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Buffs Play Final Road Game Sunday At Arizona

Feb 22, 2014

THE GAME: The University of Colorado plays its final regular season road contest of the season, facing the University of Arizona on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m. at the McKale Center in Tucson.

BROADCAST: Sunday's game will be televised nationally on the Pac-12 Network (check your local listings). Jim Watson will have the call and will be joined by Ann Schatz with the color commentary. Sunday's game will also air live on KKZN AM 760. Mike Rice will handle play-by-play duties while Carol Callan of USA Basketball will provide the color commentary.

OPENING TIP: Colorado has held Arizona to an average of 47.6 points in five Pac-12 meetings. The Buffaloes have averaged 65.4 points during those five wins.

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 14-12 and tied with Oregon and Utah for ninth place in the Pac-12 at 4-11, two games behind UCLA for eighth. The Buffaloes have lost three straight after being edged 55-51 by No. 20/24 Arizona State Friday night in Tempe. Eleven of Colorado's 12 losses are by 10 points or less, including five by fewer than five points.

Colorado is averaging 70.1 points per game while hitting 42 percent from the field and 69 percent from the free-throw line. Prior to the Arizona State game, a defensive battle, the Buffaloes had scored at least 75 points in the previous three games, its longest streak of that kind in conference play since the 2001-02 team had a string of three, and a string of four, in the same season. On the flip side, Colorado had given up 80 or more points in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2008 WNIT. The Buffaloes defeated TCU in the quarterfinals 96-90 in overtime and then fell to Marquette 86-72 in the semifinals. Colorado returned to its defensive ways by holding Arizona State to 55 points.
 
The Buffaloes are second in the Pac-12 in blocked shots (4.0 bpg) while also ranking third in scoring defense (63.6 ppg), scoring margin (+6.5), free-throw percentage (.687) and field-goal percentage defense (.372).

Junior forward Jen Reese leads Colorado in scoring at 12.7 points per game, just a fraction ahead of sophomore Arielle Roberson, in fact the duo have been separated by just a handful of points all season. Reese had a game-high 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the loss to Arizona State. She has been hitting the boards hard as of late, averaging 7.5 over the last four contests. Reese recorded her third career double-double, and second of the season, with 18 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Oregon. She has scored in double figures in 17 of her 25 games. Reese's first double-double of the season was a 14-point and career-best 14 rebound effort at Louisville. Reese ranks fifth in field-goal percentage,  11th in free-throw percentage (.737) and 19th in scoring on the Pac-12 charts.

Reese had an outstanding weekend in the home series against the Arizona schools last month averaging 22 points and 7.5 rebounds on 55 percent from the field and 91 percent from the free-throw line. In the win over Arizona she tied her career-best with 22 points, hitting 62 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free-throw line. Reese matched her scoring output on Jan. 26 against No. 14/23 Arizona State for her third career 20-point outing, two of which came over the weekend. She established career-highs in field goals made (9), attempted (18) and minutes played (36) while hitting a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line and pulling down eight rebounds.

Roberson tops Colorado and ranks 10th in the Pac-12 in rebounding with 7.8 per game. She is second on the team in scoring at 12.6 points an outing. Roberson has shot 50 percent from the field (21-of-42) over the last four games and overall ranks 12th on the league charts at 44 percent. Roberson also ranks fifth in offensive rebounds (3.3 orpg), 13th in blocked shots (0.8 bpg) and 20th in scoring on the Pac-12 charts.

Last season's Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Roberson has a team-best four double-doubles on the season which all occurred within the final five nonconference games, including the Southern Utah contest where she scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds. She recorded three straight double-doubles (Wyoming-Illinois-Denver), becoming the first Buff to do that since Chucky Jeffery had three in a row from Feb. 3-Feb. 10, 2013 (at USC, vs. Oregon State, vs. Oregon). She had a season-high 22 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Denver. In that game she established team-season and career-highs in free throws made (13) and attempted (17).

Roberson was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for Dec. 2-8 averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds while hitting 48 percent from the field in the wins over Wyoming and Illinois.

Senior guard Brittany Wilson leads the team in assists (79) and steals (31) while ranking third in scoring (10.8 ppg). Wilson missed the first game of her career Friday at Arizona State (concussion), snapping a string of 126 consecutive games played which ranks seventh on CU's all-time list.

Wilson is third in the Pac-12 in free-throw accuracy during league games at 81.4 percent hitting 48-of-59. She has made 29-of-35 in her last seven (.829). Wilson hit a pair of clutch free-throws with 14 seconds left in the win over Oregon which made it a two possession game (79-75) as the Buffaloes went on for the 81-75 win.

Overall on the Pac-12 charts Wilson ranks 10th in assists, 13th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1) and 27th in scoring.

