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Buffs Put Undefeated Mark On The Line Tuesday At DU

Dec 10, 2012

THE GAME: The University of Colorado will play its final nonconference road game of the season as it visits the University of Denver on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at Magness Arena.

BROADCAST: Tuesday's game will be broadcast live on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain. Marc Stout will handle play-by-play duties with Greg Lackey providing the color commentary and Jenny Cavnar reporting from the sidelines. Tuesday's game will be broadcast live on KKZN AM 760. Mike Rice will have the play-by-play with Carol Callan of USA Basketball providing the color commentary.

OPENING TIP: CU is one of just 11 undefeated teams remaining in NCAA Division I.

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is off to a 7-0 start for the second straight year after cruising to a 72-46 win over instate rival Colorado State on Dec. 5. The Buffaloes are 7-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1992-93 (15-0) and 1993-94 (7-0).

The Buffaloes have been especially good in the nonconference schedule under head coach Linda Lappe. Colorado has won its last 20 nonconference regular season contests and 27 of 31 dating back to the 2010-11 season.

Colorado's offense has played well, averaging 71 points per game and twice hitting 75. The Buffaloes are shooting 44 percent from the field, and 48 percent inside the 3-point arc. Colorado has shared the ball well averaging 14.4 assists per game, and it's come from a multitude of players. Five Buffaloes are already in double-figures for assists through seven games, and seven are averaging at least one per contest. Colorado also has held a sizeable advantage in rebounds (+13.6 rpg), ranking eighth in NCAA Division I through games of Dec. 9.

Defensively, the Buffaloes are holding teams to 55 points per game on 35 percent from the field. Colorado ranks in the top four of the Pac-12 in 12 of 21 statistical categories, including third in scoring margin (+15.9), rebounding defense (31.0 rpg) and rebound margin.

Redshirt freshman forward Arielle Roberson leads Colorado and ranks third in the Pac-12 in scoring at 17.3 points per game. She has hit 50.7 percent from the field, ranking 30th in NCAA Division I. A three-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, Roberson scored a career and team-season high 25 points in the win at Illinois, hitting 7-of-8 from the field and a team-season best 10 free-throws made on 14 attempts. She also leads the Buffaloes in blocked shots (6) and is third  in rebounding at 6.1 per game. Along with her scoring success, Roberson ranks seventh in field-goal percentage, 10th in offensive rebounds (3.3 orpg) and 18th in overall rebounding on the Pac-12 leaderboard.

All-Pac-12 guard Chucky Jeffery leads the team in assists (3.8 apg), rebounds (7.8 rpg) and steals (2.8 spg), while ranking second in scoring (10.5 ppg). Jeffery recorded the team's first double-double of the season - and 21st of her career - with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Wyoming. She had a team season-high 12 rebounds in the win over Colorado State and is averaging 10 rebounds over the last three contests. Jeffery ranks fourth in steals, fifth in assists, sixth in defensive rebounds (6.3 drpg), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4), eighth in overall rebounding,  and 27th in scoring on the Pac-12 charts.

Junior guard Brittany Wilson has started all seven games and ranks second on the team in steals (2.3 spg) and assists (2.0 apg) while coming in at fourth in scoring at 8.1 points per contest. She led Colorado with 13 points and four assists in the win over Colorado State, netting a team season-best 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Wilson also paced the Buffaloes in the season-opening win over Idaho, with 18 points, including a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. Wilson remains perfect from the free-throw line this season at 13-of-13, although she has fallen below the minimum attempts to be ranked on the league charts. She does rank 12th in steals and 13th in 3-point percentage (.348) on the Pac-12 leaderboard.

Sophomore forward Jen Reese has made a successful return from an eye injury that kept her out of the final nine games of 2011-12. She is third on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg) and second in rebounding (6.3 rpg) while hitting 48 percent from the field and 88 percent from the free-throw line. She matched a career-high with 15 points in the win at Illinois and is averaging 12.5 points over the last four contests. Reese has scored in double-figures in each of her last four games, the best stretch of her career. On the Pac-12 charts Reese is third in free-throw percentage, 15th in field-goal percentage and offensive rebounds (2.4 orpg), 17th in overall rebounding and 30th in scoring.

Junior center Rachel Hargis joins Wilson as the only Buffs to start all seven games. A career 33 percent shooter entering the season, Hargis has made the most of her opportunities hitting 55 percent (17-of-21) through seven games. She also has 12 assists on the year, tied for third on the team, after registering just 17 in 35 games as a sophomore. She has five games with multiple assists, including a pair against Colorado State, after having just four multiple assist games in each of her first two seasons.

Sophomore guard Jasmine Sborov has started the last five games including a career-best 11-point effort at Illinois. She is averaging 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds as a starter. Sborov ranks 15th in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds at 2.4 per game.

Colorado has seven players averaging between four and 11 points per game. The Buffaloes are enjoying their best depth in the Lappe era. Thirteen different CU players have already hit the hardwood, with 12 of them  having registered points.

