At the start of the year, the Colorado women's basketball set a goal of being uncommon.
With 31 games behind them and the NCAA Tournament in front of them, the 19th-ranked Buffaloes (25-6) are still working on that goal.
"There's still a couple of things that might have to happen and there's just usually a feeling that you get when you reach that," said head coach Linda Lappe, whose team will open the NCAA Tournament on Saturday against Kansas (18-13). "We're not quite there yet, but we're on the right path."
When the players established the goal of being uncommon, there was never a clear definition of what that meant. In fact, there still isn't a clear definition.
"It's developed into different meanings throughout the entire season," senior captain Meagan Malcolm-Peck said. "It hasn't really been based on a specific goal or anything. It's just doing more than anyone, or even ourselves, thought we could at the beginning of the season."
In many ways, the Buffaloes have been uncommon this season.
They beat a top-10 ranked team -- then-No. 8 Louisville on Dec. 14 -- for the first time since 2002. They reached the 25-win mark for the first time since the 1995-96 season. They reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.
Those are all part of the goal.
"Definitely," freshman Arielle Roberson said when asked if the Buffs have been uncommon. "I think everything we do, in our actions and in our everyday lives, everything we do is uncommon. Sure, we're not 100 percent there, but every step we've taken is in an uncommon way."
Lappe and her players said that the great thing about their goal is that it wasn't clearly defined. Everyone asked about the goal gave a different variation of what "uncommon" means.
Lappe: "It means getting everything out of every ounce of ability that you can: out of yourself, out of your teammates, out of anybody that's a part of a team. Every team, that means something a little bit different and it's very open ended. That's why I like uncommon."
Malcolm-Peck: "At the beginning of the season, it was doing well in the Pac-12. Now that we've done that, we want it to develop into something more. All being able to come together as one and play as well as we expect to play is kind of what's uncommon for us now."
Roberson: "Finally reaching our uncommon goal is, I think, beating those top-20 RPI teams; we haven't done that. And, finally playing a full 40 minutes as a team -- overcoming all the adversity and not allowing that to get the better of us."
Junior Brittany Wilson: "Doing everything that the other teams don't. Uncommon to us is not uncommon to the next team. Uncommon to us is just our own thing, whatever it takes for us to be different."
Regardless of the interpretation of the goal, it's clear all the Buffs feel they have achieved at least some portion of it.
"Yeah, we've been uncommon," Wilson said. "We're not fully to our potential, but there have been strings of uncommonness amongst our team this year."
It's also clear that the Buffs don't believe they've done all they can to achieve the goal.
"I think we all kind of look at it and we're like, 'We could do more,' because we all get hungry for it," Malcolm-Peck said.
Wilson said the Buffs are about "75 percent" there and she feels the team needs to be more uncommon during the NCAA Tournament.
"I feel like we have to be," she said. "We haven't got there yet."
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