Buffs Conclude Four-Game California Swing At USC
THE GAME: No. 22 (AP)/23 (USA Today Sports/Coaches) ranked University of Colorado concludes its four-game swing through the state of California at USC on Sunday, Feb. 1, at 11 a.m. MT at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
BROADCAST: Sunday's game will be televised on the Pac-12 Mountain Network. Anne Marie Anderson will handle play-by-play duties with Tammy Blackburn providing the color commentary. Sunday'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: Only two of Colorado's remaining nine conference opponents have a better Pac-12 record than them through the league's half-way mark, Washington (7-2) and Sunday's opponent USC (5-4).
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 15-5 overall and 4-5 in Pac-12 play, currently in the sixth spot, one game behind Sunday's opponent, USC.
CU has lost its last three, a season-high streak, all on the road and all against ranked teams. The Buffaloes fell to No. 18 (AP)/19 (USAT) UCLA 62-46 on Friday night at Pauley Pavilion. Coming off competitive losses to No. 7 California on Jan. 25 (59-56) and No. 6 Stanford on Jan. 27 (69-56), this string marked the first time in team history that CU faced three consecutive games against ranked opponents on the road. Those three teams are a combined 53-8 with four of those losses coming against each other. UCLA was swept by Cal and Stanford and the Bay Area schools split earlier this season.
Colorado averages 66 points per game on 42 percent shooting from the field. The Buffaloes scored in bunches during the nonconference schedule hitting 80 points three times. Defensively, CU allows 54 points and has held opponents to 35 percent shooting for the year.
Colorado ranks second in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin at +9.1 and ranked ninth in the nation through games of Jan. 31. The Buffaloes rank among the top five in the Pac-12 in 16 of 21 statistical categories including second in scoring defense (54.0 ppg) and rebounding defense (33.1 rpg).
All-Pac-12 guard Chucky Jeffery leads the team in scoring (13.2 ppg), assists (4.2 apg), rebounds (8.2 rpg) and steals (2.5 spg). She had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the loss at UCLA. She has all four of the team's double-doubles this year, including a 19-point, 16-rebound effort against Arizona State on Jan. 18. On the Pac-12 leaderboard Jeffery ranks fourth in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4), fifth steals and defensive rebounds (6.1), sixth in overall rebounding, ninth in free-throw percentage (.746) and 14th in scoring.
Redshirt freshman forward Arielle Roberson is second on the team and ranks 19th in the Pac-12 in scoring at 12.2 points per game. A three-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, Roberson tops the Buffaloes in free-throws made and attempted (64-of-100) and also ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.5 rpg) and fourth in steals (1.1 spg). Roberson ranks 10th in offensive rebounds (2.7 orpg) on the Pac-12 leaderboard.
Junior guard Brittany Wilson ranks second on the team in steals (1.2 spg) and assists (2.3 apg) while coming in at third in scoring at 8.4 points per contest. She led Colorado in scoring for the fifth time this season with 12 points at UCLA and is averaging 10.7 points over her last three games. Wilson is tied for the team lead in 3-pointers made (22) and has hit 77 percent from the free-throw line. She ranks 13th in 3-pointers made (1.1 3mpg) and is 15th in 3-point percentage (.314) on the league 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 fourth on the team in scoring (8.3 ppg) and third in rebounding (4.8 rpg) while hitting 44 percent from the field. She is one of the team's better free-throw shooters at 79 percent.
Junior center Rachel Hargis is the only Buffalo to start all 20 games. A career 33 percent shooter entering the season, Hargis has made the most of her opportunity hitting 49 percent this season. She leads CU in blocked shots with 23, ranking 13th in the Pac-12 at 1.2 per outing.
Sophomore Lexy Kresl joins Wilson in leading Colorado in 3-pointers with 22 and is averaging 5.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Kresl was second on the team in rebounding over the Cal-Stanford trip averaging 5.0 per game.
Colorado's balance has served them well through the first half of the season. Aside from Roberson and Jeffery averaging in double figures, six others average between three and nine points per game. In the win over Arizona, nine different Buffaloes scored between six and 12 points. At California, nine different Buffs also scored, with seven netting between five and 11 points. With freshman Jamee Swan leading the team at Stanford with 14 points, she became the sixth different player to lead CU in scoring in a game this year.
