Buffs Host Baylor In Final Big 12 Regular Season Game
THE GAME: The University of Colorado plays its final regular season Big 12 Conference game by hosting No. 3 (AP)/3 (USA Today/ESPN/WBCA) Baylor University on Saturday, March 5, at 2 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.
BROADCAST: Saturday's game will be broadcast on KKZN AM 760, Mike Rice will have the play-by-play. Live internet audio is available on CUBuffs.com, through the BuffsRadio free subscription. Live internet video streaming of Saturday's game is available on BuffsTV, also a subscription service through CUBuffs.com. Please note the BuffsRadio audio and BuffsTV video are separate subscriptions.
OPENING TIP: Colorado's current three-game winning streak in the Big 12 is its longest since the Buffaloes won six straight early in the 2003-04 league schedule. It is the first time since 2002-03 the Buffaloes have won three straight in February-March Big 12 contests.
THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 15-13 overall and tied with Kansas for eighth place in the Big 12 standings at 6-9. The Buffaloes and Jayhawks are locked into playing each other in the first round of the Big 12 Championship in the No. 8-9 seed game. CU and Kansas will play in the first game of the championship at 10 a.m. MST on Tuesday, March 8, at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. With Kansas sweeping the regular season series, they Jayhawks will be the No. 8 seed unless they lose at home to Kansas State and Colorado upsets Baylor. The full bracket will be released Saturday night after the completion of all games. It will be the Buffaloes' third time playing in the No. 8-9 game in the last five seasons. (No. 8 in 2007, No. 9 in 2008).
Colorado has its most overall wins since the 2008 WNIT semifinal team finished 19-15. The Buffaloes are also assured of their best league mark since the 2006-07 team was 6-10 in conference play and a win over Baylor would give CU its most Big 12 wins since the 2003-04 team finished 11-5. Colorado is coming off a second-straight thrilling road win, defeating Nebraska 64-61 in the closing minutes on March 2. It marked the first time Colorado had won back-to-back Big 12 road games since the Buffs defeated Iowa State and Missouri in January 2004.
Colorado is averaging 61.4 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 20-of-28 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 17.8 points per game. She is also second in defensive rebounds (5.8 drpg), fourth in 3-point field goals (2.3 3mpg) and overall rebounding (8.0 rpg), ninth in free-throw percentage (.802), and 10th in blocked shots (1.1 bpg) and steals (1.9 spg).
Spears is averaging 23.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.3 steals during CU's three-game win streak. She had a team-best 20 points against Nebraska, her 42nd career 20-plus point game, and nearly had her ninth double-double of the season, claiming nine rebounds. She has logged double digits in scoring in 26-of-28 games this season and in 105-of-121 career outings. Her 105 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 (63) and blocks (30) and is second in steals (52) and rebounds on a per game basis (8.0 rpg).
Sophomore guard Chucky Jeffery is CU's top rebounder on a per-game basis (8.1 rpg) while ranking second on the team in scoring at 13.7 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), 15th in offensive rebounds (2.2 orpg), and 17th in scoring.
Sophomore guard/forward Meagan Malcolm-Peck is averaging 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds and is tied for second on the team in 3-point field goals (31) and third in blocked shots (15). She is eighth in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage during league play at 39 percent (16-of-41) and is 13th on the league's overall season charts at 37 percent (31-of-85). Malcolm-Peck hit her 53rd career 3-point field goal in the win over Nebraska, moving her into 15th place on CU's all-time list.
Junior forward Julie Seabrook is averaging 5.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting a team best 50 percent from the field (65-of-130). She has shot 60 percent or better in 14 games, and 50 percent or better in 17 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 six of her last 11 threes over the last five games. Overall she is 9-of-21 (42.9), all 21 attempts coming this season.
Freshman guard Brittany Wilson is averaging 7.5 points and 3.5 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 recent success from downtown making 17 of her last 36 (.472). 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 41.9 percent from deep during the Big 12 season, ranking fourth 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 23, and has stepped it up in that category during league play. Sixteen of those 23 blocks, have come in conference games, ranking 11th on the league charts, including a personal-best four at Iowa State.
ABOUT THE LADY BEARS: No. 3/3 ranked Baylor is 27-2 overall and has clinched the 2011 Big 12 regular season title. The Lady Bears are 14-1 in Big 12 play, with their lone loss coming at Texas Tech 56-45 on Feb. 19. Baylor's only other loss came back in November to defending national champion and current No. 1 UConn. The Lady Bears will be the top seed in the upcoming Big 12 Championship and would play the winner of the Colorado-Kansas first round game on Wednesday. Baylor leads the Big 12 in several categories including scoring (80.3 ppg), scoring defense (53.5 ppg), field goal percentage (.472) and field goal percentage defense (.249).
Baylor is led by national player of the year candidate Brittney Griner, a 6-foot-8 post player who averages 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots per game. Freshman guard Odyssey Sims is second on the team in scoring at 13.8 per game and is the Lady Bears' top 3-point threat as she has 55 on the season and is shooting at 45 percent. Senior guard Melissa Jones averages 9.1 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Lady Bears.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 20th meeting between Colorado and Baylor with the Lady Bears holding a 11-8 edge in the series. Baylor has won the last seven, including a 72-65 decision in the first round of the 2010 Big 12 Championship. CU's last win over Baylor came in Waco, a 69-59 decision on Jan. 7, 2004. Colorado is 5-4 all-time in Boulder against the Lady Bears, but BU has won the last three. CU's last home win was a 66-59 triumph on Jan. 29, 2003, current CU head coach Linda Lappe's senior season.
