CU women's hoops preview
TODAY: The USC Trojans (17-12, 10-7) at Colorado Buffaloes (16-12, 6-11) in an 12 p.m. game at Coors Events Center
TV — Pac-12 Network with Jim Watson on play-by-play and Becky Hammon providing color commentary. Radio — KKZN (760 AM), with Mike Rice on play-by-play and Carol Callan providing color commentary.
STORYLINES: Colorado is coming off a 20-point win over UCLA on Friday. This is senior day for CU center Rachel Hargis and guards Ashley and Brittany Wilson. The three have combined to play 370 games. ... The Buffs have won two straight for the first time since mid-January. ... Arielle Roberson has produced consecutive double-doubles in points and rebounds in the past two games. ... Junior forward Jen Reese suffered an injured shoulder in the first half against UCLA and did not play in the second half. She is listed in the starting lineup for today's game in the school's official notes. ... USC has lost six of its past nine and could be seeded No. 5, 6 or 7 in the Pac-12 Tournament next week.
KEY STAT: The Buffs have held their past two opponents to five field goals combined in the second halves of those games.
COACHES: Linda Lappe is 80-49 in her fourth season at CU and 130-85 as a head coach. Cynthia Cooper-Dyke is 17-12 in her first season with the Trojans and 167-118 as a head coach.
Colorado — G Haley Smith, 6-0, Fr. (3.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg); G Ashely Wilson, 5-8, Sr., (6.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.8 apg); G, 5-7, Sr. (10.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.2 apg); F Arielle Roberson, 6-2, So. (12.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg); F Jamee Swan, 6-2, Jr. (7.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg). USC — G Brianna Barrett, 5-7, So. (6.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.7 apg); G Ariya Crook, 5-7, Jr. (15.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.1 apg); G Kiki Alofaituli, 6-1, Jr. (4.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg); F Cassie Harberts, 6-2, Sr. (16.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg); F Alexyz Vaioletama, 6-1, Jr. (8.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg).
SERIES: USC leads 5-4, including a 55-45 win in Los Angeles earlier this season.
UP NEXT: The Buffs play UCLA in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday in Seattle.
Colorado guards Ashley and Brittany Wilson have spent the past 22 years together, but they might soon experience life apart from each other when they graduate in May and move on to other endeavors.
Ashley Wilson is ready to put her playing days behind her and move on to a life coaching the sport she loves and has given so much to play. Brittany Wilson might still want to continue playing at the professional level and would likely have to spend time overseas to do so.
The twin sisters from Long Beach, Calif., will play their final regular season home game at the Coors Events Center on Sunday against USC (12 p.m., Pac-12 Network) as two of a three-woman senior class along side center Rachel Hargis.
The Wilsons celebrated their 22nd birthday together Friday along with coach Linda Lappe and their teammates by beating UCLA at home.
Brittany Wilson will leave the school remembered as one of 25 players in the history of the women's program who have scored at least 1,000 points in a career. She joined that club earlier this season and enters her final home game leading the Buffs in assists (82) and steals (31) and is third in scoring at 10. 6 points per game.
Just last week Brittany finally experienced the kind of frustration her sister has grown all too familiar with during their CU careers. She missed the first two games of her career because of a concussion that prevented her from even making the trip to Arizona. It stopped a streak of 126 consecutive games played, the seventh longest streak in the program's history.
"I'm kind of numb right now," Brittany Wilson said after Friday's game when asked about the thought of playing her final game in the events center. "I don't think it will hit me until it actually happens. It's crazy. We've fought hard here. There is a lot of emotions and everything on this court. I'm extremely proud of what our career has been here and the team's I have played against and the greats I have played with like Chucky (Jeffery). I'm just numb right now."
While Brittany Wilson has been an iron woman by staying on the court, Ashley Wilson has been equally strong by constantly coming back when her body has suggested she should stop. It's only part of why she is the captain of this season's team.
She has endured two surgeries on her right knee and is due to undergo surgery on a chronically injured shoulder in April. She also had her nose broken last season and has suffered through numerous other bruises and pains along the way.
Ashley Wilson has continued to show that toughness down the stretch of what has become a difficult senior season. She has been the team's most consistent player over the last month of the regular season, earning starts in the past eight games.
Six of her double figure scoring games have come this season and she is averaging nearly nine points a game since moving into the starting lineup. Wilson said she has been able to fight through pain and frustration with her sister by her side.
"It's been great," Ashley Wilson said of playing with her sister at the college level. "She's a great support. ... It's just great to have someone who knows exactly what you're going through at all times."
Brittany Wilson marvels at her sister's toughness and will to compete and help her team.
"It has been a great thing," Brittany Wilson said. "Whenever I am down, she's there to pick me up. Whenever I'm not having too good of a game, she is right there with me. I've been with her for 22 years of my life and I wouldn't change them for the world. She's a fighter. She doesn't give up and she gives me even more strength to come back and battle every day."
The Wilson sisters actually committed to join the program under former CU coach Kathy McConnell-Miller and stuck by their commitment when CU made a coaching change and hired Linda Lappe four years ago. Lappe's first recruit was Hargis who said she has enjoyed getting to know the Wilson's and watching a pair of siblings experience college basketball together.
"It's been fun," Hargis said. "They are a lot to handle sometimes. They're always going back and forth at each other, but they have a great relationship and they're a lot of fun together. They just bring energy and excitement to the team."