THE GAME: No. 17 (AP)/18 (USAT) University of Colorado hosts No. 19/19 University of California in its Pac-12 Conference home opener on Friday, Jan. 10, at 8 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.
BROADCAST: Friday’s game will be televised live nationally on the Pac-12 Networks (Check your local listings). Anne Marie Anderson will have the call and will be joined by Mary Murphy with the color commentary. Friday’s game will also 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.
PROMOTIONS: Fans can receive two general admission tickets for Friday’s game for $12 (a savings of $8) by visiting CUBuffs.com/promo and using the code PAC12. Additionally, season ticket holders can “Bring a Friend” and receive up to four free tickets for the California game. To order visit CUBuffs.com/promo and use the code inviteafriend14. At halftime CU Athletics will recognize the Chancellor’s Employees of the Year, the CU Dance team will perform their pom routine that they will do at Nationals and Chip the mascot will debut his skit that he created for nationals.
OPENING TIP: Senior guard Brittany Wilson needs 16 points to become the 25th member of Colorado’s 1,000 point club.
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 11-2 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-12 after splitting with the Southern California schools on the road during the league’s opening weekend. Colorado fell to USC in the opener, 55-45, on Jan. 3, but bounced back to edge UCLA, 61-59, on Jan. 5. Colorado has won 10 of its last 11 regular season Pac-12 games dating back to last season.
Colorado is averaging 73.7 points per game while hitting 43 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free-throw line. Colorado has four players averaging double-digits, seven players scoring between 6.3 and 12.9 points per game and nine pitching in at least four a contest.
The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense (59.4 ppg), 3-point field-goal defense (.244) and rebounding margin (+9.4) while ranking second in scoring margin (+14.5), free-throw percentage and field-goal percentage defense (.347).
Junior forward Jen Reese leads Colorado in scoring at 12.9 points per game and paced the Buffaloes in the win over UCLA with 15 points. Reese also tops Colorado and ranks sixth in the Pac-12 Conference in field-goal accuracy at 52.7 percent. Reese, who is Colorado’s second-leading rebounder (5.7 rpg), recorded the second double-double of her career with 14 points and a team season-best 14 rebounds at Louisville. Her 14 rebounds also matched her career high which she also achieved against UCLA in 2011.
She has hit her season high of 18 points twice this season, first at New Mexico and most recently in the win over Denver. At New Mexico she was 7-of-10 from the field, 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). Against Denver she was 6-of-10 from the field and was a team season-best 6-of-6 from the foul line. 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. She also ranks 12th in the Pac-12 in free-throw percentage and 18th in scoring.
Reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Arielle Roberson leads Colorado rebounding (8.5 rpg), free throws made (43) and attempted (66) and is second in scoring (12.1 ppg). Roberson looks to rebound from a Southern California road trip that saw her average just 4.5 points on 24 percent shooting (4-of-17). She has a team-best four double-doubles on the season which all occurred in 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. She ranks third in offensive rebounds (3.8 orpg), ninth in overall rebounds, 14th in defensive boards (4.6 drpg) and 21st in scoring on the Pac-12 charts.
Junior guard Lexy Kresl has been running a solid point for the Buffaloes averaging 10.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. She led Colorado in scoring at Louisville with 17 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
Kresl is second in the Pac-12 in free-throw accuracy at 86.8 percent (33-of-38), including a perfect 6-of-6 against Louisville, tying Reese for the team best this season. She also ranks eighth in assists, 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) and 30th in scoring. Her team-leading 48 assists in the first 13 games have already surpassed 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.
Senior guard Brittany Wilson leads the team in steals (21) while ranking second in assists (2.7 apg) and third in scoring (10.4 ppg). Wilson scored 22 points on the Southern California trip (13 at USC, 9 at UCLA), tying Reese for the team lead.
She had a monster night against Illinois, recording career and team-season highs with 13 rebounds and eight assists. She has Colorado’s top scoring output this year with a career-best 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.
