CU women's hoops preview
TODAY: The Colorado Buffaloes (13-8, 3-7) visit the Oregon State Beavers (13-9, 5-5) in a 1 p.m. game at the Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore.
BROADCAST: TV —No television. Available on Oregon State live video stream osubeavers.com. Radio — KKZN (760 AM), with Mike Rice on play-by-play and Carol Callan providing color commentary.
STORYLINES: CU is coming off a 61-45 win over Utah on Sunday. The Buffs are 3-7 over the past 10 games and badly in need of a winning streak. CU hasn't won two in a row since mid-December. ...Junior guard Lexy Kresl returned to action in the win over Utah but continues to recover from a leg injury and likely won't play a high number of minutes. ...Freshman Haley Smith is coming off her best game. She scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists against Utah. ...Oregon State averages 73.1 points per game and is making 43.2 percent of its field goal attempts. ...OSU leads the Pac-12 with six blocked shots per game.
KEY STAT: CU leads the Pac-12 in 3-point defense and will face the top two teams in 3-point shooting this week in Oregon State and Oregon. The Beavers are making 36.9 percent of their 3-point shots
COACHES: Linda Lappe is 77-45 in her fourth season at CU and 127-81 as a head coach. Scott Rueck is 52-64 in his fourth season with the Beavers.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado — G Haley Smith, 6-0, Fr. (2.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.9 apg); G Brittany Wilson, 5-7, Sr., (11.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.2 apg); G, Ashley Wilson, 5-8, Sr. (5.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.8 apg,); F Arielle Roberson, 6-2, So. (12.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg); F Jen Reese, 6-2, Jr. (12.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg). OSU — G Sydney Wiese, 6-0, Fr. (13.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg); G Jamie Weisner, 5-10, So. (13.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.4 apg); G Ali Gibson, 5-11, Jr. (8.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg,, 1.3 apg); F Deven Hunter, 6-3, So. (8.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg); F Ruth Hamblin, 6-6, So. (8.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg).
SERIES: CU leads 5-1 and has won three straight in the series and three out of four since joining the Pac-12.
UP NEXT: CU travels to Oregon for a 6 p.m. game Monday
The Colorado women's basketball team hasn't produced a winning streak since its players and coaches were still wondering what gifts they might find under the Christmas tree back in December.
The Buffs have an opportunity to string together some wins in games at Oregon State on Saturday and Oregon on Monday following a win last week at home against Utah. The Buffs were originally scheduled to play Friday night in Corvallis against the Beavers but a snowstorm in the Pacific Northwest postponed the game and led to the Oregon game being moved from Sunday to Monday.
CU will be facing two of the best offensive teams in the Pac-12 Conference on this road trip and Lappe said her team has to perform well in two of the areas she constantly emphasizes to earn a pair of victories.
"I think we just have to keep playing defense and keep rebounding," Lappe said. "I mean rebounding in both these two games is going to be a huge key and a huge stat. They've got such good scoring offenses that you've got to make sure you limit them to one shot."
Colorado has lost three straight on the road and four of its past five away from the Coors Events Center. The Buffs are 13-8 overall and 3-7 in the Pac-12 and can't afford many more losses if they want to keep NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
In several recent road losses, and several home games as well, CU hasn't performed well in late-game situations with the outcome still up in the air.
Lappe said she believes her team is better prepared for such situations now than they might have been earlier in the season because of the way players have approached practices in the past two weeks.
Lappe said she recently showed her team video of a road win at UCLA in January in which the Buffs executed well on offense and shared the ball. Doing so allowed CU to win a close game down the stretch against the Bruins. She then showed her players video of a road loss at Utah last week in which players failed to execute. She said many of the same players were on the court at the end of both games but they weren't consistent in how they handled the situations.
"We've practiced with a different sense of urgency," Lappe said. "We talk about winning the day, getting better every single day, playing with that sense of urgency every day and playing with that competitive fire every day. That doesn't just show up when you're in a late-game scenario at Oregon State or Oregon. You build that every day."
Junior forward Jen Reese, a product of Clackamas, Ore., admitted she and her teammates haven't always practiced the way they should this season and she believes it has contributed to losses. She said the Buffs have tried to get away with not finishing drills and parts of practices at times but they have dedicated themselves to finishing recently.
"If we don't finish them in practice, we're not going to finish them in games," Reese said. "We've been taught, lately, that you've got to do them in practice because there is no second chances like I've said before."
Forward Arielle Roberson said last week after beating Utah at home that she believes the Buffs play better when they don't have the pressure of being favored on them. CU was ranked as high No. 11 in the nation back in late December but has lost seven of 10 games since the start of January.
Reese said it gives her "extra oomph" going into games as an underdog and she believes her teammates prefer it to playing as a favorite.
"We have a little swag now and we have to keep playing with that," Reese said. "I mean, we talked about swagger in preseason and stuff and we've finally got it back. We're playing together. We're moving the ball great. We have to keep doing that and good things will happen."