Buffs Tune Up For Pac-12 Play With Long Beach State
THE GAME: The University of Colorado closes out the nonconference portion of its schedule by hosting Long Beach State University on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.
BROADCAST: Tuesday's game will air live on KKZN 760 AM. Cory Lopez will have the call with Carol Callan of USA Basketball providing the color commentary. A free live video stream will be available through Colorado's Pac-12.com video player. All CU women's basketball home games that are not televised will be available through Pac-12.com at this link
WHITE BUFFALO GIFT EXCHANGE: CU will be hosting a White Buffalo gift exchange; its own version of the classic White Elephant gift exchange. Any fan can bring an unwrapped, unopened gift to the Coors Events Center and exchange it for another gift from all the ones turned in that day. Fans who still don't like their gift will also be able to donate their new gifts to charity.
OPENING TIP: Colorado is 31-8 in the game which follows the extended break surrounding the Christmas holiday season and has won its last 16.
ABOUT THE BUFFS: Colorado is 7-3 overall after snapping a two-game skid with a 76-71 win over Wyoming on Dec. 21. It's the 28th time the Buffaloes have opened a year with at least seven wins through their first 10 games, including all five years under coach Linda Lappe (43-7 in that span).
The Buffaloes have been solid offensively overall averaging 76.3 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free throw line. Colorado has hit 80 points four times this season and the 97 points scored against San Jose State are the most in the Lappe era and most since scoring 100 against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 18, 2005.
Defensively, Colorado has allowed 68.7 points per game on 35.2 percent from the field. The Buffaloes are the Pac-12's top rebounding team, pulling down 47.7 per game and also lead that circuit in blocked shots. Colorado is second in field goal percentage defense (.352) and rebounding margin (+7.6) and third in 3-point percentage (.389).
Senior forward Jen Reese leads Colorado by averaging 14.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while hitting 47 percent from the field and 81 percent from the free throw line. Reese has scored in double figures in eight of 10 games including 15 points in the win over Wyoming. She scored a career and team-season high 26 points in the win over Colorado State. She also matched a personal-best with 14 rebounds for her sixth career double-double and third of the season. Her 26-point performance also marked the third time this season she's hit the 20-point mark and sixth of her career.
On the Pac-12 leaderboard, Reese is sixth in overall rebounding and free throw percentage, ninth in defensive rebounds (5.9 drpg) and 10th in scoring and offensive rebounds (2.6 orpg).
Senior guard Lexy Kresl is averaging 10.7 points per game, leads Colorado in assists (5.6 apg) and steals (1.3 spg) and tied for the top spot in 3-pointers with 20. Kresl led all players with 17 points on 5-of-11 from 3-point range in the loss to Missouri. She was MVP of the Omni Classic averaging 14.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists in the two-game classic. During that stretch, not only did she record her first career double-double, she topped that with just the fourth triple-double in program history in the win over Colorado State (12 points-11 rebounds-11 assists).
Kresl is third in the Pac-12 in assists and also ranks fifth in 3-pointers made (2.2 3mpg), 12th in defensive rebounds (4.9 drpg) and 13th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).
Junior forward Jamee Swan is averaging 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds while hitting just a fraction under 50 percent from the field; ranking second in the team in all three categories. She led Colorado in scoring for the fourth time this year with 16 points off the bench against Wyoming. Swan scored a career best, and matched a team season high with 26 points in the win over San Jose State. She also had 11 rebounds to record her third career double-double and first of the season.
Swan tops Colorado and ranks third in the Pac-12 in blocked shots (1.7 bpg) while ranking fifth in offensive boards (3.1 orpg), 10th in rebounding and 14th in scoring.
Sophomore guard Haley Smith leads Colorado in field-goal accuracy at 52.7 percent while averaging 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. She recorded her first career double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds against San Jose State; both numbers marking personal bests. She hit 10-of-14 from the field during her career-best day against the Spartans.
On the Pac-12 leaderboard Smith ranks 10th in field goal percentage, 15th in overall rebounding and 23rd in scoring.
Senior guard Jasmine Sborov is averaging 7.2 points and 5.5 rebounds and ranks second on the team in assists with 28. She had a solid line against Wyoming with 11 points, six rebounds and three assists. Against Iowa, Sborov led Colorado with career-highs in points (17) and rebounds (12) for her second career double-double. Sborov also dished out a career-high nine assists against San Jose State. She is tied for 13th on the Pac-12 leaderboard for blocked shots at just under one per game.
