CU women's hoops preview

TODAY: The Colorado Buffaloes (18-14) host Southern Utah (23-9) in a 7 p.m. game Coors Events Center

BROADCAST: TV - No television. Game can be seen via Pac-12's video player at Radio — KKZN (760 AM), with Mike Rice on play-by-play and Carol Callan providing color commentary.

STORYLINES: The Buffs are coming off a 78-71 home win over TCU in the first round of the WNIT. ...Southern Utah defeated Colorado State 71-56 in its first-round game. The Thunderbirds have won seven of their past eight and 11 of their past 13 games. ...They shared the regular season title in the Big Sky Conference with North Dakota. ...CU sophomore Arielle Roberson scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds the last time these teams played.

KEY STAT: Both teams went 1-for-13 behind the 3-point line in the first meeting this season.

COACHES: Linda Lappe is 82-51 in her fourth season at CU and 132-87 as a head coach. JR Payne is 67-84 in her fifth season at Southern Utah.


PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado — G Ashley Wilson, 5-8, Sr. (7.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.9 apg); G Brittany Wilson, 5-7, Sr., (10.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.0 apg); G Haley Smith, 6-0, Fr. (3.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.1 apg); F Arielle Roberson, 6-2, So. (12.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg); F Rachel Hargis, 6-4, Sr. (3.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg). SUU — G Ashleigh Munns, 5-9, So. (2.4 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 0.7 apg); G Haley Mandeko, 5-8, Jr. (14.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg); G Marquelle Funk, 5-10, So. (6.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.7 apg); F Carli Moreland, 6-1, Sr. (11.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg); F Lori Parkinson, 6-1, So. (11.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg).

SERIES: CU leads 3-0 including a 75-59 victory on Dec. 29 in Boulder.

UP NEXT: The winner will advance to play in the third round against one of four possible opponents from other second-round games sometime between March 26-28 at a site to be determined.

The Colorado women's basketball team will confront a familiar opponent tonight in its second-round game in the WNIT.

The Buffs thought they might get a second game against in-state rival Colorado State this season, but Southern Utah beat the Rams in Fort Collins on Thursday setting up a rematch of a non-conference game in Boulder that the Buffs won Dec. 29.

It was ugly the first time these teams played. They combined for 62 free throw attempts as Southern Utah seemed to prefer a slower pace of play forcing CU to execute its offense in the half-court and limiting transition points.

Two Buffs had double-doubles in points and rebounds the first time around but one of those players, Jasmine Sborov, suffered a season-ending foot injury in early January.

The Buffs will have forward Arielle Roberson, who led them in scoring and rebounds in the first meeting with the Thunderbirds and also in their WNIT opener against TCU.

Colorado was a top-20 team back in December when wrapping up non-conference play. The Buffs went 6-12 in Pac-12 Conference play and fell to the WNIT after once harboring hopes for a Pac-12 title and second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.

But CU didn't play like it was just going though the motions in its tournament opener against the Horned Frogs. Three seniors — Ashley and Brittany Wilson and Rachel Hargis — are hoping to extend the season as long as possible.

This is the third time in four years the Buffs have played in the WNIT and they reached the quarterfinals in both 2011 and 2012. Improving on those finishes might provide some consolation to the Buffs following their midseason struggles. But the Buffs have to beat the Thunderbirds first and then win a third-round game, possibly on the road, as well.

The alternative, of course, is plenty of extra study time.