CU women's hoops preview

Today: The Colorado Buffaloes (12-7, 2-6) at Utah Utes (9-10, 2-6) in a 7 p.m. game at the Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City.

Broadcast: TV - The Pac-12 Network will televise the game with Anne Marie Anderson on play-by-play and Mary Murphy providing color commentary. Radio -- KKZN (760 AM), with Mike Rice on play-by-play and Carol Callan providing color commentary.

Storylines: The Buffs are coming off a 68-66 loss to Arizona State in which they failed to make a 3-pointer for the first time since 2005. ...Colorado is 4-4 on the road this season. ...CU forward Jen Reese has matched her career high in points scored with 22 in each of the past two games. .... Starting guard Jasmine Sborov has missed the past five games with a broken foot and fellow starting guard Lexy Kresl has missed the past two games with a stress fracture. Neither is expected back for several more weeks. ...Utah is coming off a home win over Arizona and has won two of its past three. ...



Forward Michelle Plouffe has led the Utes in scoring 12 times this season.

Key Stat: CU is making just 23.9 percent of its 3-point attempts in Pac-12 Conference games. Utah ranks 10th in the conference in 3-point defense, allowing opponents to make 32.2 percent from behind the arc

Coaches: Linda Lappe is 76-44 in her fourth season at CU and 126-80 as a head coach. Anthony Levrets is 66-57 in his fourth season at Utah.

Probable Starters: Colorado - G Haley Smith, 6-0, Fr. (1.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.7 apg); G Brittany Wilson, 5-7, Sr., (10.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.3 apg); F, Jamee Swan, 6-2, So. (5.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg,); F Arielle Roberson, 6-2, So. (12.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg); F Jen Reese, 6-2, Jr. (13.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg). Utah - G Danielle Rodriguez, 5-10, So. (9.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg,, 4.6 apg); G Cheyenne Wilson, 5-11, Jr. (6.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg,); G Ciera Dunbar, 5-10, Jr. (6.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg,, 2.4 apg); F Michelle Plouffe, 6-4, Sr. (18.2 ppg, 10.6 rpg); F Emily Potter, 6-5, Fr. (11.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg).

Series: This is the 23rd meeting. Both teams have won 11 times. The Buffs have won the past three meetings and four of the past five since the schools joined the Pac-12.

Up Next: CU will host Utah on Sunday at noon

In discussing her team's 3-point shooting woes Tuesday afternoon before departing on a road trip to Utah, Colorado women's basketball coach Linda Lappe said she believes she has good 3-point shooters on her team.

The season statistics disagree with her right now.

Colorado is coming off its first game in nine years in which it failed to make a 3-point attempt Sunday in a loss to Arizona State. That outing was only part of a trend of poor 3-point shooting since Pac-12 Conference play began.

CU will face Utah twice this week, beginning Wednesday in Salt Lake City (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network). It goes into the game making just 23. 9 percent of its 3-pointers in the first eight Pac-12 games. Lappe's offense is based around success at the 3-point line, but making shots from behind the arc only helps players such as Jamee Swan and Jen Reese operate in and around the lane.

There are only two players on the CU roster who have attempted at least 10 3-pointers this season and have made at least 35 percent of them and one of those players is Jasmine Sborov, who is out indefinitely with a foot injury.

Freshman guard Lauren Huggins leads the Buffs in 3-point shooting, making 36.7 percent of her attempts from behind the arc, but she's struggling to find some consistency in terms how big a part of the offense she is from game to game.

Last weekend, Huggins made five 3-pointers and scored 15 points off the bench in a win over Arizona, but she completely disappeared offensively against Arizona State.

It should be noted that CU has faced five of the top-seven teams in the Pac-12 when it comes to defending the 3-point line. California, Stanford, Arizona State, USC and Washington State all are holding opponents to less than 31 percent shooting from behind the arc this season. That has obviously contributed to CU's long-range woes, but the Buffs still must develop some better accuracy.

"We've had opportunities in other games and have had some open shots that we have to definitely start knocking down," Lappe said. "Part of that is just knowing when those shots are coming, part of it is getting our feet set and then it's about knocking them down. Sometimes it just takes one person to start knocking down threes and everybody else follows."

Senior guard Brittany Wilson has taken over a lot of responsibility in the wake of injuries to Sborov and Lexy Kresl. She committed two turnovers in the final 21 seconds against ASU, preventing the Buffs from getting a decent look at a possible game-tying or game-winning shot.

Wilson said she was able to move past those miscues and gut-wrenching way the game ended in 'about 10 minutes.' Lappe has to hope the rest of her team has put it behind them as well.

Wilson said she believes the Buffs are taking good shots within the flow of the offense, but they haven't been making enough of them to this point in conference play.

"I just think we've got to step up and take them with confidence," she said. "Whether that's me or Lauren or whoever is stepping in. I think we've just got to get into our shots and use a little bit of legs. I think we're fine. We're getting open shots. We're getting open looks. We've just got to step up and hit it and be confident."

In Utah, the Buffs will be facing the 10th-best team in the conference when it comes to defending the 3-point line. But even the Utes are only allowing opponents to make 32.2 percent.

The Utes are tough team in the post with two starters in Michelle Plouffe and Emily Potter who are 6-foot-4 and 6-5 respectively and combine to average 30 points and 17 rebounds a game.

They will be a handful for Jamee Swan, Arielle Roberson and Rachel Hargis. It would be helpful if the Buffs could limit their touches on the offensive end and make some 3-point shots over the top of them on the other end.

"You have to be solid," Lappe said of facing the Utes. "They are steady. The run their motion offense. They don't make mistakes defensively. It always comes down to a defensive battle. They're going to make you play defense sometimes for 25, 30 seconds and you have to be able to get the defensive rebound or you're going to be playing defense for another 30 seconds."

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Kyle Ringo at or ringok@dailycamera.com