Sophomore forward Jamee Swan is averaging 7.1 points on a team-best 52 percent from the field and 72 percent from the line. She leads the Buffaloes and ranks ninth in the Pac-12 in blocked shots (1.0 bpg).

Swan scored nearly a point a minute last week averaging 17.3 points while hitting 66.7 percent from the field over three games. She scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds while matching a season-high in blocked shots with three in the win over Oregon. Swan scored a career-high 25 points on 9-of-12 from the field and 7-of-10 from the line in just 18 minutes off the bench against Washington. She followed up that performance by scoring 19 points on 7-of-12 from the field with six rebounds and a steal in 21 minutes against Washington State.

Swan is hitting 52.6 percent from the field during Pac-12 play which ranks fifth on the league charts. Her scoring performance against Washington marks her second career 20-point effort, the other coming with her second career double-double in the Stanford game with 20 points and 13 rebounds. 

Senior guard Ashley Wilson has started the last six games averaging 9.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists over that span. Wilson recorded her first career double-double logging personal bests with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Washington. She has groomed herself into one of Colorado's better free-throw shooters hitting 75.3 percent on the season, ranking eighth in the Pac-12.  Wilson's status is even better in league only games, ranking seventh at 76.9 percent.

Five of Wilson's seven career double-figure scoring games have come this season, including two during the home Washington series. She only had two double-figure scoring games in her first 97 career outings.

Junior guard Lexy Kresl has started to regain her early season form after missing three games last month with an injury to her right leg. She scored 11 points at Arizona State, a Pac-12 high for her this season and her most since netting 17 at Louisville on Dec. 21.
She started the first 16 games and had been running a solid point prior to her injury averaging 9.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Kresl continues to lead the Pac-12 in free-throw accuracy at 89.5 percent (51-of-57) while ranking 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and 13th in assists.

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.

Freshman Haley Smith has started the last 12 games for the Buffaloes, and really beginning to build some momentum. Smith scored a career-high nine points at Oregon hitting 4-of-6 from the field and dishing out three assists. She put together one of the best all-around efforts of her young career against Utah recording eight points, eight rebounds and four assists against the Utes.

Freshman guard Lauren Huggins has provided a nice scoring punch off the bench, but has sat out the last five games with a leg injury. Huggins leads Colorado from 3-point range with 29 on the season with multiple 3-pointers seven games. She tied her own career and team season high with five 3-pointers in the win over Arizona, finishing with 15 points. She made 5-of-8 from downtown after making only one of her previous 10 and 2-of-16 during her first six Pac-12 games. Huggins also played great defense against the Wildcats recording a personal-best two blocked shots while also  coming up with three rebounds and two steals.

Junior guard Jasmine Sborov started the first 14 games averaging 7.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game but is sidelined with a broken bone in her right foot. Over her last four games she averaged 7.0 rebounds which included her first career double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing a career-best 10 rebounds against Southern Utah. Sborov was solid in the UCLA game, scoring 11 points on 4-of-7 from the field along with eight rebounds. She played a career-high 33 minutes against the Bruins and also matched her personal best by drilling a pair of 3-pointers.

Sborov has hit 72.4 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 seven 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.

ABOUT THE WILDCATS: Arizona is 5-21 overall and in last place in the Pac-12 at 1-14. The Wildcats' lone Pac-12 win was a 68-49 home triumph over instate rival Arizona State on Feb. 9. Arizona has lost three straight since that win including a 52-47 decision at the hands of Utah on Friday. Arizona is the lowest scoring team in the Pac-12 at 57.7 points per game while shooting 39 percent from the field. Wildcat opponents have averaged 65.1 points on 42 percent shooting.

Junior guard Candice Warthen paces Arizona at 11.1 points per game. Senior guard Kama Griffitts is second in scoring at 9.5 points per game and leads the Wildcats from beyond the arc with 42 on the season. Senior guard Carissa Crutchfield leads Arizona in assists at 3.2 per game while averaging 7.9 points and 3.4 rebounds. Freshman forward LaBrittney Jones tops the Wildcats in rebounding at 5.8 per game while pitching in 7.0 points per contest on 47 percent from the field.

Niya Butts is in her sixth season as head coach at Arizona with an overall record of 79-104.

THE SERIES: This will be the 15th meeting between Colorado and Arizona with the Buffaloes holding an 11-3 series lead. Colorado has won the last eight meetings, including all five since the Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 for the 2011-12 season. Arizona's last win against Colorado came in Tucson, a 75-69 decision on Dec. 11, 1988. Colorado has won four of six all-time meetings in Tucson.

Linda Lappe is 5-0 against Arizona as a head coach. Niya Butts is 0-5 against Colorado as a head coach.