Junior guard Jasmine Sborov has started all 13 games averaging 8.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Over the last three games she has averaged 7.7 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.
Sophomore forward Jamee Swan has started the last three games, averaging 6.3 rebounds in those three assignments. She had a team-high nine rebounds at UCLA while pitching in nine points on 4-of-5 from the field, narrowly missing her second career double-double. Swan also played a career-high 25 minutes in the win over UCLA. Overall Swan is averaging 4.9 points on 52 percent from the field while leading the team and ranking 13th in the Pac-12 in blocked shots (0.9 bpg).
Senior guard Ashley Wilson continues to be an important spark off the bench and celebrated her 100th career game in the win over UCLA. Wilson scored a career-best 14 points in the win over Southern Utah, and then backed up that performance with 12 points and six rebounds against USC. Her back-to-back double-figure scoring games are a first for her, in fact she only had two double-figure scoring games in her first 97 career outings.
Freshman guard Lauren Huggins has provided a nice scoring punch off the bench. Huggins leads Colorado from 3-point range, already with 23 on the season as she has multiple 3-pointers in six of her first 12 games. Huggins ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in 3-pointers (1.9 3mpg) and 15th in 3-point in percentage (.383).
Senior center Rachel Hargis, averaging 4.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, tied a career-high with 12 points in the win over Illinois. Hargis, who needs just six blocks to become the eighth Buffalo to register 100 in a career, has eight in her last seven games and ranks 14th in the Pac-12 in that same category (0.8 bpg).
ABOUT THE GOLDEN BEARS: California is 10-3 overall and 2-0 in the Pac-12 after opening conference play with home wins over Oregon State and Oregon. The Bears are ranked No. 19 in the latest Associated Press and USA Today Sports Top 25 polls. Two of Cal’s three losses have come against No. 1 & No. 2 in the country. Top ranked UConn on Dec. 22 and then-second ranked Duke on Nov. 10. The Golden Bears average 70 points per game on 39 percent shooting. Cal has allowed its opponents 64 points per game on 36 percent from the field.
Junior forward Reshanda Gray leads California in scoring at 16.8 points per game. She also leads the Golden Bears and ranks second in the Pac-12 in shooting at 61 percent. Junior guard Brittany Boyd tops the Pac-12 in both assists (5.8 apg) and steals (3.6 spg) while also averaging 12.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Courtney Range tops the Bears in rebounds at 9.2 per game while averaging 7.7 points a contest. Senior guard Afure Jemerigbe is third on the team in scoring at 10.9 per game while also pulling down 5.1 rebounds an outing.
Lindsay Gottlieb is in her third season at California with a record of 67-17. Gottlieb, who is 123-56 overall in her sixth year as a collegiate head coach, led the Golden Bears to a share of the 2013 Pac-12 title and the NCAA Women’s Final Four.
THE SERIES: This will be the 11th meeting between Colorado and California with the series deadlocked at 5-5. The Golden Bears have won the last five, all since Colorado joined the Pac-12 for the 2011-12 season. Cal swept the season series last year by a narrow margin, wining by four points in Boulder on Jan. 6 (53-49) and by three in Berkeley on Jan. 25 (59-56). Colorado’s last win over Cal came in Boulder, 81-65, in the second round of the 2011 Postseason WNIT.
Linda Lappe is 1-5 against California as a head coach. Lindsay Gottlieb is 5-0 against Colorado as a head coach.
AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: Colorado fell in its first opportunity against a ranked team this year, dropping a 69-62 decision at No. 7/7 Louisville. The Buffaloes were 1-6 against ranked teams in 2012-13, with six of seven coming against the top 10. Ten of Colorado’s last 11 ranked opponents have been ranked No. 8 or higher.
CU is 62-149 all-time against ranked opponents and 3-12 under Linda Lappe.
