THE GAME: Colorado will host Southern Utah in the second round of the Postseason WNIT on Saturday, March 22, at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.
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 Pac-12.com video player. All CU’s WNIT home games that are not televised will be available through Pac-12.com at this link:
POSTSEASON FACTS: Colorado is in postseason play for the 22nd time in team history with an overall record of 33-21. The Buffs played in four AIAW Tournaments from 1979-82 (5-4) and have made 13 NCAA Tournament Appearances (17-13).
- Colorado is the postseason for the fourth-straight year its longest streak since advancing to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 2001 to ‘04.
- This is Colorado’s fifth trip to the postseason WNIT, and third in the last four years, with an overall record of 11-4. The Buffaloes reached back-to-back quarterfinals in 2011 (3-1) and 2012 (3-1), the 2008 semifinals (3-1) and also participated in the 1999 event (1-1).
- CU is 23-7 all-time at home in postseason (12-4 NCAA, 9-3 WNIT, 2-0 AIAW) and has won 11 of its last 14.
- Colorado has won at least three games in three of four previous WNIT appearances, advancing to at least the quarterfinal round in the last three (2008, ’11, & ’12).
- Colorado’s last three WNIT exits have come at the hands of the eventual champion (Marquette in 2008, Oklahoma State in 2012) or runner up (USC in 2011).
- Head coach Linda Lappe is in her fifth WNIT as a coach, and third as a head coach. She was on the Drake staff that went to WNIT’s in 2004 and ‘06.
- Lappe was a true freshman on CU’s 1999 WNIT team
COLORADO IN THE WNIT
First Round: at Colorado 70, BYU 53
Second Round: Drake 82, at Colorado 66
First Round: BYE
Second Round: at Colorado 82, Gonzaga 68
Third Round: at Colorado 64, Villanova 58
Quarterfinals: at Colorado 96, TCU 90 (OT)
Semifinals: Marquette 86, at Colorado 72
First Round: at Colorado 71, UC Riverside 62
Second Round: at Colorado 81, California 65
Third Round: Colorado 70, at Wyoming 58
Quarterfinals: USC 87, Colorado 70
First Round: at Colorado 54, Northern Colorado 42
Second Round: Colorado 64, at South Dakota 55
Third Round: at Colorado 48, Villanova 47
Quarterfinals: at Oklahoma State 78, Colorado 70
First Round: at Colorado 78, TCU 71
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 18-14 overall after its 78-71 win over TCU in the first round of the WNIT on March 19; its 25th season with at least 18 wins. The Buffaloes finished the regular season tied with Oregon for ninth place in the final Pac-12 Conference regular season standings at 6-12. The Buffaloes were the No. 9 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, winning a first round game against No. 8 seed UCLA, 76-65, on March 6, before dropping a quarterfinal game to top-seeded Stanford, 69-54, on March 7. Colorado has won at least one Pac-12 Tournament game in all three seasons as a member of the conference.
Colorado has won four of its last six games and is guaranteed to finish with a winning record for the fourth consecutive season. The Buffaloes average 69.2 points while hitting 41 percent from the field and 69 percent from the free-throw line. Colorado is second in the Pac-12 in blocked shots (3.9 bpg) while also ranking third in scoring defense (63.2 ppg), scoring margin (+5.9), field-goal percentage defense (.371) and rebounding defense (36.3 rpg).
Sophomore forward Arielle Roberson leads Colorado in both scoring, at 12.2 points per game, and rebounding at 8.3 per outing. She led Colorado with 18 points in the win over TCU, hitting 6-of-8 from the field. It was her most points since also netting 18 against Utah in Boulder on Feb. 2; it was the eighth time she led the team outright in scoring this season (shared one other time). On the Pac-12 leaderboard Roberson ranks sixth in offensive rebounds (3.3 orpg), ninth in overall rebounds, 11th in blocked shots (0.9 bpg) and field-goal percentage (.453), 13th in defensive rebounds (5.0 drpg) and 19th in scoring.
An honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection, Roberson has a team-best six double-doubles on the season four of which 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 steals (1.3 spg) while ranking second in assists (3.0 apg) and third in scoring (11.9 ppg). She led the way for the Buffaloes during the Pac-12 Tournament averaging 16.5 points over the two games. She tied a career-high with four 3-point field goals in the loss to Stanford and made 3-of-6 from downtown in the first round win over UCLA. On the overall Pac-12 charts she is 11th in free-throw percentage (.735), 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1), 13th in assists and 24th in scoring.