COLORADO AND BAYLOR, LAST 10:
Date Result Date Result
3/11/10 (N) L, 65-72 2/22/06 (A) L, 40-86
2/6/10 (A) L, 42-76 2/26/05 (H) L, 65-84
1/10/09 (H) L, 50-63 1/7/04 (A) W, 69-59
2/27/08 (A) L, 62-76 1/29/03 (H) W, 66-59
2/21/07 (H) L, 67-75 2/20/02 (A) L, 69-80
CONNECTIONS: Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey is one of five Big 12 coaches that were at their current position while CU head coach Linda Lappe played for the Buffaloes. Mulkey's first year at Baylor was 2000-01, Lappe's redshirt sophomore season. Colorado freshman Rachel Hargis is from Robinson, Texas, located just southeast of Waco. CU assistant coach Johnna Pointer is also a Texas native. Baylor sports one Coloradoan on its roster, senior guard Melissa Jones is from Thornton, and a 2007 graduate of Legacy High School.
BIG 12 WIN #100: Colorado's 64-61 win at Nebraska marked the Buffaloes' 100th win in Big 12 regular season play. Colorado is 100-139 (.418) in its 15th and final season in the Big 12.
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.
This will be the third straight season Colorado has faced an opponent ranked in the nation's top three. The Buffaloes fell at No. 3/3 Nebraska 89-73 last season and No. 3/2 Oklahoma claimed a 72-58 win in Boulder in 2009. Colorado has one win in 13 tries against teams ranked No. 3 or better. The Buffaloes defeated No. 2 Louisiana Tech, 61-60, in Boulder on Jan. 3, 1989.
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.
CURRENT BIG 12 COACHES, FIRST YEAR (In order of overall wins):
Coach First Season Record (Big 12)
Gail Goestenkors, Texas 2007-08^ 22-13 (7-9)
Kim Mulkey, Baylor 2000-01* 21-9 (9-7)
Deb Patterson, Kansas State 1996-97* 19-12 (9-7)
Bill Fennelly, Iowa State 1996-97* 17-10 (9-7)
Linda Lappe, Colorado 2010-11 15-13 (6-9)
Kristy Curry, Texas Tech 2006-07 15-16 (6-10)
Bonnie Henrickson, Kansas 2004-05 12-16 (5-11)
Robin Pingeton, Missouri 2010-11 12-17 (4-11)
Gary Blair, Texas A&M 2003-04 9-19 (2-14)
Connie Yori, Nebraska 2002-03 8-20 (1-15)
Kurt Budke, Oklahoma State 2005-06 6-22 (0-16)
Sherri Coale, Oklahoma 1996-97 5-22 (1-15)
*NCAA 1st Round
^NCAA 2nd round
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 52nd in NCAA Division I through games of March 3. In 2009-10 the Buffaloes averaged just 35.1 per contest while allowing opponents 36.9 a game.
Colorado has equaled or outrebounded 20-of-28 opponents this season, and four of those games where CU was outrebounded, it was by two or fewer boards. Colorado has equaled or outrebounded nine 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 71.6 percent of the time (730/1019), trailing only Iowa State at 73.3 percent (818/1116). The Buffaloes have given up the fewest offensive rebounds in the Big 12 this season (289). 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 8.1 per game, just a fraction behind Oklahoma State's Toni Young and Texas A&M's Danielle Adams. Brittany Spears is right behind her in fourth at 8.0 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 (8.1), Brittany Spears (8.0), Colorado 16.1
2. Kathleen Nash (7.8), Ashley Gayle (7.2), Texas 15.0
3. Aishah Sutherland (7.7), Carolyn Davis (7.0), Kansas 14.7
4. Brittney Griner (7.7), Melissa Jones (6.9), Baylor 14.6
5. Danielle Adams (8.5), Adaora Elonu (5.8), Texas A&M 14.3
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 5.8 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 29 turnovers this season, seven of which came in the first two games. She has turned the ball over only 22 times in the last 26 games and has had three different strings of two or more games without a turnover.
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 773 29 1.50
2. Melissa Jones, Baylor 853 34 1.59
3. Jordan Barncastle, Texas Tech 475 19 1.60
4. Jasmyn Otote, Missouri 840 35 1.67
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 28 20 0.71
3. Maryann Baker, Texas A&M 27 23 0.85
4. Jessica Periago, Nebraska 29 27 0.93
5. Jordan Maddan, Baylor 29 28 0.97
6. Morgan Hook, Oklahoma 29 29 1.00
7. Britney Blythe, Colorado 28 29 1.04
7. Carol Blair-Mobley, Oklahoma State 28 29 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 37 points from passing Lisa Van Goor (1980-85) for CU's all-time lead. Her single-game career high is just shy of that mark, scoring 36 against UMass in November 2008. An average of 18.5 points, just slightly higher than her current Big 12 pace (18.2 ppg), would net her the mark in the next two guaranteed games, however the Buffaloes could have more games, whether in the Big 12 Championship or the NCAA or WNIT postseason tournaments.
On CU's all-time charts, Spears ranks second in scoring, minutes (4,008), field-goals made (750) and attempted (1,764), third in games started (121) and 3-point field-goals attempted (651), fourth in rebounds (943), double-doubles (30), blocked shots (146) and 3-point field-goals made (219), seventh in steals (228), and 10th in free-throws made (332).
SPEARS ON BIG 12 CHARTS: With 2,031 points Brittany Spears is the second active leading scorer in the Big 12, just behind Oklahoma's Danielle Robinson who has 2,040. Spears is 11th on the Big 12's all-time scoring list and needs just two points to catch Nebraska's Kelsey Griffin (2,033 from 2005-10) for 10th. She also ranks sixth in career field-goal attempts (1,764) and 10th in field-goals made (740).
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.
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 121 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 67 steals this season rank 13th on CU's single-season list. 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 25 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 featured nine games televised either regionally or nationally, seven of which were 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) and 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.