Everything the Colorado women's basketball team has done to this point has been in preparation for now.

On Friday, the 19th-ranked Buffaloes (24-5) will play their first game of the Pac-12 Tournament at KeyArena in Seattle. Two weeks from now, they hope to be preparing for their first NCAA Tournament game in nine years.

What CU has done so far has put them in position to make some noise over the next few weeks.

"We feel like we've taken care of business in the regular season," CU head coach Linda Lappe said. "At the same time, we're excited for the postseason. This is where you have the most fun and this is where you need to be playing your best basketball."

CU has been playing pretty good basketball in recent weeks. Its nine-game winning streak to close the regular season vaulted them into fourth place in the Pac-12. That earned them a first-round bye for the conference tournament.The Buffs, however, know that Thursday's day off only means they've got to work harder on Friday and beyond.

"We're not at all satisfied with where we're at," Lappe said. "We're glad we have a four seed in the tournament and we get a first-round bye, but we also understand that we have to keep getting better and keep doing the things we have to be doing."

At 24-5, the Buffs know their season won't end this week. At the very worst, they'll get into the Women's NIT. More than likely, they've already done enough to get into the NCAA Tournament.


Regardless, CU takes a win-or-go-home attitude into this week.

"You do go into it knowing that it's one-and-done, so you have to put your best foot forward," freshman Arielle Roberson said. "There can't be a start like we had against Oregon and Oregon State. We know we have to come out and we've got to execute like we had done previously."

Although they did defeat the Oregon schools last weekend, the Buffs weren't sharp in either game. For much of the year, though, the Buffaloes have played exceptional basketball. They'd like to get back to that this week.

"Teams come to play in the Pac-12 Tournament," senior Chucky Jeffery said. "We just know that we have to be mentally focused. It's going to be hard to win three games in three days, but I think we have it in us."

The belief that they can win is quite a change from last year. CU went into the 2012 conference tournament as the No. 10 seed, and the Buffs had not won a conference tournament game since 2007. Then, they went out and upset No. 7 Utah before taking No. 2 California to the wire in a loss.

"Last year our goal was to come in and just win a game," Jeffery said. "Now the goal this year is for us to get to the Pac-12 championship and give us a shot to win it. Our mindset is completely different. Were ready to go and I think it's going to be fun."

Award winners

Several Buffs were honored Tuesday when the Pac-12 announced its postseason awards, voted on by conference coaches.

Roberson was named the Freshman of the Year, while also earning honorable mention for All-Pac-12 and for the All-Defense team.

"I think it's really exciting," Roberson said of her Freshman of the Year award. "It was one of my goals coming into the season, so to get that it's a great blessing."

Jeffery earned All-Pac-12 honors for the second year in a row and received honorable mention for the All-Defense team.

"I just want to thank my teammates, first and foremost, because they helped me get these awards and they also helped us as a group to get to where we are now," Jeffery said.

Junior Brittany Wilson was named to the All-Defense team.

"It means a lot," Wilson said. "I've been working hard all year on trying to stop whoever is the best guard (on the opposing team). I think I set a big tone for the games."

In addition, Jen Reese earned honorable mention for the All-Pac-12 team and Rachel Hargis earned honorable mention for the All-Defense team.

Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike was named the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, while Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer was named Coach of the Year.

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