Buffs Look To Remain Undefeated, Host USF Wednesday
THE GAME: The University of Colorado continues its season-long six-game home stand by hosting the University of San Francisco on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.
BROADCAST: Wednesday's game will be televised by ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain. Tom Helmer will have the call with legendary CU head coach Ceal Barry providing the color commentary and Alanna Rizzo reporting from the sidelines. Due to a conflict with the CU men's game, Wednesday's game will air on KVCU AM 1190 with Mike Rice handling play-by-play duties and Carol Callan of USA Basketball with the color. Live internet audio is available on CUBuffs.com, through the BuffsRadio free subscription.
OPENING TIP: Colorado will be looking to start the season 6-0 for the sixth time in team history and the first since the 1993-94 season.
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 5-0 and off to its best start since matching that mark to begin the 2000-01 season. Last weekend, the Buffaloes claimed the 2011 Omni Hotels Classic title with wins over Valparaiso (60-32) and Wisconsin (48).
Colorado has shown early balance with four players averaging between nine and 14 points per game and six averaging at least five per contest. The Buffaloes are averaging 69 points per games and shooting 44 percent from the field. CU's defense has held its opponents to 50.2 points per game, ranking second best in the Pac-12 and 21st in the nation through games of Nov. 27. The Buffaloes have forced 75 opponent turnovers through five games, and their turnover margin of plus-4.4 ranks second in the Pac-12.
After a slow start the Buffaloes are steadily improving on the glass and from the free-throw line. After shooting just 61.5 percent from the free-throw line over the first two games (24-of-39) CU is 84.2 percent over the last three (32-of-38). Overall the Buffaloes rank third in the Pac-12 in free-throw percentage at 72.7 percent. After being out-rebounded in the season-opening win over Northern Arizona, Colorado has won the battle of the boards the last four games, including a plus-9 advantage over Valparaiso (40-31) and plus-19 over Wisconsin (46-27). CU is the third-best team in the Pac-12 in rebounding defense, holding opponents to 33.6 per game and its margin of plus-7.2 ranks fourth.
Junior guard Chucky Jeffery, who has started the last three games, leads the Buffaloes at 14.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and five assists per game. She is second in the Pac-12 in assists and ranks fourth in defensive rebounds (6.8 drpg), fifth in blocks (1.8 bpg), seventh in rebounding, 10th in minutes played (31.6 mpg), 12th in scoring and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and 13th in field-goal percentage (.576).
Jeffery was named MVP of the Omni Hotels Classic after averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in the two games. She recorded her second double-double of the season, and 12th of her career, with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the championship game win over Wisconsin.
Freshman guard Lexy Kresl made her first two career starts during the Omni Hotels Classic and responded by averaging 13 points and four rebounds en route to All-Tournament Team honors. She scored a career-high 16 points in the championship game including a team season-best 8-for-8 performance from the free-throw line. Kresl ranks third in the Pac-12 in free-throw percentage (.933) and is also fourth in 3-pointers made (2.4 3mpg), 12th in 3-point percentage (.400) and 14th in scoring (13.2 ppg) and defensive rebounds (4.6 drpg).
Sophomore guard Brittany Wilson is third on the team in scoring at 12 points per game and leads the team in steals with nine. She tied a career-high with 22 points against Northern Arizona in the season opener, a team-season high. On the Pac-12 charts, Wilson ranks eighth in 3-pointers (1.6 3mpg), 15th in steals (1.8 spg) and 18th in scoring.
Brittany's twin sister Ashley Wilson was her starting back court mate for the season's first two games, the first two starts of her career. She has made eight of her first 14 field goal attempts and is averaging 3.6 points and 3.0 assists. She had a career-best seven rebounds in the Omni Classic first round win over Valparaiso to go along with seven points.
Junior Meagan Malcolm-Peck has played well defensively, averaging five rebounds and just under one blocked shot per game. She is coming off a season-high eight rebounds against Wisconsin. Her 12 offensive rebounds tops the Buffaloes so far and her 2.4 per game average ranks 15th in the Pac-12.
Colorado's front court duo of senior Julie Seabrook and sophomore Rachel Hargis have combined to make 33 of their first 42 shots on the season (.524). Seabrook, a team-best 64.3 percent from the field (9-of-14), also has 20 rebounds and seven steals on her resume. Hargis played a career-best 33 minutes in the Omni Classic championship game win over Wisconsin, recording eight points and seven rebounds. She matched a career-high with four field-goals made against the Badgers and also had a personal-best nine field-goal attempts.
Colorado's bench has been outstanding, accounting for 141 of 345 points or 41 percent of the team's scoring through five games. Although Kresl has cracked the starting lineup for the past two games, she and inside classmate Jen Reese have accounted for the bulk of that bench production. Reese, who had a personal-best 13 points at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, is averaging just under 10 points per contest and shooting 50 percent from the field (15-of-30), ranking 13th on the Pac-12 charts. Against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi the Buffaloes had a season-high 43 bench points (Jeffery 19, Reese 13, Kresl 11).
ABOUT THE DONS: San Francisco is 1-6 overall and has lost its last five. The Dons lone win in 2011 was an 88-77 decision at San Jose State on Nov. 13. USF is averaging 66 points per game and has hit the 80-point mark twice this season. The Dons are also allowing 73 points to their opponents. USF is shooting 36 percent from the field and 68 percent from the free throw line.