CONNECTIONS: Colorado has two Arizona natives on its roster. Junior guard Lexy Kresl is from Paradise Valley, a suburb of Phoenix. Sophomore forward Jamee Swan is from Marana which is near Tucson.

REBOUNDING FOR THE WIN: After uncharacteristically losing the rebounding battle in five of its first six Pac-12 games, Colorado has bounced back to be on the plus side, or even, in seven of the last nine. During that span the Buffaloes are a plus-42 on the boards, or 4.7 per game.

Two of Colorado's best rebounding efforts of the season have come during this span. Colorado nabbed a season-high 54 rebounds in the win over Oregon, its most since grabbing 58 in the 2013 Pac-12 quarterfinal win over Washington. The Buffaloes recorded 24 of those on the offensive end, just one off their season high of 25 against Southern Utah on Dec. 29. It was also Colorado's fifth game of 50 or more rebounds on the season.

Another one of those 50-rebounds games came in the 61-45 win over Utah on Super Bowl Sunday. The Buffaloes tied a then-season-high with 51 rebounds (Illinois, Southern Utah) and their plus-16 margin over the Utes was their best in the Pac-12 this season and tied for the second-best mark overall (+21 vs. Illinois, +16 vs. Rice & Alcorn State).

Colorado outrebounded the Utes 27-12 in the first half. That plus-15 margin is Colorado's best of the season for a half and Utah's 12 rebounds was an opponent low.

Six players had at least five rebounds for Colorado led by Arielle Roberson and Haley Smith who both had eight. The last time Colorado had six players with at least five rebounds was during its 65-49 win at USC on Feb. 3, 2013 which was also played on Super Bowl Sunday.

The Buffaloes are 14-4 when winning or equaling their opponent on the battle of the boards; 0-8 when trailing on the glass.

3-POINT STREAK ENDS, NEW ONE BEGINS: Colorado's 285-game streak with at least one 3-point field goal came to an end on Jan. 26 against Arizona State. The Buffaloes were 0-of-4 from beyond the arc against the Sun Devils. The last time Colorado had gone without a 3-point field goal prior to the Arizona State game was a 56-51 win at Missouri on Jan. 18, 2005 (0-for-8).

The Buffaloes did not score from 3-point range against Utah either (0-for-7), marking the first time since Dec. 1-2, 1995, Colorado went back-to-back games without a 3-pointer.

Junior forward Jen Reese put an end to the scoreless string from downtown in the opening minutes of the win over Utah, ending a stretch of 88 minutes, 56 seconds with out a 3-pointer (0-for-13).

Colorado has made a 3-pointer in its last six games since that drought, hitting 33.3 percent during that span (22-of-66).

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: Colorado has a record of 39-19 since the beginning of the 2012-13 season. Of those 19 losses, 11 have been to ranked teams and 10 of those ranked higher than Colorado at the time the game was played. The Buffaloes have won 36 of their last 44 games against unranked opponents.

Colorado prepared for the Pac-12 season with a 10-1 nonconference record, with the lone loss coming on the road at then No. 7/7 ranked Louisville. The Buffaloes have  been dominant in the nonconference in the last four years with an overall record of 41-5, including wins in 34 of their last 35 games.

TIGHTENING UP THE 'D': Colorado set a school record for field-goal percentage defense in 2012-13 at 35.0 percent and the Buffaloes are looking to flirt with that mark again.

Colorado is allowing just 37.2 percent from the field which ranks third in the Pac-12 and a number that would currently rank third on the team's season charts. The Buffaloes have been even more stingy from long range by allowing 29.9 percent shooting beyond the arc.

The Buffaloes, who rank third in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (63.6 ppg), have held 14 opponents under 60 points. Colorado has held its opponents under 70 points in 50 of the last 58 games.

Colorado held Utah to 45 points, a season-low in Pac-12 play and the 10th time in the last two seasons the Buffaloes have held a conference opponent under 50 points.

MORE OFFENSE: Colorado has hit 80 points in seven games this season, its most since scoring 80 in 13 games during the 2001-02 season.  Four of those 80-point efforts came 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.

FREE THROW HISTORY: Sophomore Arielle Roberson had one of the top free-throw performances in team history in the win over Denver. Her 13 free throws made tied for the fifth best single-game performance in team history and most since Jackie McFarland had 13 against TCU in the 2008 WNIT, just days after setting her school record of 15 against Villanova. Roberson's 17 attempts tie for the second most in team history, just one off the school-record 18 attempted by LeaAnn Banks at Colorado State on Dec. 5, 1984.