Friday’s game against California will be Colorado’s first contest between ranked opponents, where the Buffaloes are the higher ranked team, since No. 13/13 CU fell to No. 19/20 Oklahoma, 63-56, in the quarterfinals of the 2004 Big 12 Championship.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: Colorado has a record of 36-9 since the beginning of the 2012-13 season. Of those nine losses, seven have been to ranked teams and all seven ranked higher than Colorado at the time the game was played. The Buffaloes have won 33 of their last 35 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 on pace to flirt with that mark again.
Colorado is allowing just 34.7 percent from the field which ranks second in the Pac-12 (behind Stanford) and 22nd in the nation (through games of Jan. 5). The Buffaloes have been even more stingy from long range, allowing only 24.4 percent shooting beyond the arc, leading the Pac-12 and ranking fourth in NCAA Division I. Over the Southern California weekend, USC and UCLA combined for just 3-of-20 from 3-point range (.150).
The Buffaloes, who lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense (59.4 ppg), have held nine opponents under 60 points. Colorado has held its opponents under 70 points in 44 of the last 45 games.
MORE OFFENSE: Colorado has hit 80 points in five games this season, with 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, seven averaging at least six points and nine pitching in at least four.
Seven different Buffs have led the team, or tied for the team lead, in scoring led by Arielle Roberson who has been in the drivers seat four times. Colorado has had five players score in double-digits in three games and four in double-digits in three others. 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.
ROAD WARRIORS: Colorado is 4-2 on the road this season and has won 22 of its last 34 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 26-15 away from Boulder dating back to the tail end of the 2010-11 season.
NATIONALLY RANKED: Colorado slid five spots to No. 17 as the ninth Associated Press Women’s Basketball Top 25 Poll was released on Monday.
Colorado received 307 points, down from 427 last week. The Buffaloes have been ranked in 24 consecutive AP polls, their longest run since appearing in 27 straight from Jan. 22, 2001 through the final poll of the 2001-02 season.
Colorado has a long history of rankings in the AP poll, dating back to the 1980-81 season. This ranking marks the 182nd time Colorado has appeared in the AP poll, which is the third-most among Pac-12 Conference schools, trailing only Stanford and USC.
In the USA Today Sports Coaches Poll on Tuesday, Colorado fell four spots to No. 18 after spending the previous three weeks at No. 14. The Buffaloes received 254 points, down from 366 last week.
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.
The Buffaloes currently have four ranked teams on their schedule, three of which were preseason No. 10 picks. Stanford is No 4, Louisville is No. 5 and California is No. 19 in both polls. Arizona State is No. 23 in the AP poll and receiving votes in the coaches poll. Iowa dropped from the polls this week but is still receiving votes in both.
WILSON CLIMBING CAREER CHARTS: Senior guard Brittany Wilson has 984 career points, needing 16 to become the 25th player in team history to reach 1,000.
She is in ninth place on CU’s all-time list for 3-point field goals with 116. Wilson is 15th in career steals with 147 and needs just one to catch Jamillah Lang (1990-94) for 14th place.
The two have combined for 227 out of a possible 228 games played during their careers. Wilson has not missed a game in her career, playing in all 114 possible contests. Hargis has played in 113 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.
BUFFS ON TV: Colorado will be featured on the Pac-12 Networks 15 times during the 2013-14 regular season, a school record number for television appearances in one campaign.
Colorado’s appeared on a program-best 13 national and regional telecasts in 2012-13, a figure that also included three postseason contests. Entering this season, the Buffaloes have tipped off on 112 national or regional contests since the Fall of 2001.
Colorado made its 2013-14 Pac-12 Network debut by hosting Iowa on Nov. 20.
Fourteen of Colorado’s 18 conference games will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, including eight of nine at home. All home games not televised on the Pac-12 Networks, will be available online through Colorado’s Pac-12.com video player. Pac-12 road games that are not televised will be available on the opponent’s Pac-12.com video player.
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 389-129 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, a perfect 7-0 at Coors in 2013-14, has won 14 of its last 15 and 25 of its last 29 at home.