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No. 11/17 Colorado Hosts Illinois Saturday

Dec 6, 2013

THE GAME: The University of Colorado hosts the University of Illinois on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.

SPECIAL NOTE: Saturday's game is the second game in a non-traditional doubleheader.  The men's team will be hosting No. 6 Kansas at 1:15 p.m. and that game is sold out. It is anticipated that the men's game will wrap up around 3:15 p.m., which will cause significant traffic congestion from 3:15-4:15 p.m. as the men's fans who do not opt to stay for the women's game depart campus. During that time, the only access to campus will be via Broadway and Regent Drive. Do not attempt to drive into campus from 28th and Colorado from 3:15-4:15 p.m.  It will be communicated with our radio broadcasters and via our @cubuffs Twitter handle when those routes do become available.

BROADCAST: Saturday's game will air live on KKZN AM 760. Mike Rice will handle play-by-play duties and will be joined by Carol Callan of USA Basketball with the color commentary. A free live video stream will be available through Colorado's video player. All CU women's basketball home games that are not televised will be available through at this link:
Non-televised Pac-12 road games are scheduled to be available on the opponents' video player, free of charge.

OPENING TIP: Colorado is averaging 85.5 points and hitting 48.3 percent from the field in four home games this year. The Buffaloes have outscored their opponents by an average of 25.8 points (85.5 to 59.8) and have outrebounded their foes by 13.8 per game (43.8 to 30.0) at Coors.

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: No. 11 (AP)/17 (USAT) Colorado improved to 7-0 by squeaking out a 63-59 win on the road at Wyoming on Dec. 4.

Colorado is averaging 79.0 points per game while hitting 45.9 percent from the field and 73.8 percent from the free-throw line. The Buffaloes are distributing the ball well, averaging 16.9 assists per outing, ranking fourth among league counterparts in the early portion of the season.

Colorado has four players averaging double-digits, six players scoring between 8.7 and 12.3 points per game and 10 pitching in at least four a contest.

The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense at 58.6 points allowed per game. Colorado also tops the league in rebounding defense (32.0 rpg), and rebounding margin (+11.0) and ranks second in scoring margin (+20.4 ppg), free-throw percentage (.738), 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.254) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2).

Junior guard Lexy Kresl has been running a solid point for the Buffaloes averaging 11.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.  She ranks second in the Pac-12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3) and free-throw percentage (.885) and sixth in assists. She needs just two more assists to reach her 2012-13 29-game season total of 30.

Kresl was the MVP of the 2013 Omni Hotels Classic averaging 15.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists. She dished out a career-high six assists, with no turnovers, and added 12 points in the first round win over South Alabama. Kresl scored 19 points in the championship game, just one point off her career high, hitting 7-of-14 from the field and adding four assists, five rebounds and three steals.

Junior forward Jen Reese is the leader among four Buffaloes averaging double-digits at 12.3 per game while hitting 56 percent from the floor, ranking fourth in the Pac-12. She's been even more impressive over her last five games hitting 24 of her last 36 shots (.667). Reese is averaging 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds over her previous four outings. She missed the Wyoming game with a concussion, but is expected to be available against Illinois.

She had a season-high 18 points on 7-of-10 from the field in the win over New Mexico, tying a career-high for field goals made and recording the second-highest scoring output of her career (22 at Arizona State on Feb. 17, 2013). Reese was named to the Omni Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and hitting 11-of-16 field goals (.688) over the two games. Reese also ranks third in the Pac-12 in free-throw percentage (.882) and 23rd in scoring.

Senior guard Brittany Wilson leads the team in steals (11) and ranks second in scoring (11.7 ppg) and assists (2.5 apg). She has  Colorado's top two scoring outputs this year, coming off her 19-point performance in the win over Wyoming. She had a career- and team-season high 26 points in the win over Iowa marking the fifth 20-point game in her career as she also set personal bests from the line hitting on 10-of-14 from the charity stripe.

Reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Arielle Roberson leads Colorado in rebounding at 8.2 per game while pitching in 10.8 points per contest. She recorded her fourth career double-double, and the Buffaloes' first of the season, with 13 points and a team season-best 12 rebounds against Wyoming. Roberson returned to the lineup against Rice after missing the previous two games due to a concussion suffered in the Iowa game. She came off the bench against the Owls to pitch in nine points, seven rebounds and a pair of assists.

Junior guard Jasmine Sborov has sprinted out to a great start averaging 8.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Sborov has hit 86.7 percent from the foul line, delivering a pair of clutch performances on the road. She hit two foul shots at Colorado State with under a minute left to give Colorado a three point lead. In the win over Wyoming, she iced the game for the Buffaloes with another two free throws that provided the final margin, 63-59, with five seconds remaining. She has scored in double-digits in four games, including a career-high 13 points in the season opening win over Colorado State. She came into this season with just three double-figure scoring games over the first 62 games of her career.

Freshman guard Lauren Huggins has provided a nice scoring punch off the bench. Huggins leads Colorado from 3-point range, already with 19 on the season as she has multiple 3-pointers in five of her first seven games. Huggins ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in 3-pointers (2.7 3mpg) and eighth in percentage (.442). She is second on the team in steals with 10 and recorded a career- and team-season high four against Rice.

Sophomore forward Jamee Swan scored a career-high 16 points in the win over South Alabama hitting 7-of-10 from the floor. She had a team-best eight rebounds in that contest and ranks third on the team  at 5.0 per game. Swan is averaging 5.6 points on 58 percent from the field and is the team's leader in blocked shots with seven.

ABOUT THE FIGHTING ILLINI: Illinois is 5-4 overall dropping three of its last four on what is becoming a world wind tour of sorts. The Illini played three games in Mexico at the Cancun Challenge and then traveled to Atlanta for their last game, a 93-69 loss at Georgia Tech before finally heading to Colorado. Illinois is averaging 79.1 points per game on 40 percent shooting. The Illini have allowed opponents 68 points per game, but have been successful in creating turnovers. Illinois is forcing 23 turnovers and averaging nearly 13 steals per game, enjoying a plus-6 turnover advantage.

Senior guard Amber Moore leads the Illini at 18.0 points and 2.3 steals per game. She has hit 39 percent from 3-point range and 95 percent from the foul line. Junior guard Ivory Crawford is averaging 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Jacqui Grant is Illinois' top rebounder at 7.3 per game while also averaging 13.2 points an outing.

Matt Bollant is in his second year as the head coach at Illinois with a record of 24-18. Overall he is in his 12th season as a collegiate head coach sporting a mark of 306-73.

THE SERIES: This will be the sixth meeting between Colorado and Illinois with the Buffaloes holding a 3-2 edge. Saturday's bout will be the third game in four seasons between the teams, as this is the return game of a home-and-home series. Colorado won last season's meeting, a 69-62 decision in Champaign on Dec. 1, 2012. Colorado has won two of three in Boulder, but Illinois' last win in the series was on the Buffaloes' home court, a 63-59 outcome on Dec. 4, 2010.

Colorado has played a Big Ten team in each of the past four years, and Saturday will be the second of the season as the Buffaloes defeated Iowa 90-87 on Nov. 20. Colorado is 48-44 all-time against teams that currently make up the Big Ten, 7-16 if one removes the Buffaloes' 41-28 record against former Big Eight/Big 12 foe Nebraska.

Linda Lappe is 1-1 against Illinois as a head coach. Matt Bollant is 0-1 against Colorado as a head coach.

