CU women's hoops preview
Sunday: The Arizona State Sun Devils (16-3, 5-2) at Colorado Buffaloes (12-6, 2-5) in a 1 p.m. game at the Coors Events Center.
TV — The Pac-12 Network will televise the game with Anne Marie Anderson on play-by-play and Ros Gold-Onwide providing color commentary. Radio — KKZN (760 AM), with Mike Rice on play-by-play and Carol Callan providing color commentary.
Storylines: The Buffs are coming off their first win in nearly three weeks Friday at home against Arizona. ...Freshman Lauren Huggins came off the bench against the Wildcats to hit five 3-pointer and score in double figures for the first time since November. ...CU is 12-0 when outrebounding its opponents this season and 0-6 when it does not. ...Arizona State is coming off a 65-62 win at Utah on Friday. ...The Sun Devils are the third highest scoring team in the conference at 75.1 points per game.
Key Stat: Arizona has eight players averaging at least 5.5 points a game, including three of the top eight field goal shooters in the Pac-12. This will be a test for CU's defense.
Coaches: Linda Lappe is 76-43 in her fourth season at CU and 126-79 as a head coach. Charli Turner Thorne is 318-200 in her 17th season at ASU and 358-240 in her 19th year as a head coach.
Colorado — G Haley Smith, 6-0, Fr. (1.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.8 apg); G Brittany Wilson, 5-7, Sr., (10.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.1 apg); F, Jamee Swan, 6-2, So. (5.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg,); F Arielle Roberson, 6-2, So. (13.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg); F Jen Reese, 6-2, Jr. (12.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg). ASU — G Kate Hempen, 5-9, So. (7.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg,); G Deja Mann, 5-7, Sr. (11.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.3 apg); G Promise Amukamara, 5-8, Jr. (7.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg,); F Sophie Brunner, 6-1, Fr. (8.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg); F Kelsey Moos, 6-0, Fr. (8.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg).
Series: CU leads 11-2, but the teams have split four meeting since the Buffs joined the Pac-12.
Up next: CU travels to Utah for a 7 p.m. game Wednesday.
The Colorado women's basketball team got back to winning Friday against a struggling Arizona team that has won just four games all season.
The task of starting a winning streak is significantly more challenging Sunday with No. 14 Arizona State visiting the Coors Events Center (1 p.m., Pac-12 Network) also looking to continue its winning ways. The Sun Devils bounced back from a loss to Stanford by winning the first leg of the Rocky Mountain road trip at Utah on Friday.
ASU can be an explosive offensive team and comes into the game averaging nearly 10 more points per game (72.1) in conference play than the Buffs (62.4). The Buffs already lost home games earlier this month to Stanford and Cal, two of the top four teams in the conference. They can't afford to lose to the Sun Devils who currently sit in third place in the league.
"For us every game is really important," CU coach Linda Lappe said. "It's going to be a fun environment. It's going to be a complete game. Arizona State is a nice team with a lot of nice players.
"We're going to control what we can control, which is us. We want to continue our journey to make changes in some of the things we talked about in the last few days."
CU is expecting approximately 50 former players and staff members to attend the game as part of Alumni Weekend. Some of Lappe's former teammates at CU from the early 2000s will be on hand as will members of teams going back to the 1970s and 80s. They will be recognized at halftime.
Also at halftime, CU will present the inaugural Jane Wahl Legacy Award to the woman the award is named after. Wahl was the first CU women's athletic director when the school introduced varsity sports in 1974-75.
The award will be given annually to "a member of the CU women's basketball community, who through their achievements bring honor and recognition to the university and CU Athletics."
CU was able to overcome the loss of point guard Lexy Kresl to a stress fracture in her right leg against Arizona because players such as freshman Lauren Huggins rose to the challenge of a bigger role. Huggins added another outside shooting threat and helped create some space on the floor with defenders having to step further out to guard her.
Lappe needs more of the same from Huggins on a consistent basis the rest of the season. She also needs valuable contributions from Ashley Wilson and Desiree Harris when their numbers are called until Kresl and fellow starting guard Jasmine Sborov can return from injuries.
Lappe saw something from her team Friday that she hadn't seen in four losses earlier in the month.
"There is always a point in every game where you can either take the game or you can be taken," she said. "Tonight I thought we took the game and we have to continue to do that."
For the Buffs, winning and losing generally comes down to winning the rebounding battle. They are undefeated this season when they out-rebound their opponents and winless when they don't. Arizona State will fight for every carom. The Sun Devils are out-rebounding Pac-12 opponents by more than two per game.
CU has averaged more than five rebounds per game than its opponents over the course of the season but has a rebounding deficit in conference play.