ABOUT THE TROJANS: USC is 8-12 overall and in fifth place in the Pac-12 at 5-4, one game ahead of Colorado. After winning its first four Pac-12 games, the Trojans have dropped four of their last five, including a 63-60 home setback against Utah on Friday. USC averages 63 points per game on 38 percent from the field. The Trojans give up 66 points per contest and allow opponents to shoot 40 percent from the field, including 36 percent from 3-point range, both Pac-12 highs.
Junior forward Cassie Harberts paces USC and ranks third in the Pac-12 in scoring at 18.7 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the field. She also pulls down 7.7 rebounds per contest, ranking eighth on the league charts. Her numbers are even better in league play at 21.1 points and 8.0 rebounds against Pac-12 opponents. Sophomore guard Ariya Crook is second on the team in scoring at 13.9 points and leads the team in 3-pointers with 38. Crook came off the bench to lead USC with 20 points against Utah. Junior forward Kate Oliver averages 6.6 points and 5.8 rebounds on the Trojans' front line.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the eighth meeting between Colorado and USC with the Trojans holding a 4-3 lead. Colorado snapped a four-game USC win streak in the series by winning the first ever Pac-12 game between the two schools, 69-67 in Boulder on Jan. 26. All seven prior meetings have come in the last 10 years, including two wins by USC in 2010-11, a 68-54 decision in Los Angeles in the first round of the Trojans' Women of Troy Tournament and an 87-70 win in Boulder in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Postseason WNIT.
Colorado head coach Linda Lappe is 1-2 against USC. Trojans' head coach Michael Cooper is 2-1 against the Buffaloes.
CONNECTIONS: Colorado sports three players from California on its roster and all three from the greater Los Angeles area. The Wilson twins, Ashley and Brittany, hail from Long Beach while freshman guard Alexus Atchley is from Yorba Linda. The Wilson's were high school teammates with USC sophomores Thaddesia Southall and Ariya Cook at Long Beach Poly. USC head coach Michael Cooper was assistant coach for the NBA's Denver Nuggets in 2004-05 and was actually the interim head coach for 14 games following former CU men's coach Jeff Bzdelik. Cooper played 12 years and won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1979-90. USC assistants Tai Dillard and Evan Unrau both played in the Big 12 Conference at the same time as CU head coach Linda Lappe. Dillard was a standout at Texas from 1999-2003 while Unrau starred at Missouri from 2000-04.
MORE ON THE DEFENSE: Colorado leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense through eight conference games at 53.2 points per outing, and is second overall at 54.0, just a fraction behind Stanford (53.4). Colorado has allowed just five teams in the 60's all season and earlier this season set a school-record by holding nine straight opponents under the 60-point mark.
Colorado has yet to allow 70 points in a game this year. This is the longest the Buffaloes have gone into any one season without allowing 70. The previous best was the 2011-12 team, that didn't allow 70 until game No. 13, a 75-67 loss at Washington.
CU held three straight conference opponents (Utah, Arizona State & Arizona) to 43 points or less, the first time the Buffaloes have held three straight opponents at 43 or under in conference play since 1980-81. It is also the eighth time in school history the Buffs have held their opponents under 50 in three consecutive outings.
Colorado had held its opponents to 24.6 percent shooting (49-of-199) over a 140 minute span (3 1/2 games) from the Utah game in Salt Lake City on Jan. 13 through the first half the game at California.
Colorado allowed just 36 points to Arizona, the fewest in a conference game since a 70-35 win at Kansas on Jan. 16, 2002. Arizona State was held to 17 points on 4-of-30 from the field in the second half of the Jan. 18 game. The four field goals were one shy of a school record (3 vs. Texas State 12/1/10 and Kansas State 3/7/92). The 13.3 percent allowed was just a fraction off the all-time opponent low for a half, 13.0 (3-of-23) vs. Kansas State on 3/7/92). That weekend Arizona State and Arizona combined for 79 points (39.2 ppg) and 24 percent from the field (26-of-107). The Buffaloes scored 79 points in their win over Arizona alone.
NATIONALLY RANKED: Following competitive losses to a pair of top 10 teams, Colorado remained at No. 23 in the USA Today Sports Women's Basketball Coaches poll released on Tuesday.
On Monday, Colorado slid two spots to No. 22 in the Associated Press Women's Basketball Top 25 poll.
