CU women's basketball preview: Washington
MATCHUP: Colorado Buffaloes (7-21, 2-15 Pac-12) at Washington Huskies (19-9, 10-7).
GAME TIME: Saturday, 2 p.m. MST, at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle.
BROADCAST: Radio — KKZN (760 AM). TV — Pac-12 Network.
COACHES: Colorado — Linda Lappe, sixth year (105-90; 155-126 career); Washington — Mike Neighbors, third year (62-32).
LEADERS: Colorado — Scoring: F Jamee Swan, Sr., 14.1 ppg; Rebounding: Swan, 7.0 rpg; Assists: G Kennedy Leonard, Fr., 4.7 apg. Washington — Scoring: G Kelsey Plum, Jr., 26.8 ppg; Rebounding: C/F Chantel Osahor, Jr., 10.5 rpg; Assists - Plum, 3.8 apg.
NOTABLE: CU is just one loss away from tying the single-season program record (6-22 in 1984-85). ... The Buffs are 8-8 all-time against the Huskies, but have lost the last five, including a 76-74 defeat in Boulder on Jan. 2 in the conference opener. ... If Washington wins, these teams are likely to meet again on Thursday in Seattle in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. ... Leonard has 43 points and 20 assists in her last two games combined.
The talent possessed by Alexis Robinson is evident every time she steps on the court.
Along with the rest of her Colorado women's basketball teammates, though, it's been a roller-coaster ride for Robinson this season.
"Definitely there are ups and downs and there's probably been a lot more downs than there has been ups this season, but overall I think it's been a huge learning experience," Robinson said. "I really have learned so much and this team has learned so much."
On Saturday, the Buffs (7-21, 2-15 Pac-12) will wrap up the regular season with a trip to Washington (19-9, 10-7).
A regular starter since early January, Robinson, a 5-foot-10 guard from Ashland, Ky., has averaged 8.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
She's had some sensational games, including a 17-point, four-assist effort at Oregon on Feb. 14 and a 13-point, six-rebound, five-assist performance off the bench in CU's first meeting with the Huskies, on Jan. 2 in Boulder. That was the last time Robinson came off the bench.
Robinson has had several double-digit scoring games, but has also struggled with her shot (hitting just 31.7 percent in Pac-12 play, including 29.3 percent from 3-point range) and has the occasional high-turnover game.
Still, head coach Linda Lappe has been pleased with the season Robinson has had to this point.
"If you look at the season as whole, her progression has been steadily upwards," Lappe said.
To be more consistent, however, Lappe would like to see Robinson control the energy she brings to the floor.
"I think her No. 1 issue when she has issues is she gets going too fast and she doesn't have enough patience," Lappe said. "To me, I like that problem because it means they're working really hard. She plays at a really high intensity. Sometimes it really helps her, sometimes it hurts her."
Where it helps her most is on defense. Robinson's shot has been up and down throughout the season, but her defense has become fairly consistent.
"I think she is our best guard defender," Lappe said. "She can get up and lock in different players."
When Robinson gains the same consistency on offense, she could be a special player.
For now, she's learning to deal with the growing pains that come from being a freshman on a young, struggling team.
"It's been extremely tough and extremely draining," she said. "I'm kind of a huge competitor and I hate losing a lot, so it'll get the best of me and it kind of paralyzes me whenever we're in those tough situations."
Having fellow freshmen Kennedy Leonard and Makenzie Ellis going through the same growing pains helps Robinson, though, and she believes the future is bright for the young Buffs.
"I'm starting to see the big picture of it and be as positive as I can about it," she said. "I'm excited with as much as I've learned and all the stuff we've done. I think it'll be a good learning experience."
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.