ABOUT THE PIONEERS: Denver is 4-4 overall after a 77-73 win over Air Force on Dec. 8. The Pioneers have won four of their last five after dropping the first three games of the season. Colorado will be the third Pac-12 opponent for DU this season, as the Pioneers lost to Utah 75-60 in the season opener but defeated Oregon 73-62 on the road on Dec. 2. Denver is averaging 63 points per game while shooting 39 percent from the field. The Pioneers have given up 67 points an outing while allowing opponents to shoot 44 percent.

Sophomore guard Morgan Van Riper-Rose leads the Pioneers at 15.5 points per game and is coming off a career-high 26-point performance against Air Force. Van Riper-Rose, who averages nearly nine more points per game than her nearest teammate, has 17 3-pointers on the season and his hitting 42 percent from long range. Senior point guard Emiko Smith is dishing out 5.8 assists while averaging 6.6 points an outing. Junior forward Maiya Michel is Denver's top rebounder at 7.1 per game. Sophomore forward Theresa Wirth is the Pioneers' second leading scorer at just under seven per contest.

Kerry Cremeans is in her first season as head coach at Denver. Cremeans has an impressive coaching resume as an assistant coach with stops at Auburn, Kentucky, Florida (her alma mater) and Purdue, including the Boilermakers' 1999 NCAA championship.

THE SERIES: This will be the eighth meeting between Colorado and Denver and the fourth consecutive year the two teams, which only reside 33 miles apart, will get together on the hardwood. Colorado holds a 5-2 series edge, including a 71-36 decision in Boulder on Dec. 8, 2011. Denver has won two of the three games played on its campus, including both at Magness Arena. CU's lone win at Denver was a 95-72 triumph on Nov. 15, 1977. The Pioneers defeated the Buffaloes 70-69 in the last game at Magness on Nov. 16, 2010.

Denver moved from the Sun Belt Conference to the Western Athletic Conference this past offseason. The Buffaloes are 33-13 all-time against teams currently in the WAC, including their 70-65 win over Idaho in the season opener.

Linda Lappe is 1-1 against Denver as a head coach. Kerry Cremeans has never faced Colorado as a head coach.

FAST OUT OF THE GATE: Colorado is 7-0 for the second straight year, looking for its fourth start of 8-0 or better. The Buffaloes began last season 12-0, tying the second-best mark in team history. CU's best start was a 15-0 mark to begin the 1992-93 season.

MORE ON THE BOARDS: Colorado enters the week ranking eighth in NCAA Division I, and third in the Pac-12, in rebounding margin at +13.6 per game. The Buffaloes have either tied or led the rebounding battle in each game this season and have enjoyed double-digit margins in three games.

The Buffaloes grabbed a season-high 59 rebounds in the win over Colorado State, their most since also recording 59 against Bowling Green on Nov. 23, 2001. CU had 24 offensive rebounds, nearly matching Colorado State's overall total (26). Colorado's 24 offensive rebounds were its most since it had 24 at Iowa State on Feb. 18, 1996.

Colorado's +33 advantage against the Rams tied for the ninth largest single-game margin in team history, most recently achieved against San Francisco on Nov. 30, 2011 (53-20).

STRONG FINISHES: Colorado has benefitted from strong second half finishes, especially the last five contests. The Buffaloes are averaging 38 points in the second half over the last five games while shooting 47 percent (69-of-148) from the field. In first half action during that same stretch Colorado is averaging 32 points on 40 percent shooting (61-of-153). The Buffaloes are scoring nearly 10 more points per game than their opponents in the second half.

Colorado has scored at least 35 points in all seven second periods this season and have hit 40 twice with a high of 42 at UMKC. The Buffaloes have scored 30 or more second half points in their last 12 games dating back to the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament.

SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: Colorado is 2-0 away from Boulder this season and is 11-7 in its last 18 true road contests since the tail end of the 2010-11 campaign. Prior to the start of this run, The Buffaloes had just five wins in their previous 37 road games dating back to the 2008 Big 12 Conference schedule.

Colorado's win at Illinois was its first road win against a major conference opponent in a nonconference regular season game since defeating No. 20/17 ranked Vanderbilt, 62-51, on Dec. 9, 2007. The Buffaloes trailed by six at halftime against the Illini, allowing Colorado to claim its largest halftime deficit overcome to win on the road since defeating Missouri 80-79 in overtime on Feb. 23, 2010 after trailing by seven at the break (43-36).

In Colorado's win at UMKC, its 9-point halftime lead (36-27) was its largest on the road since leading Colorado State 38-22 on Nov. 20, 2011.  Colorado's 78 points were its most in a road contest since scoring 80 in that overtime win at Missouri mentioned above. It was the most in regulation since an 87-78 loss at Minnesota on Nov. 22, 2009. The 23-point margin was CU's biggest on the road since an 82-47 win at Colorado State on Dec. 1, 2007.

ROBERSON AMONG ELITE COMPANY: Freshman guard Arielle Roberson has scored in double-digits in the first seven games of her career, now alone in second place in that regard after breaking a tie with teammate Lexy Kresl (2011-12) and former All-American Shelley Sheetz (1991-92) who each began their careers with six. Tracy Tripp holds the mark of 10, set during the 1985-86 season.

