regular season, one Big 12 Championship), Spears would need to average 19 per game to catch Van Goor.
On CU's all-time charts, Spears ranks second in scoring, minutes (3,972), field-goals made (733) and attempted (1,744), third in games started (120) and 3-point field-goals attempted (642), fourth in rebounds (934), double-doubles (30), blocked shots (144) and 3-point field-goals made (216), eighth in steals (222), and 10th in free-throws made (329).
ACADEMIC BUFFS: Sophomore Meagan Malcolm-Peck and junior Julie Seabrook were named to the Academic All-Big 12 Conference Women's Basketball Second Team on Feb. 15, sporting cumulative GPA's above 3.0.
The league academic honor is the second for Seabrook, who was a first team pick in 2010, and the first for Malcolm-Peck, who is in her first season of eligibility for this recognition. Both are majoring in business.
Since the formation of the Big 12 for the 1996-97 season, CU's women's basketball team has had 61 Academic All-Big 12 selections, including 40 first team honorees.
COMMUNITY CHAMPION: Junior Julie Seabrook was named CU's member of the 2011 Winter Chick-fil-A Community of Champions team. One student-athlete at each Big 12 institution is awarded each fall, winter and spring term based on academics, community service, leadership and sportsmanship.
NOTING THE NEBRASKA GAME: Colorado's 25-point margin of victory over Nebraska (70-45) was its largest in a Big 12 game since defeating Kansas 73-42 in Boulder on Feb. 5, 2003. This was Colorado's largest margin of victory against Nebraska since a 95-60 home win on Feb. 6, 2002, nine years ago to the date. Colorado's 39 first half points were its most in a Big 12 game since scoring 40 against Kansas State on Feb. 23, 2008, a 73-68 CU win. Colorado's 18 assists were its most in a Big 12 games since dishing out 21 in an 82-71 loss to Iowa State on Feb. 7, 2009. The 45 points allowed to Nebraska was CU's lowest in Big 12 play since a 59-41 win over Kansas on Jan. 22, 2008.
SPEARS' STARTING STREAK: Senior Brittany Spears continues to add to her school records for consecutive overall starts and starts from the beginning of a career, now at 120 straight games. She passed the previous mark of overall consecutive starts set by Amy Mathern (1989-93) with her 113th straight start in the Texas game on Jan. 30. She passed Lisa Van Goor (1980-85) for starts at the beginning of a career, when she started her 101st game against Illinois on Dec. 4. She is third in most overall career starts, trailing only the 127 by Erin Scholz (1993-97) and the 126 by Shelley Sheetz (1991-95).
JEFFERY 'STEALS' THE SHOW: Sophomore Chucky Jeffery leads the Big 12 at 2.7 steals per game. Her 65 steals this season ranks 17th on CU's single-season list and just two more will put her in the top 15. She has had six or more steals in four games this season (Regis, Evansville, Colgate and Kansas) and has at least three steals in 13 of 24 games. She had a career and team season-high seven steals in the win over Colgate. It's the 21st time a Buff has registered seven or more steals in a game, but the first since Damietta Velicica had seven vs. Tulane on December 6, 1997.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Colorado will potentially play 16 games - or 55 percent of the schedule - against teams that advanced to either the 2010 NCAA or WNIT postseason tournaments. Four of CU's 2010-11 opponents are ranked in the latest USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches poll (#3 Baylor, #5 Texas A&M, #17 Oklahoma and #25 Iowa State) with one other receiving votes (Texas Tech). Four are ranked in the latest Associated Press poll (#3 Baylor, #5 Texas A&M, #18 Oklahoma and #23 Iowa State) while one is receiving votes (Texas Tech).
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 353-118 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.750). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CECC in 22 of the previous 33 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 televised either regionally or nationally, seven of which are at home. CU's season opener against Regis on Nov. 12 was the first FSN Rocky Mountain televised followed by Colorado State (Dec. 8), North Dakota (Jan. 4), Kansas (Jan. 12), Kansas State (Jan. 26), Nebraska (Feb. 6), Kansas State (Feb. 16) and Oklahoma (Feb. 23). FSN Rocky Mountain will also televise CU's game at Nebraska (Mar 2). The home game against Nebraska was televised nationally on FSN as part of the network's Big 12 package.
CU has appeared on 81 regional or national telecasts over the last nine seasons.