Sophomore wing Lauren Huggins is averaging 6.2 points per game and leads the team in 3-point shooting, connecting on 20-of-43 from long range for an impressive 46.5 percent. She has hit 10 of her last 19 (.526). Huggins was 4-of-7 from ling range against Colorado State, hitting three of her four in the overtime sessions. Two of those came in the final minute of the first overtime, including one with 1.7 seconds remaining to send the game into the second extra period. Huggins ranks eighth in the Pac-12 in both 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage.
Forward Zoe Beard-Fails and guard Brecca Thomas made their first career starts against Wyoming. Beard-Fails had eight points and matched a personal-best with seven rebounds. She was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, an effort that has placed her among the season leaders in the Pac-12 ranking 14th at 73.5 percent. Thomas pitched in career-high numbers with nine points and three rebounds in 26 minutes
ABOUT LONG BEACH STATE: Long Beach State is 12-1 overall, off to its best start since its 1986-87 NCAA Women's Final Four team. The 49ers have won 10 straight since their lone loss which was a 90-85 overtime setback against USC on Nov. 21. Colorado will be the third Pac-12 opponent for LBSU as the 49ers upset No. 18/17 Cal, 58-56 in overtime, on Dec. 13. Long Beach State averages 71 points on 40 percent from the field. The 49ers have played well defensively, allowing just over 60 points on 38 percent shooting. LBSU records 10 steals per game and forces 23 turnovers an outing.
Sophomore guard Raven Benton paces Long Beach Sate in scoring at 11.7 points per game. A member of the 2014 Big West Conference All-Freshman team, Benton also pulls down 5.7 rebounds per game and hits 78 percent from the foul line. Guard Anna Kim, also a 2014 Big West All-Freshman selection, averages 10.5 points per game and leads the team in steals (23) and field goal percentage (.556). Junior center Devin Hudson tops Long Beach State in rebounding at 7.7 per game while averaging 8.0 points on 49 percent shooting. Senior guard Hallie Meneses leads the 49ers in assists (58) while pitching in 8.3 points a contest.
Jody Wynn is in her sixth season as head coach at Long Beach State with a record of 80-90.
THE SERIES: This will be the fifth meeting between Colorado and Long Beach State and the first in 20 years. The series is tied at 2-2 with the Buffaloes claiming the last two. The only previous meeting in Boulder was also the last overall meeting, an 85-42 Colorado win on Dec. 19, 1994. That win began Colorado's school-record 25-game winning streak that culminated in a 30-3 record and a spot in the 1995 NCAA Elite Eight. Long Beach State's last win in the series came during the second round of the 1988 NCAA Tournament. The 49ers won that game 103-64 on their home court en route to their second straight NCAA Women's Final Four appearance.
Colorado's Linda Lappe has never faced Long Beach State as a head coach. Jody Wynn has never faced Colorado as a head coach.
BACK TO THE BOARDS: Colorado has outrebounded, or been even, with nine of its 10 opponents this season by an average of 7.6 per game. The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 in overall rebounds (47.7 rpg), offensive boards (15.1 orpg) and defensive rebounds (32.6 drpg).
Colorado recorded 60 rebounds in the San Jose State game hitting that mark for the first time since pulling down 60 against Marquette in the first round of the 1994 NCAA Tournament.
KRESL'S DISH: Lexy Kresl recorded the fourth triple-double in team history by scoring 12 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists in the double overtime win over Colorado State on Nov. 29.
Her triple-double was the team's first since Chucky Jeffery recorded the second of her two triple-doubles at Oklahoma State on Mar. 25, 2012 during the Postseason WNIT. Sandy Bean achieved the program's first triple-double against Utah State on Feb. 16, 1979.
For Kresl, both the rebounds and assists figures were career-highs. It was actually her second "double" of the week. Kresl put together her first career double-double in the win over Denver with 10 points and 10 assists.
Nine of her assists in the Denver game came in the first 20 minutes, tying a school record for assists in one half originally set by Whitney Law against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 18, 2005.
Counting Colorado's prior three triple-doubles, Kresl's points-assists double-double was the 14th in team history and first since Jeffery's triple at OSU (12 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists).
WORKING OVERTIME: Colorado played in overtime in three of its first seven games. The Buffaloes won the last two, defeating San Jose State 97-89 on Dec. 5 and Colorado State 87-81 in double overtime on Nov. 29, after dropping a 79-78 decision to Western Kentucky on Nov. 17.
Colorado played back-to-back overtime games for the first time in team history with the San Jose State and CSU contests. The Buffaloes had two overtimes in a three-game span in February 1988.