Sophomore forward Jamee Swan leads Colorado and ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in field-goal accuracy at 49.5 percent. She also leads the team in blocks with 32 and ranks third in rebounding at 5.3 per game. Swan made 51.1 percent from the field during Pac-12 play which ranks fifth on the league charts.
Swan had 16 points in the first round win over TCU, her 11th double figure scoring game of the season. She was 7-of-9 from the field, her best shooting performance in those double figure contests (.778) though she has shot 50 percent or better in nine of those games (69-of-118, 58.5 when in double figures). In the win at Arizona, her hometown team, Swan had 18 points, seven rebounds and a career- and team season-high six steals. Swan hit a short jumper with 0.9 seconds left in regulation that sent the game into overtime. In the three game span which included the game at Oregon and the home Washington weekend, Swan scored nearly a point a minute averaging 17.3 points while hitting 66.7 percent from the field over three games.
Senior guard Ashley Wilson has started the last 12 games and is having a terrific run to the end of her career. Wilson had 13 points, six rebounds and a team-high four steals in the TCU game. She scored a career-high 16 points on a personal-best seven field goals in the Pac-12 Tournament win over UCLA.
Wilson is averaging 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists over the last nine contests. Nine of Wilson’s 11 career double-figure scoring games have come this season including six of the last nine. She only had two double-figure scoring games in her first 97 career outings. She also has made 7-of-13 three-pointers in her last 11 games; in her previous 108 games, she made just six
At Arizona, she scored seven of her 11 points in overtime, including the team’s only 3-pointer of the game. 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 73.5 percent on the season, ranking 10th in the Pac-12. Wilson’s is also 11th in league only games, at 74.7 percent.
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.
Kresl has averaged 6.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists over the last seven games. She scored nine points with five rebounds, three assists and two steals in the win over TCU. Kresl had one of her best all-around games in Pac-12 play in the home win over UCLA, tying career-highs with nine rebounds and six assists while adding five points and three steals. Kresl ranks second in the Pac-12 in free-throw accuracy at 84.9 percent (63-of-72) while ranking 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and 12th 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 18 games for the Buffaloes, and really beginning to build some momentum. She is averaging 6.3 points and 4.0 rebounds over the last six games. Smith scored a career-high 11 points in the home win over UCLA hitting 5-of-10 from the field and corralled eight rebounds.
Freshman guard Lauren Huggins is starting to work her way back from missing six games with a leg injury. She has seen action in the last five games, hitting one 3-pointer in all three postseason contests. Huggins is second on the team with 32 3-pointers on the season and returned to the Pac-12 leaderboard for accuracy coming in 14th at 34.8 percent. She tied her own career and team season high with five 3-pointers in the home 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.
Freshmen Zoe Beard-Fails and Desiree Harris both grabbed career rebound numbers in the win over TCU. Beard-Fails was one of three Buffs with six against the Horned Frogs. Beard-Fails is averaging 3.0 rebounds during the postseason and has 13 of her season total of 37 in the last four games. Harris, who had just seven in her first 14 games, pulled down three against TCU.
Colorado lost two significant starters to injuries at separate points this season. Junior forward Jen Reese is out with a broken bone in her left shoulder, suffered late in the first half of the home win over UCLA. Junior guard Jasmine Sborov missed the final 15 games of the regular season with a broken bone in her right foot.
Reese is second on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg). An honorable mention to the 2014 All-Pac-12 team, Reese is sixth in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage at 48.3 percent while also ranking eighth in free-throw percentage (.744) and 20th in scoring on the league leaderboard. She scored in double figures in 17 of the 27 games she appeared in. Reese has a pair of double-doubles, including an 18-point, 13-rebound effort in the win at Oregon. She has matched her career high of 22 points twice this season, coming in back-to-back home games against the Arizona schools in January.
Sborov started the first 14 games averaging 7.8 points and 4.6 rebounds. 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 road 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 shot 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 scored in double-digits in seven of her 14 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 THUNDERBIRDS: Southern Utah is 23-9 overall after defeating Colorado State 71-56 in the WNIT first round on Thursday night in Fort Collins. The Thunderbirds shared the Big Sky Conference regular season title with North Dakota at 15-5. SUU earned the league’s automatic bid into the WNIT after falling to Montana in the Big Sky Tournament semifinals. Southern Utah has won seven of eight and 11 of its last 13 games. The Thunderbirds average 74.7 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting; both figures ranking second in the Big Sky. Southern Utah gives up 67.1 points per game while opponents are shooting just under 40 percent.
