Click photo to enlarge
Colorado junior forward Haley Smith, center, celebrates with her teammates after the Buffs ended a 10-game losing streak by defeating USC on Sunday.

CU women's basketball preview: Utah

MATCHUP: Colorado Buffaloes (6-15, 1-9 Pac-12 Conference) at Utah Utes (12-9, 4-6).

GAME TIME: Thursday, 6 p.m. MST, Huntsman Center.

BROADCAST: Radio — 1190 AM; TV — Pac-12 Networks.

COACHES: Colorado — Linda Lappe, sixth season (104-83, 154-119 overall); Utah — Lynne Roberts, first season (12-9, 233-184 overall).

LEADERS: Colorado — Scoring: F Jamee Swan, Sr., 13.0 ppg; Rebounding: Swan, 7.2 rpg; Assists: G Kennedy Leonard, Fr., 3.3 apg. Utah — Scoring: F Emily Potter, So., 16.3 ppg; Rebounding: Potter, 11.2 rpg; Assists: G Danielle Rodriguez, Sr., 4.5 apg.

NOTABLE: The teams complete the home-and-home set Sunday at noon at the Coors Events Center. ... CU ranks last in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (68.4) and defensive field goal percentage (.407). ... Utah's Potter ranks second in the league in rebounding.

The weight has been lifted from the collective shoulders of the Colorado Buffaloes women's basketball team.

The backbreaking 10-game losing streak mercifully is in the rearview mirror, courtesy of Sunday's victory against USC. Now the challenge for coach Linda Lappe's Buffs is to keep the momentary shift of momentum moving forward heading into a home-and-home set against Utah that begins Thursday at Utah.


"It feels good to start to see how some of the hard work we're putting in every single day is paying off, even though it hasn't been coming in wins up until Sunday," Lappe said. "We felt like we're continuing to get better, and we kept saying we're not far away.

"We've still got work to do. We still have to keep getting better. But I like the way we're coming to practice every day. We have a great mindset and we're trying to maximize this team's potential."

The recent slide was the second-longest losing streak in program history. Parlaying the momentum for CU will be critical against a Utes team entering the series with a five-game losing streak, particularly given the Buffs' next opponent after Utah will be league-leading and No. 9-ranked Oregon State.

"We've got to make sure we don't take any game lightly," junior forward Haley Smith said. "We've got to make sure we take this momentum and use it in the next couple games, not to think that just because we have this one win, other wins are going to come easy. We have to bring those things we did well in this past game and build on them."

Lappe said the status of junior guard Lauren Huggins, who has missed the past two games due to a concussion, remains day to day.

Pat Rooney: or