Most Free Throws Made In One Game (Attempted):
15 - Jackie McFarland vs. Villanova, Mar. 27, 2008 (16)
14 - Jackie McFarland vs. Texas Tech, Mar. 6, 2007 (16)
14 - Shelley Sheetz vs. Arkansas, Dec. 8, 1992 (16)
14 - Debbie Descano vs. Montana State, Feb. 20, 1980 (16)
13 - Arielle Roberson vs. Denver, Dec. 12, 2013 (17)
13 - Jackie McFarland vs. TCU, Mar. 30, 2008 (14)
13 - Shelley Sheetz vs. Nebraska, Mar. 18, 1992 (16)
13 - Gretchen DeWitte vs. Nebraska, Feb. 7, 1987 (13)

Most Free Throws Attempted In One Game (Made):
18 - LeaAnn Banks at Colorado State, Dec. 5, 1984 (9)
17 - Arielle Roberson vs. Denver, Dec. 12, 2013 (13)
17 - Tera Bjorklund vs. North Carolina, Mar. 24, 2003 (12)
17 - Erin Scholz vs. Auburn, Mar. 17, 1996 (12)
17 - Bridget Turner vs. UNLV, Mar. 18, 1989 (11)

ROBERSON PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Arielle Roberson was named the Pac-12 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 2-8, the league office announced on Dec. 9.

For Roberson it's her first Player of the Week honor and sixth conference weekly award overall. She was a five-time winner of the Pac-12's Freshman of the Week award last season.

Roberson averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds while hitting 48 percent from the field in Colorado's wins over Wyoming (63-59) on Dec. 4, and Illinois (79-56) on Dec. 7.

Roberson scored 13 points and matched a season-high with 12 rebounds in the win at Wyoming. Eight of her rebounds were on the offensive end, one less than she had in her previous four games combined. She hit 6-of-15 from the field and also dished out an assist.

Against Illinois, Roberson led Colorado in scoring, tying a season-high with 17 points, hitting 58 percent from the field (7-of-12). She pulled down 10 rebounds, logging her fifth career double-double.

Roberson's honor is CU's ninth weekly award in the Pac-12 since the Buffaloes joined the conference in 2011; fourth in the Player of the Week category.

AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: Colorado is 0-5 against ranked teams this season after dropping a 55-51 decision to No. 20/24 Arizona State. The Buffaloes have lost their last 11 to ranked opponents and are 3-16 under Linda Lappe. Only one of those opponents, No. 19/19 California on Jan. 10, was ranked lower than Colorado at the time. Eleven of Colorado's last 15 ranked opponents have been ranked No. 8 or higher.

CU is 62-153 all-time against ranked opponents.

FAST OUT OF THE GATE: Colorado's 9-0 mark to start the season is the fifth best in team history. Three of the top five 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   9-0      ??         33 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.

LIGHTS OUT: Colorado had one of their best shooting stretches in recent memory during the three-game span of New Mexico through the Omni Classic. CU 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 is 5-7 on the road this season and has won 24 of its last 40 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 27-20 away from Boulder dating back to the tail end of the 2010-11 season.

BIG WIN STREAKS: Colorado saw its 33-game regular season nonconference win streak come to an end at Louisville a string that had began with a 74-52 win over Colgate on Dec. 30, 2010. This run is just one of several enjoyed by the Buffaloes over the last three seasons.

Colorado had claimed perfect 11-0 nonconference marks in each of the last two seasons, comprising 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 was ranked in the first 11 polls this season (including preseason), reaching as high as No. 11 in the Associated Press poll and No. 14 in the USA Today Sports Coaches Poll.

The Buffaloes were ranked in 25 straight AP polls from Dec. 17, 2012 to Jan. 13, 2014. Colorado has been ranked in 183 all-time AP polls, ranking third in the Pac-12 behind only Stanford and USC.

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.

WILSON CLIMBING CAREER CHARTS: Senior guard Brittany Wilson is in 20th place on Colorado's all-time scoring list with 1,118 points. She became the 25th player in team history to reach 1,000 points during the Stanford game.

Wilson is ninth in career 3-pointers made (128) and attempted (410), 12th in minutes played (3,229), 14th in steals (157), and 19th in assists (273).

IRON WOMEN: The senior duo of Brittany Wilson and Rachel Hargis continue to climb the list of most games played at Colorado.

The two have combined for 252 out of a possible 254 games played during their careers. Wilson missed her first career game Friday at Arizona State after playing the first 126 of her career. Hargis has also played in 126 missing only one contest, the 2013 NCAA Tournament game against Kansas, with a knee injury.

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.  Hargis and Wilson are currently tied with Randie Wirt (2000-04) for eighth in career games played at 126.

HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 391-134 all-time record at the Coors Events Center (.745), 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, 9-5 at Coors in 2013-14, has won 16 of its last 22 and 27 of its last 36 at home.