Junior guard Hailey Mandelko leads Southern Utah in scoring at 14.5 points per game. A 2014 All-Big Sky first team pick, Mandelko also has a team-best 71 3-point field goals. Sophomore forward Lori Parkinson tops SUU in rebounding at 7.3 per game while averaging 11.8 points on 51.5 percent shooting. Senior forward Carli Moreland is Southern Utah’s third double-digit scorer at 11.0 per contest.
JR Payne is in her fifth season at Southern Utah with a record of 67-84.
THE SERIES: This will be the fourth meeting between Colorado and Southern Utah with the Buffaloes winning all three previous meetings, including a 75-59 decision at the Coors Events Center on Dec. 29, 2013. All three prior meetings have come in Boulder.
Linda Lappe is 1-0 against Southern Utah as a head coach. JR Payne is 0-2 against Colorado as a head coach.
CONNECTIONS: Southern Utah sports one Colorado native on its roster. Senior forward and leading scorer Carli Moreland is a native of Broomfield and a graduate of Legacy High School.
By playing against Southern Utah, Hargis will take over sole possession of Colorado’s all-time lead by appearing in her 133rd game. Wilson, one behind Hargis, would tie previous record holder Erin Scholz (1993-97) for second at 132.
The two have combined for 263 out of a possible 266 games played during their careers. Hargis has missed only one contest, the 2013 NCAA Tournament game against Kansas, with a knee injury. Wilson missed both contests on the Arizona trip after playing in the first 126 games of her career, a figure which ranks seventh in team history.
WILSON CLIMBING CAREER CHARTS: Senior guard Brittany Wilson is in 19th place on Colorado’s all-time scoring list with 1,177 points. She became the 25th player in team history to reach 1,000 points during the Stanford game.
Wilson is third in games played (131), seventh in 3-point attempts (443), ninth in 3-pointers made (137) and minutes played (3,360), 12th in starts (102), 14th in steals (164), and 18th in assists (284).
BUFFALOES EARN HONORABLE MENTION: Colorado did not receive any first team recognition on the coaches All-Pac-12 teams, but did receive several honorable mentions.
Arielle Roberson and Jen Reese earned honorable mention to the All-Pac-12 team. Both are repeat selections at that status from last season. Roberson, Ashley Wilson and Brittany Wilson all received honorable mention to the Pac-12 All-Defensive team. Brittany Wilson was an All-Defensive team member in 2013 while Roberson repeats as an honorable mention. This is Ashley Wilson’s first Pac-12 recognition.
ROBERSON REBOUNDS: Sophomore forward Arielle Roberson has 446 career rebounds, the fourth most by a Buff in their freshman and sophomore seasons combined (see chart). Roberson had 198 as a freshman in 2012-13 (96 offensive) and has 248 this year (99 offensive). She is officially the third Buff to grab 90 offensive rebounds in back-to-back seasons since they were first charted in the late 1980s (joining Jackie McFarland, who did it twice, and Erin Scholz; though without a doubt Lisa VanGoor accomplished the feat in the early 1980s). Her 195 total offensive rebounds over two seasons are the third-most in a two-year span in school annals, again not counting VanGoor who would likely had over 200 at least once (McFarland had 228 between the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, and then had 210 between ’06-07 and ’07-08).
Colorado Rebound Leaders (Fr./So. Seasons)
728 Lisa Van Goor (1980-81, 1981-82)
544 Erin Scholz (1993-94, 1994-95)
486 Brittany Spears (2006-07, 2007-08)
446 Arielle Roberson (2012-13, 2013-14)
445 Jackie McFarland (2003-04, 2004-05)
433 Sandy Bean (1978-79, 1979-80)
During the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal loss to top seeded Stanford, Roberson grabbed a career and team-season high 17 rebounds. Her 17 rebounds are the most by a CU player since Chucky Jeffery had 17 against Villanova in the 2012 Postseason WNIT. It is the most rebounds by a Colorado player in a conference postseason tournament and ties for the third most in any postseason game in team history.
