CU women's hoops preview
TODAY: The Utah Utes (10-10, 3-6) at the Colorado Buffaloes (12-8, 2-7) in a 12 p.m. game at the Coors Events Center
TV - The Pac-12 Network will televise the game with Krista Blunk 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: CU is offering $2 tickets and $2 popcorn to entice fans to attend on Super Bowl Sunday. ...CU is coming off a 58-55 loss at Utah on Wednesday. The Buffs made just one field goal in the final four minutes in that game. ...CU has lost six of the past seven games. ...Free throws are one area where the Buffs are improving. A week ago, the Buffs were making 64 percent of their free throws attempts, but after making 39 of their past 45 attempts, they are shooting 70.9 percent. ...Utah has won three of its past four games after a five-game losing streak earlier in January.
KEY STAT: CU hasn't made a 3-point basket in the past 87 minutes, 24 seconds of game time, dating back to the second half of a win over Arizona nine days ago.
COACHES: Linda Lappe is 76-45 in her fourth season at CU and 126-81 as a head coach. Anthony Levrets is 67-57 in his fourth season at Utah.
Colorado - G Haley Smith, 6-0, Fr. (1.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.8 apg); G Brittany Wilson, 5-7, Sr., (11.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.3 apg); F, Jamee Swan, 6-2, So. (6.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg,); F Arielle Roberson, 6-2, So. (12.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg); F Jen Reese, 6-2, Jr. (12.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg). Utah - G Danielle Rodriguez, 5-10, So. (9.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg,, 4.5 apg); G Cheyenne Wilson, 5-11, Jr. (6.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg,); G Ciera Dunbar, 5-10, Jr. (6.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg,, 2.3 apg); F Michelle Plouffe, 6-4, Sr. (17.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg); F Emily Potter, 6-5, Fr. (11.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg).
SERIES: Utah leads 12-11. The Buffs have won four of the past six since the schools joined the Pac-12.
UP NEXT: Colorado travels to Oregon State for a 9 p.m. game Friday
A once promising season has turned sour over the past month for the Colorado women's basketball team.
The Buffaloes, once ranked as high as No. 11 in the nation in the Associated Press poll in December, are now trying to simply keep their hopes of an NCAA tournament invitation alive. And those hopes are on life-support today — at least in terms of an at-large berth — entering a home game against Utah (noon, Pac-12 Network).
The Utes beat the Buffs in Salt Lake City on Wednesday when CU went cold down the stretch, making just one field goal in the final four minutes. It was the proverbial "bad loss" considering the Utes are 10-10 overall and 3-6 in the conference.
There is still time for coach Linda Lappe's team to rebound and regain a strong standing in terms of the postseason, but it must happen soon. This team is in dire need of a winning streak after losing six of its past seven games.
While the Buffs are trying to find their way on the court and overcome injuries to guards Lexy Kresl and Jasmine Sborov, Lappe and her assistants have produced some hope for a brighter future on the recruiting trail.
Lappe recently received a commitment from guard Alexis Robinson of Catlettsburg, Ky., for the 2015 recruiting class. Robinson is a 5-foot-9 point guard who multiple recruiting websites describe as having the tools to be a complete offensive player.
Robinson will be paired with fellow point guard Kennedy Leonard of Southlake, Texas. Leonard, a 5-8 prospect, previously committed to Lappe. Both players are rated with four stars by prospectsnation.com.
But Lappe must wait to add the talented duo to her roster. Right now there appear to be no quick fixes for what ails CU.
The Buffs haven't made a 3-point shot in more than two full games and Lappe isn't getting consistent scoring from anyone. Lappe made the point during her postgame radio interview Wednesday with KKZN that she needs forwards Jen Reese and Arielle Roberson and guard Brittany Wilson to play well together to have success.
That hasn't been happening of late the way it often did earlier in the season.
Reese matched her career high with 22 points in back-to-back games last week only to follow it up with a three-point outing against the Utes.
Roberson has struggled over the past two weeks. She has spent much of the season as CU's leading scorer but recently fell to second. She hasn't scored in double figures in three consecutive games since scoring 20 points in a loss at Washington on Jan. 19. She has made seven of 27 shots in that span.
Wilson has been the most consistent offensive threat over the past four games. She is averaging nearly 16 points a game in that span. The problem is, Wilson has also committed some crucial turnovers late in close games that have somewhat overshadowed those contributions.
The Colorado men's team won a must-win game over Utah at the Coors Events Center on Saturday. Lappe's Buffs find themselves in the same position Sunday.