Colorado, 15-4 overall and 4-4 in the Pac-12 Conference, received 64 points in the coaches' poll, down from 113 last week. The Buffaloes have been in the coaches' poll for three-straight weeks and four overall this season. The current No. 23 ranking, held for the last two weeks, is Colorado's highest spot in the coaches' rankings since coming in at No. 16 in the March 15, 2004 poll. This week's ranking marks the 155th time Colorado has appeared in the coaches' poll dating back to the 1988-89 campaign.
Colorado received 205 points in the AP poll, down only 75 from last week. The Buffaloes have resided in the AP poll for the last seven weeks, reaching as high as No. 20 twice - Dec. 31 and Jan. 21. CU's seven-week run in the AP poll is its longest since appearing in all 19 polls of the 2003-04 season. The Buffaloes have a long history of rankings in the AP poll, dating back to the 1980-81 season. This week's ranking marks the 165th time Colorado has appeared in the AP poll, trailing only Stanford, USC and UCLA among Pac-12 schools.
All four losses of Colorado's losses this season have been to league rivals Stanford and California, ranked No. 7 or better in each meeting. After this weekend's games, Stanford moved up two spots in the AP poll to No. 4 and one in the coaches' poll to No. 5. California moved up one spot in both polls to No. 6. The Buffaloes do have one top 10 win on their resume, a 70-66 win over then-No. 8 Louisville on Dec. 14. The Cardinals are currently ranked No. 12 in both polls.
LAPPE AND COLORADO IN THE POLLS: Head coach Linda Lappe joined some elite company when the Buffaloes received their first AP ranking in five years. She is only one of eight NCAA Division I women's head coaches to have played for an AP ranked team, and then return to lead that same program into the AP poll. Overall she is the 31st person to play for and coach an AP ranked program.
The Buffaloes were ranked for 29 weeks during Lappe's playing career (1998-03) including 27 straight from Jan. 22, 2001 through the end of her junior year (March 11, 2002). CU's highest AP ranking during that span was No. 10, on March 4, 2002.
SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: Colorado is 4-3 away from Boulder this season and is 13-10 in its last 23 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 held Utah to 43 points in Salt Lake City on Jan. 13, its fewest allowed in a true road game since a 45-42 win at Pacific on Dec. 18, 2004
Colorado scored an overall season-high 83 points at Denver, the most in a true road contest since scoring 83 in a 3-point loss at Colorado State on Nov. 30, 2005. CU's 10-point halftime lead was its largest on the road since leading Colorado State 38-22 on Nov. 20, 2011
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).
Colorado's 23-point win at UMKC, was its biggest on the road since an 82-47 win at Colorado State on Dec. 1, 2007.
AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: Colorado picked up its 14th all-time win over a top-10 ranked opponent with its 70-66 win over No. 8 Louisville on Dec. 14. The win marked the Buffaloes' first over a top-10 opponent since defeating No. 5 Stanford in the 2002 NCAA Sweet 16. It was the first top-10 win as an unranked team since knocking off No. 7 Texas Tech 63-49 on Jan. 11, 1997.
The Buffaloes are 1-5 against ranked teams this season -- four of five in the top 10 -- and 3-10 under Linda Lappe. CU is 62-147 all-time against ranked opponents. The Buffaloes played just two games against ranked teams in 2011-12, both against Stanford.
Prior to the UCLA game, Colorado's last eight ranked opponents dating back to 2010-11 had all resided in the top 10, by far the longest streak for in school history. The five regular season games where the opponent is ranked in the top 10 in both polls, is a first for the Buffaloes in one season. CU played five regular season top 10 games in 2001-02, but two of those games included a team being ranked 10 or better in only one poll. Including postseason, the 2001-02 team played eight top 10 teams, five of which were top 10 in both polls.
CU's series with Cal and Stanford this season have marked just the first and second times the Buffaloes have faced top-10 opponents in consecutive games during the regular season. Colorado has faced that twice in postseason play; the 1993 and 2002 NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.
BENCH PRODUCTION: Colorado is getting good production from its bench to the tune of 22.0 points (33 percent) and 19.6 rebounds (46 percent) per game. Sophomore forward Jen Reese has headed the bench effort averaging 8.3 points and 4.8 rebounds, ranking fourth and third on the team respectively.
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.
MORE ON THE BOARDS: Colorado ranked ninth in NCAA Division I in rebounding margin at through games of Jan. 31. The Buffaloes have either tied or led the rebounding battle in 16 of 20 games this season and have enjoyed double-digit margins in 10 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).
Colorado had 50 rebounds against Denver, hitting the 50 mark for the second straight game for the first time since grabbing 50 against UC Irvine and 52 against Illinois-Chicago in the first two games of the 2009-10 season.