San Francisco has enjoyed a balanced scoring attack with four players averaging double-digits. Senior guard Rheina Ale paces the Dons at 13.9 points per game while also averaging 5.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Junior guard Mel Khlok ranks second on the team at 11.3 points per game and tops the Dons with 10 steals on the season. Senior forward Katy Keating averages 10.6 points and leads USF with 21 3-pointers, sporting an impressive 47 percent accuracy from downtown. Freshman guard Taj Winston averages 10.4 points per game.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the sixth meeting between Colorado and San Francisco with the Buffaloes holding a 3-2 edge. Colorado has won the last two in the series, claiming a home-and-home sweep during the 2006 and 2007 nonconference schedule. San Francisco's last win in the series came in Boulder, a 52-51 decision on Dec. 11, 1996.
Colorado is 26-10 against current West Coast Conference teams (including an 8-7 record against former Mountain West Conference school BYU). CU defeated Santa Clara 71-57 on Nov. 19, 2010, in its last meeting with a WCC school.
CU's Linda Lappe and USF's Jennifer Azzi have never faced their respective opponents as a head coach.
CONNECTIONS: Colorado sophomore twin guards Ashley and Brittany Wilson were high school teammates with USF freshman Taj Winston at California prep powerhouse Long Beach Poly. Wednesday will be a homecoming for USF freshman Jamie Katuna, a graduate of Longmont High School. Two Dons assistants have Colorado ties. Molly Marrin is a 2003 graduate of Regis University and Blair Hardiek is a 2007 graduate of Missouri, playing regularly against the Buffaloes in Big 12 Conference action from 2003-07. USF head coach Jennifer Azzi was a member of the 1996 gold medal winning US Olympic women's basketball team where former CU head coach Ceal Barry was an assistant on Tara VanDerveer's staff in Atlanta.
OMNI HOTELS CLASSIC CHAMPIONS: Colorado claimed its 15th holiday tournament title and has won all three since the old Coors Classic was changed to the Omni Hotels Classic in 2009. Colorado improved to 40-10 all-time in its home holiday classic.
ROAD WARRIORS: After dropping its first eight on the road last season, and nine away from home overall, Colorado won its last three games in 2010-11 and upped that streak to five with its two road wins early this year. The current streak of five is the team's best since CU's last NCAA Tournament team won six in a row on the road in 2003-04.
CHUCKY REBOUNDS: Junior guard Chucky Jeffery had a career night on the glass at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, grabbing 16 rebounds in the win over the Islanders. Her total surpassed her previous personal best of 13, which she had achieved three other times, most recently in the win over CSU last year in Boulder. Her 16 rebounds were the most by a CU player since Jackie McFarland recorded 18 at Kansas on Feb. 6, 2007. With 19 points, Jeffery also recorded her 11th career double-double, and CU's first of the season.
LEXY'S RECORD NIGHT: Freshman guard Lexy Kresl had a memorable collegiate debut making 5-of-6 3-point attempts in the first half of CU's 84-60 win over Northern Arizona. She tied a school record for 3-pointers made in one half, a feat that had happened five previous times by three players. Bianca Smith, who was the last person to hit five in one half (vs. Nebraska on Jan. 31, 2009), did it three times. Kate Fagan and CU Athletic Hall of Famer and All-American Shelly Sheetz are the other two.
STEALING THE SHOW: Colorado recorded 16 steals against Northern Arizona in the season opener, its most in a single game since swiping 18 against Texas Southern on Dec. 14, 2007. It's just the third time since the 2003-04 season that the Buffaloes have had 16 or more steals in one contest (16 vs. Pacific on Dec. 8, 2005).
Seven different Buffaloes registered steals against Northern Arizona, led by sophomore Brittany Wilson who had a career high with five. Freshmen Jasmine Sborov and Jen Reese each had three in their collegiate debuts.
SPEAKING OF STEALS: Brittany Wilson leads the Buffaloes in steals with nine and two others are in second at seven. One name won't surprise, Chucky Jeffery, among the team's leaders in 2010-11. But the other? Senior forward Julie Seabrook has had two steals in three of CU's five games, tying a personal best in each instance. Seabrook had just 15 steals through her first 85 career games.
MALCOLM-PECK AMONG BEST FROM 3-POINT RANGE: Junior Meagan Malcolm-Peck is currently 14th on CU's all-time list for 3-pointers made with 64 and needs one to catch former Buff Veronica Johns-Richardson, who had 65 from 2001-05, for 13th.
Malcolm-Peck made 38-of-106 from downtown as a sophomore, which percentage wise (.358) ranked 13th in the Big 12. Her career .325 average (64-of-197) would rank 18th in school history.
JEFFERY MOVING UP IN STEALS, ASSISTS: Junior guard Chucky Jeffery registered one steal against Valparaiso, moving into a three-way tie for 16th on CU's all-time list at 141 with Stephanie Mack (1989-93) and Kris Holwerda (1981-86). She needs just four steals to jump into the Top 15. Jeffery is 20th on CU's all-time list for assists at 250.
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 358-120 all-time record at the Coors Events/Conference Center (.749). 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.