Most Rebounds In Postseason Action:
19—Erin Scholz vs. (Southwest) Missouri State, 3/18/95 (NCAA)
18—Gail Hook vs. Weber State, 3/14/82 (AIAW Region)
17—Arielle Roberson vs. Stanford, Mar. 7, 2014 (Pac-12)
17—Chucky Jeffery vs. Villanova, Mar. 22, 2012 (Postseason WNIT)
SHUFFLING THE LINEUP: Due in large part to injuries Colorado has had to shuffle its lineup throughout the season. The Buffaloes have featured 10 different starting lineups and no one lineup has started together for more than seven games.
In contrast, the 2012-13 team, Colorado had six different starting lineups but only two for 28 of the 32 games. In those 28 games the only difference was Lexy Kresl for Jasmine Sborov, meaning Brittany Wilson, Chucky Jeffery, Arielle Roberson and Rachel Hargis started together in 28 contests. Furthermore two of the four one-time lineups happened in the first two games of the season, meaning the Buffs actually featured just two lineups for 28 of the final 30 games.
Colorado is the only Pac-12 team in 2013-14 not to have one player that started every game of the regular season (UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State all had one). Only Rachel Hargis and Jamee Swan have appeared in all 32 games for Colorado tying Oregon for the lowest total in the Pac-12 (Jillian Alleyne, Chrishae Rowe).
HISTORIC COMEBACK: Colorado’s comeback from a 16-point halftime deficit to win in overtime at Arizona (61-56) is the second largest in team history (since records are available from the 1978-79 season), trailing only the 19-point comeback against Washington on Dec. 21, 1982 in Portland. The Buffaloes 20-point comeback is believed to be the best overall in team history, certainly since play by play records were kept on a more consistent basis since the 1981-82 season.
Colorado trailed 36-16 with 4:14 left in the first half and 39-23 at halftime. The Buffaloes outscored Arizona 26-10 in the second half, holding the Wildcats to just two field goals, and 10 percent shooting (2-of-20), both all-time CU opponent lows for one half.
Colorado put together two of the best defensive performances in team history in back-to-back games down the stretch. The Buffaloes allowed Arizona and UCLA a combined 22 points (11.0 per half) on 5-of-45 from the field (.111).
The 10 points allowed to Arizona was the fewest for any half in a conference regular season game, the second lowest in a second half of any game and tied for the third-fewest in any half in team history. Colorado’s 12-point second half shut down against UCLA comes in right behind that performance, tying for the third lowest in a second half.
The Buffaloes allowed Kansas State only eight first half points in the first round of the 1992 Big Eight Tournament (W 79-27) and limited Utah State to just nine second half points in a nonconference home game on Dec. 13, 1986 (W 100-27). Colorado also held New Mexico to 10 in the first half at home on Dec. 31, 1991 (W 92-22) and did the same against Wyoming in Laramie on Dec. 9, 1998 (W 70-50).
Those two games featured top two field goal defense performances in team history for one half. Arizona shot 10 percent (2-of-20) while UCLA was limited to 12 percent (3-of-25). CU’s previous opponent low for a half before this stretch was 13 percent (3-of-23) by Kansas State in the first round of the 1992 Big Eight Tournament (Mar. 7, 1992).
Arizona’s two field goals are an all-time opponent low for one half. UCLA’s three field goals ties for second, also happening vs. Texas State on Dec. 1, 2010 and vs. Kansas State on Mar. 7, 1992.
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 12 of the last 15. During that span the Buffaloes are a plus-86 on the boards, or 5.7 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 17-5 when winning or equaling their opponent on the battle of the boards; 0-9 when trailing on the glass.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: Colorado has a record of 43-21 since the beginning of the 2012-13 season. Of those 21 losses, 12 have been to ranked teams and 11 of those ranked higher than Colorado at the time the game was played. The Buffaloes have won 40 of their last 49 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 finish with another high ranking season.
Colorado is allowing just 37.1 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 31.9 percent shooting beyond the arc.
The Buffaloes, who rank third in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (63.2 ppg), have held 16 opponents under 60 points. Colorado has held its opponents under 70 points in 55 of the last 64 games.
Colorado held UCLA to 42 points, a season-low in Pac-12 play and the 11th time in the last two seasons the Buffaloes have held a conference opponent under 50 points.
HOME AT THE CECC: Colorado is traditionally tough at home with a 393-135 all-time record at the Coors Events Center (.744). 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.
Colorado is 11-6 at Coors in 2013-14 and has won 18 of its last 25 and 29 of its last 39 at home.