FAST OUT OF THE GATE: Colorado is 7-0 for the third straight year, looking for its fifth start of 8-0 or better. Three of the top seven all-time best starts in program history have come in the last three seasons. CU's best start was a 15-0 mark to begin the 1992-93 season. Here are Colorado's top-eight all-time season starts:

Year          Start   Final    Other
1992-93   15-0    27-4     NCAA Elite 8
2011-12   12-0    21-14   WNIT Quarterfinals
1980-81   12-0    28-5     *AIAW National Tourn. First Round
2012-13   11-0    25-7     NCAA First Round
2013-14   7-0      ??         31 straight regular season nonconf wins
1993-94   7-0      27-5     NCAA Sweet 16
1982-83   7-0      21-8     #Big Eight Semifinals
*-CU's first national tournament appearance; #-First year of Big Eight Conference round-robin play.

MORE OFFENSE: Colorado has hit 80 points in four of seven games, with those four coming in succession from the Alcorn State through South Alabama contests. It marked the first time that the Buffaloes had hit 80 points in four consecutive games since late in the 1982-83 season when Colorado achieved the mark in five straight (Feb. 12-Mar. 5, 1983).

Colorado's 94 points against South Alabama were its most since a 96-90 overtime win over TCU in the third round of the 2008 Postseason WNIT, and the most in regulation since the last time the Buffaloes hit the century mark, a 100-71 win over Cal State-Fullerton on Nov. 18, 2005.

The Buffaloes scored 85 at New Mexico, the most on the road, in regulation time, since a 101-56 win at TCU on Dec. 7, 1993. Colorado scored 90 on the road in a one-point overtime loss at Baylor on Feb. 23, 2000 and that same number in a 9-point overtime win at Kansas on Feb. 24, 1995.

SCORING BALANCE: Colorado has four players averaging double-digits in scoring, six averaging at least eight points and 10 pitching in at least four.

Seven different Buffs have led the team, or tied for the team lead, in scoring in the first seven games. Jen Reese and Brittany Wilson have led or shared the lead in multiple games. Reese paced Colorado with 18 points vs. New Mexico and tied with Jamee Swan with 16 against South Alabama. Wilson led Colorado with a team season-high 26 against Iowa and most recently 19 at Wyoming.

Colorado has had five players score in double-digits in three of the last five games. The Buffaloes didn't register any five-player double-digit games in 2012-13, but were 8-0 in games with four in double figures.

LIGHTS OUT: Colorado is shooting 45.9 percent from the field (191-of-416) which ranks third in the Pac-12.

The Buffaloes had one of its best shooting stretches in recent memory during the three-game span of New Mexico through the Omni Classic. The Buffaloes hit an impressive 52.8 percent (93-of-176) during that span and finished above 50 percent in all three contests, including a season-best 55.6 percent (30-of-54) at New Mexico.

In 2012-13 Colorado had only two games above 50 percent for the entire 32-game season. The last time the Buffaloes had hit 50 percent in three consecutive games was from  Nov. 27-Dec. 4, 1998, current head coach Linda Lappe's freshman season.

NUMBERS FROM DEEP: Colorado hit 10-of-18 3-pointers at New Mexico, its best performance percentage wise since the home game against the Lobos last season. The Buffaloes hit 62 percent from long range (8-of-13) in their 84-39 win over New Mexico in Boulder on Dec. 29, 2012. The 10 3-pointers were Colorado's most in a game on the road since hitting 15 at Oklahoma State on March 25, 2012, in the WNIT Quarterfinals. Colorado also had 10 at home against Oregon on Feb. 10, 2013.

Jen Reese and Jasmine Sborov both went 2-for-2 from long range against the Lobos, setting new career-highs for 3-pointers made for both players. In fact the duo, 4-for-4 on the day, had been a combined 7-for-48 (.146) in their careers prior to the New Mexico game.

ROAD WARRIORS: Colorado has won 21 of its last 31 true road contests. 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. Overall the Buffaloes are 25-13 away from Boulder dating back to the tail end of the 2010-11 season.

BIG WIN STREAKS: With the win over Wyoming, Colorado extended its streak of non-conference regular season wins to 31 games. The Buffaloes claimed perfect 11-0 nonconference marks in each of the last two seasons. Colorado won its final two non-league games in 2010-11, as the streak began with a 74-52 win over Colgate on Dec. 30, 2010.