CU's 109 rebounds over a two-game span are its most since hitting the same number during the 2001 Coors Classic (59 vs. Bowling Green, 50 vs. Houston). The Buffaloes 46 offensive rebounds during that stretch are their most since grabbing 48 in back-to-back games in December 1994 (25 vs. Montana State, 23 vs. Notre Dame).
BIG WIN: The 43-point win over Arizona was CU's largest in a Pac-12 game, smashing the old mark of 14 set just two days earlier against Arizona State (57-43). It was the eighth largest margin of victory in a conference game in CU history (all conferences) and the largest since an 83-38 win over Iowa State on Feb. 19, 1995.
Colorado's 28-point lead at halftime (43-15) is its largest lead at the break against a Pac-12 opponent and the most in a conference game since Colorado led Kansas 42-14 at halftime on Feb. 5, 2003.
BUFFS EXPERIENCED FROM DEEP: While Colorado looks to continue an inside-outside 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. Junior Brittany Wilson tops the Buffaloes' effort with 92, 11th on CU's all-time list. Senior Meagan Malcolm-Peck is 12th 87. Lexy Kresl, who set CU's single-season freshman record in 2011-12 at 63 is 13th with 85. Senior Chucky Jeffery rounds out the current Buffs at 17th with 62.
JEFFERY MOVING UP CAREER LADDERS: Senior guard Chucky Jeffery became the sixth player to reach 800 rebounds in the Arizona win and in the process became the first Buffalo to reach 1,400 points, 800 rebounds and 400 assists.
She is fourth in career steals with 264, needing 20 to catch Bridget Turner (1985-89) for third. Jeffery is currently fifth in career assists with 438, needing five to catch Tracy Tripp (1985-89) for the fourth spot.
On CU's career charts Jeffery also ranks sixth in rebounds (821), 11th in field-goals made (554), 13th in free-throws made (298), 16th in blocks (61) and 17th in 3-point field goals (62).
In other miscellaneous categories Jeffery is also fifth in double-doubles (24), is sixth in double-figure rebounding games (26) and eighth in double-figure scoring games (81).
JEFFERY'S HEADLINER WEEK: Senior guard Chucky Jeffery led the Buffaloes to their first Associated Press ranking in five seasons and their first top-10 win in over 10 years, and as a result picked up some well-deserved conference and national recognition.
On Dec. 17, Jeffery was named the espnW National Player of the Week and Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week for the week of Dec 10-16. She also received national and Pac-12 Player of the Week honors from collegesportsmadness.com.
On Dec. 18, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) named Jeffery its Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's National Player of the Week.
Jeffery averaged 18 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 46 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line in wins over Denver and No. 8 ranked Louisville.
Against Louisville she had a game-high and personal season-best 22 points along with seven rebounds, four assists and one steal as the Buffaloes claimed their first win over a top-10 opponent since defeating No. 5 Stanford in the 2002 NCAA Sweet 16. Jeffery recorded season highs from the 3-point line (2-of-5) and the foul line (8-10) as she became the 16th player in team history to reach 1,300 career points.
Jeffery had 14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals in the road win over Denver on Dec. 11. She notched her second double-double of the season, and 22nd of her career, tying Sandy Bean (1978-82) for fifth on CU's all-time list.
Jeffery's Pac-12 Player of the Week honor is her second, as she received the same award on Dec. 5, 2011.
BUFFS ON TV: Colorado's regular season schedule will feature at least 11 regionally or nationally televised games in 2012-13. Colorado will play nine regular season games on the Pac-12 Networks, and a guaranteed one, and potentially more, during the Pac-12 Tournament, March 7-10, in Seattle.
A program-best six regular season games will be televised nationally while three more will be on one of the regional networks. CU's first Pac-12 Tournament game will also be televised nationally, as would any ensuing round through the championship game, which will air Sunday, March 10, on ESPN2.
CU made its first television appearance on Dec. 11 at Denver on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain. The Buffaloes made their Pac-12 Network on Jan. 4 against defending league champion Stanford; their first of four straight televised games on the network. Colorado will have five straight road games televised beginning with Utah on Jan. 13, through a Super Bowl Sunday matchup at USC on Feb. 3. CU's final regular season televised game will be Feb. 8 at home against Oregon State.
Entering the 2012-13 season, CU has appeared on 99 regional or national telecasts over the previous 11 seasons.