CU women's hoops preview
TODAY: The Texas Christian Horned Frogs (18-14) at Colorado Buffaloes (17-14) in an a 7 p.m. game at the Coors Events Center
BROADCAST: TV - none. Free video available at http://pac-12.com/videos/university-colorado Radio -- KKZN (760 AM), with Mike Rice on play-by-play and Carol Callan providing color commentary.
STORYLINES: Colorado is making its fourth consecutive postseason appearance. Three of the four have been in the WNIT. ...CU is 10-4 in the WNIT and advanced to the quarterfinal round in each of its past two appearances in 2011 and 2012. ...The Buffs have lost to the eventual champion the past three times they have participated in the WNIT. ...Stanford eliminated the Buffs from the quarterfinal round of the Pac-12 tournament nearly two weeks ago. ...TCU finished seventh in the Big 12. ...Sophomore guard Zahna Medley is a 2014 All-Big 12 first team selection.
KEY STAT: TCU led the Big 12 Conference in scoring defense allowing just 58.1 points per game
COACHES: Linda Lappe is 81-51 in her fourth season at CU and 131-87 as a head coach. Brian Ostermann is coaching his first game as interim coach for the Horned Frogs.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado - G Haley Smith, 6-0, Fr. (3.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.1 apg); G Ashely Wilson, 5-8, Sr., (7.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.9 apg); G Brittany Wilson, 5-7, Sr. (11.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg. 3.0 apg); F Arielle Roberson, 6-2, So. (12.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg); F Rachel Hargis, 6-4, Sr. (3.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg). TCU - G Zahna Medley, 5-6, So. (16.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.7 apg); G Natalie Ventress, 5-10, Jr. (11.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 apg); G Donielle Breaux, 5-10, Jr. (6.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg); F Chelsea Prince, 5-11, Jr. (7.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg); C Latricia Lovings, 6-4, Jr. (6.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg).
SERIES: CU leads 3-0. The most recent meeting also came in the WNIT in 2008 when CU won 96-90 in overtime.
UP NEXT: The winner will play either Southern Utah or Colorado State at a site to be determined on a day to be determined March 22-25. CU defeated CSU on the road and Southern Utah at home earlier this season.
Colorado guard Brittany Wilson admits it has been a long senior season, a grind unlike any other she has face in her college career, but she still harbors hopes to accomplish two things in the WNIT starting Wednesday when the Buffs play host to Texas Christian.
Wilson wants to win the whole tournament obviously and she also wants to continue to help her younger teammates improve for the future of the program she and her sister, Ashley, love so much.
"It's great," Wilson said of another opportunity to play in the Coors Events Center. "It means we're not done. We can still win something. You don't walk into postseason. We didn't have the best of years, but postseason is postseason."
The Buffs' season essentially started last summer when they were able to conduct 10 practices on campus before leaving on a foreign tour to Italy. They didn't get much time off before preseason practices started in early October and they have been going strong since.
CU (17-14) was eliminated from the Pac-12 Conference tournament by Stanford nearly two weeks ago capping a disappointing season in conference play. CU went 6-12 in conference during the regular season after starting the season 9-0 and being ranked as high as No. 11 in the nation at one point in December.
When the Wilsons came to CU from Long Beach, Calif., four years ago, CU still played in the Big 12 Conference. Wilson said her previous experience in the league tells her the Horned Frogs will be physical and tough.
TCU (18-14) comes to town in a odd situation, however. Long time coach Jeff Mittie resigned Monday to accept the head coaching job at Kansas State. His associate head coach Brian Ostermann will coach the Horned Frogs on an interim basis in the postseason.
"I would expect to come out maybe a little bit harder because they will look at us and think we think, 'Oh, they don't have a coach so they're going to come out soft.'" Wilson said. "I would expect them to come out a little bit harder. They know their system. They know the calls. A coach doesn't matter. Well, I mean, it matters, but the players have to play."
TCU has been the most stingy defensive team in the Big 12 Conference this season. Lappe said the Horned Frogs play primarily a four-guard lineup and zone defense throughout the game with the Big 12's leading shot blocker in Latricia Lovings in the middle to cover up mistakes.
"It's kind of refreshing to be able to play somebody with a different style from a different part of the country," Lappe said. "That's what I think is so cool about postseason play."
Veteran members of the CU team had most of last week off while younger players practiced. Lappe said freshmen and sophomores gaining extra practice time and game experience at this time of year is invaluable for the future.
"This is why you practice so hard in the summer and you prepare yourself is to be a part of March Madness," Lappe said. "It's not in the exact realm that we would have picked in the beginning of the year, but any time you can keep playing and play a lot of games and get your young kids experience is good."