BENCH PRODUCTION: Colorado is getting good production from its bench to the tune of 25.9 points (36 percent) and 22.3 rebounds (50 percent) per game. Sophomore forward Jen Reese has headed the bench effort averaging 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds, ranking third and second respectively on the team.

Colorado scored a season-high 42 bench points in the win over UMKC. The bulk of those came from freshman forward Arielle Roberson who scored 23 points in 19 minutes on 9-of-12 from the field in her lone game off the bench this season. Her 23 bench points are tied for the second most in the past 10 years and her nine field goals are the most. Only Bianca Smith, with 25 points off the bench against San Jose State on Dec. 22, 1999, had a bigger bench game in the last 10 years.

ROBERSON DOMINATES PAC-12 HONORS: Forward Arielle Roberson has won three of the five Pac-12 Freshman of the Week awards given out by the conference. The Pac-12 has added Freshman of the Week to its weekly honors for the first time this season.

In her most recent award on Dec. 2, Roberson averaged 19.5 points on 72 percent from the field (13-of-18) and 71 percent from the foul line (12-of-17) in wins over Wyoming and Illinois. She scored a career and team season-high 25 points, including a critical, late, 3-point basket, to lead Colorado to a 69-62 road win at Illinois as the Buffaloes claimed their 19th straight regular season nonconference victory.

She hit 7-of-8 from the field against the Illini and sank a team season-high 10 free throws on 14 attempts. Roberson also had five rebounds, three steals and an assist against Illinois. Earlier in the week, Roberson netted 14 points on 6-of-10 from the field in the home win over Wyoming.

Roberson earned the inaugural Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award on Nov. 12 after scoring 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting with six rebounds, five steals, two assists and two blocks in her collegiate debut - a 70-65 win over Idaho on Nov. 11. Her second citation came on Nov. 26 after averaging 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds en route to Omni Hotels Classic MVP honors.

Roberson's latest honor is CU's fourth weekly award in the Pac-12 since the Buffaloes joined the conference in 2011. Chucky Jeffery earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors last December. Her three weekly conference awards in one season are the most since Brittany Spears won four Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Week honors in 2007-08.

ARIELLE & ANDRE: The Roberson's are the only brother/sister tandem on the 2012-13 basketball rosters from the same school in the Pac-12 Conference. They're one of five brother/sister tandems on 2012-13 basketball rosters in Division I. The Big Ten has two tandems, followed by one each in the ACC, Mountain West and the Pac-12 Conferences.  CU has another brother/sister pair on the ski team with freshmen Maria and Gustav Nordstrom from Sweden.

Colorado (Pac-12): Arielle (Fr.) and Andre Roberson (Jr.)

Air Force (Mountain West): Alicia (Sr.) and Marshall Leipprandt (Fr.)

Indiana (Big Ten): Kaila (Fr.) and Jordan Hulls (Sr.)

Ohio State (Big Ten): Caite (Fr.) and Aaron Craft (Jr.)

Virginia (ACC): Sarah Beth (So.) and Tayor Barnette (Fr.)

SEEING DOUBLE: Colorado is used to getting double takes from fans and opponents, as the Buffaloes once again sport two pairs of identical twins on its roster.

Brenna and Meagan Malcolm-Peck are senior wing players while Ashley and Brittany Wilson are junior guards. Brenna is the older of the two Malcolm-Pecks by 27 minutes. Ashley is the older of the Wilson twins, by only five minutes.

BUFFS EXPERIENCED FROM DEEP: While Colorado looks to achieve balance on its 2012-13 squad, there is no questioning its experience from shooting from the perimeter. The Buffaloes have four players with at least 50 career 3-point field goals, and all four rank among CU's career Top 20. Senior Meagan Malcolm-Peck tops current Buffs with 84 and ranks 11th on CU's all-time list. Junior Brittany Wilson is 13th all-time with 78. Lexy Kresl, who set CU's freshman record in 2011-12 is 15th with 69. Senior Chucky Jeffery rounds out the current Buffs at 17th with 54.

JEFFERY MOVING UP CAREER LADDERS: Junior guard Chucky Jeffery has moved into 16th in all-time scoring at CU and is 19 points away from 1,300 and 39 points from moving into the top 15. She became the 11th player in team history to reach 700 career rebounds and currently sits in 10th at 714. Jeffery needs just 12 rebounds to jump into seventh place all-time.

On CU's career charts Jeffery also ranks sixth in assists (381), eighth in steals (233), 15th in free-throws made (263) and blocks (59), 16th in field-goals made (482) and 17th in 3-point field goals (54).

In other miscellaneous categories Jeffery is also sixth in double-doubles (21), seventh in double-figure rebounding games (23) and 16th in double-figure scoring games (67).

COLORADO BASKETBALL'S SOLID START: Colorado's men's and women's basketball teams each began the 2012-13 season at 6-0, before the men suffered their first loss of the season on Dec. 1 at Wyoming. It is the first time the men's and women's programs have both started with six or more wins since 1982-83 when both teams started 7-0.