Colorado's two perfect non-conference seasons comprise of two of the top eight overall winning streaks in team history. The 2011-12 team actually began the season 12-0, including a win in its first ever Pac-12 Conference game, tying for the fifth-best streak in team history and the second longest to begin a season.

The Buffaloes' 11-game streak to start the 2012-13 season ties for the eighth best overall. Throw in a 10-game streak at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, and the Buffaloes have registered three separate  double-digit winning streaks in the last two seasons.

Colorado has 10 double-figure win streaks in its history. Head coach Linda Lappe has presided over three of those streaks, one behind her mentor Ceal Barry who coached the Buffaloes to four different double-figure win streaks over her 22 seasons on the bench.

NATIONALLY RANKED: Colorado moved up three spots to No. 11 in the fourth regular season Associated Press Women's Basketball Top 25 Poll released on Monday.

Colorado received 480 points, up from 365 last week. Monday's showing is Colorado's highest ranking since coming in at No. 11 for the second straight week on Feb. 2, 2004.

The Buffaloes have been ranked in 19 consecutive AP polls, matching their longest run since appearing in all 19 polls of the 2003-04 season.  Colorado has a long history of rankings in the AP poll, dating back to the 1980-81 season. This ranking marks the 177th time Colorado has appeared in the AP poll, trailing only Stanford, USC and UCLA among Pac-12 schools.

Colorado moved up two spots to No. 17 in the latest coaches poll released on Tuesday. The Buffaloes received 301 points, a good jump from 219 in the previous poll. Colorado was just 19 points out of the No. 14 spot.

For the first time since 2003, Colorado was ranked in both the Associated Press and USA Today Sports Coaches Top 25 Preseason polls, coming in at No. 19 in each.

Prior to the 2003-04 campaign the Buffaloes were ranked 20th in both polls. The preseason rankings were Colorado's highest since debuting at No. 12 (AP) and No. 13 (Coaches) heading into the 2001-02 campaign.

Colorado was not ranked in the final 2012-13 Coaches poll, coming in as the first team listed in the receiving votes category. The Buffaloes appeared in 11 Coaches polls in 2012-13, reaching has high as No. 18 the week of March 4, 2013.

Colorado currently has four ranked teams on its schedule, three of which were preseason No. 10 picks. Stanford is No 6 in the AP and No. 4 in the coaches, Louisville is No. 7 in both, California is No. 21 in both and Iowa, whose only loss is to Colorado, debuted in this week's AP poll at No. 25.

WILSON CLIMBING CAREER CHARTS: Senior guard Brittany Wilson has 931 career points, needing 69 to become the 25th player in team history to reach 1,000.

She hit a season-high three 3-point field goals moving past Alexis Felts (1994-98) for sole possession of ninth place on CU's all-time list with 112. Wilson also moved into Colorado's Top 20 in career steals during the Omni Hotels Classic. She is currently 20th with 137 and needs just two to catch Amy Palmer (1992-96) for 19th and four to leap into 17th.

IRON WOMEN: The senior duo of Brittany Wilson and Rachel Hargis have a good chance to end their careers ranking No. 1 & No. 2 in games played at Colorado.

The two have combined for 215 out of a possible 216 games played during their careers. Wilson has not missed a game in her career, playing in all 108 possible contests. Hargis has played in 107, missing only one contest, the 2013 NCAA Tournament game against Kansas, with a knee injury.

Barring any unforeseen setbacks, and with a modest postseason run, the two will be looking to catch Erin Scholz who set the school record at 132 games played from 1993-97. The duo will reach the top 20 in school history with 121 games played.

HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 386-129 all-time record at the Coors Events Center (.750), and finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 15-3. The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CEC in 24 of 35 years. The Buffaloes have enjoyed five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94) at the CEC.

Colorado has won 11 of its last 12 and 22 of its last 26 at home.