The double overtime game with CSU was just the sixth in team history and first since an 84-77 setback to Iowa State on Jan. 13, 2008. Lexy Kresl set a school single game record by playing in 49 minutes against Colorado State.
Colorado's win over San Jose State improved its all-time record to 23-23 all-time in overtime. The Buffaloes are 3-3 in double overtime games.
It's the fifth time Colorado has played three overtime games in one season and first since 1995-96; the most in any one campaign. This is the first instance where all three games have happened during the nonconference schedule. Overall it's the 14 time Colorado has played multiple overtime games in one season.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: Colorado has a record of 51-25 since the beginning of the 2012-13 season. Of those 25 losses, 13 have been to ranked teams and 12 of those ranked higher than Colorado at the time the game was played. The Buffaloes have won 48 of their last 60 games against unranked opponents.
The Buffaloes have been dominant in regular season nonconference games under Linda Lappe. Colorado is 48-8 in that stretch since the beginning of the 2010-11 season. The Buffaloes have won 41 of their last 45 regular season nonconference contests. The Buffaloes put together 33 straight nonconference wins from Dec. 30, 2010 through Dec. 12, 2013.
REESE'S PIECES: Senior forward Jen Reese has joined one elite group in Colorado history and is well on her way to join another. Reese became the 21st player to reach 500 career rebounds during the Missouri State game. She is currently 18th on Colorado's all-time list with 549.
The 6-2 shooter is also Colorado's active leading scorer with 936 career points, putting her well within range to become the 26th player in team history to reach 1,000.
Hitting both marks would make her just the 15th player in team history to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
KRESL SOLID FROM ARC, LINE: Senior guard Lexy Kresl ranks seventh in career 3-pointers attempted (472) and is eighth in 3-pointers made (144)
She has made a 3-pointer in 77 of 104 career games and has 38 contests with two or more buckets from long range. Kresl hit five against Missouri, tying a season high and also marking her sixth career game with five or more 3-pointers.
Kresl has also been one of Colorado's most reliable free throw shooters over the past three seasons. Her career percentage of 83.0 (142-of-171) would rank fourth on the Buffs' all-time list (minimum of 100 attempts).
Kresl hit 84.1 percent from the line in 2013-14 (69-of-82) ranking third in the Pac-12 Conference. Her mark was also good for 19th on Colorado's single-season list.
Kresl has a shot at reaching 1,000 career points entering Tuesday's game at 834.
HUGGINS SHOOTS UP LIST: With 13 3-pointers over the last six games, sophomore Lauren Huggins has put herself among the Buffaloes' career leaders. She is currently 18th on the all-time list with 60.
SWAN'S SWATS: Junior forward Jamee Swan ranks third in the Pac-12 in blocked shots at 1.7 per game. She has 21 blocks over the last 12 games dating back to last season.
Swan has 81 career blocks ranking 10th CU's all-time list.
AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: Colorado is 0-1 against ranked teams this season after dropping a 78-63 decision at No. 22/19 Iowa. The Hawkeyes are one of four teams on the Buffaloes' schedule ranked in the Top 25 joining Stanford, Arizona State and Oregon State.
The Buffaloes have dropped their last 13 against ranked opponents. Colorado is 62-155 all-time against ranked opponents.
OMNI HOTELS CHAMPS: Colorado won its Omni Hotels Classic championship for the 18th time by defeating Missouri State and Colorado State. The Buffaloes improved to 46-10 all-time in their home holiday classic and won their sixth straight title.
CHALLENGING START: Colorado opened a season with two teams that made the NCAA Tournament the previous year (North Dakota & Western Kentucky) for the first time since 2003-04 when the Buffaloes hosted Old Dominion and Notre Dame in the WBCA Classic. Only twice since then had the Buffaloes even played one team in their first two coming off a trip to the big dance, Loyola-Marymount in 2004-05 (Game 1) and Vanderbilt in 2006-07 (Game 2).
Two of Colorado's three opening opponents, North Dakota and Arkansas State, are their respective conference's top preseason pick and Western Kentucky was selected second. The Buffaloes have also faced two conference preseason players of the year in Western Kentucky's Chastity Gooch and Arkansas State's Aundrea Gamble.
Here's a look at Colorado's nonconference opponents through Dec. 28:
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 400-136 all-time record at the Coors Events Center (.746). The Buffaloes have won 10 or more games in a season at the CEC in 25 of 36 years. The Buffaloes have enjoyed five undefeated seasons (1980-83, 1992-94) at the CEC.