• Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Two years ago, Lappe took the Buffs to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine years, going 25-7.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado head coach, Linda Lappe, talks to her team during a game in Boulder last year.

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2015 schedule

Saturday, Nov. 8 – Vs. Colorado State-Pueblo (Exhibition), 6 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 15 – Vs. North Dakota – Preseason Women’s NIT First Round, 6 p.m..

Sunday, Nov. 16 – Preseason Women’s NIT Second Round, TBA

Sunday, Nov. 23 – Preseason Women’s NIT Championship, TBA

Tuesday, Nov. 25 – At Denver, 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 28 – Vvs. Missouri State (Omni Classic First Round, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 29 – Omni Classic Consolation Game, 5 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 29 – Omni Classic Championship Game, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 5 – Vs. San Jose State, 11 a.m.

Sunday, Dec. 7 – At Iowa, 1 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 12, At Missouri, TBA

Sunday, Dec. 21 – Vs. Wyoming, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 30 – Vs. Long Beach State, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 3 – At Stanford, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Monday, Jan. 5 – At California, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Friday, Jan. 9 – Vs. USC, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Sunday, Jan. 11 – Vs. UCLA, 2 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Wednesday, Jan. 14 – Vs. Utah, 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Sunday, Jan. 18 – At Utah, Noon, Pac-12 Network

Friday, Jan. 23 – At Washington, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Sunday, Jan. 25 – At Washington State , 2 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Friday, Jan. 30 – Vs. Arizona State, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 1 – Vs. Arizona, 11 a.m., Pac-12 Network

Friday, Feb. 6 – At UCLA, 8 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 8 -At USC, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Friday, Feb. 13 – Vs. Washington State, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 15 – Vs. Washington 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 20 – Vs. Oregon State , 6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Sunday, Feb. 22 – Vs. Oregon, 2 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 27 – At Arizona, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Sunday, March 1 – At Arizona State , 2 p.m.

Thursday, March 5 – Pac-12 Tournament First Round, All Day, Pac-12 Network

Friday, March 6 – Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals , All Day, Pac-12 Network

Saturday, March 7 – Pac-12 Tournament Semifinals, All Day, Pac-12 Network

Sunday, March 8 – Pac-12 Tournament Championship, 7 p.m., ESPN

Friday, March 20 – NCAA Tournament begins

Tuesday, April 7 -NCAA Championship Game

Kentucky, Missouri highlight nonconference schedule

A trip to Kentucky and a visit from an old friend from the Big 12 will highlight the nonconference schedule for the Colorado women’s basketball team.

On Monday, the Buffaloes announced their nonconference slate for the 2015-16 season, which includes 11 games, seven of those at home.

The season will open Nov. 14 with a home date with Loyola Marymount. The Buffs are 28-0 all-time when their season opener is at home.

The marquee game on the slate is a visit to Kentucky, which has been one of the top teams in the country in recent years. The Buffs will travel to Lexington on Nov. 22 for their first-ever meeting with the Wildcats. It will be CU’s only nonconference game against a 2015 NCAA Tournament team.

Missouri will come to Boulder on Dec. 12, its first trip to the Coors Events Center since 2011. CU and Missouri were rivals in the Big Eight, and then the Big 12, from 1983 to 2011. The Buffs lost to the Tigers on the road last year, but still hold a 42-28 all-time lead in that series.

In addition to Loyola Marymount and Missouri, the Buffs will host Northern Colorado (Nov. 19), Northern Arizona (Dec. 9), Presbyterian (Dec. 19) and the Omni Hotels Classic from Nov. 27-28.

During the Omni Hotels Classic, CU will face Massachusetts on Nov. 27 and then either Ball State or Florida on Nov. 28.

In addition to Kentucky, CU’s nonconference road games are at Colorado State (Dec. 2), Long Beach State (Dec. 6) and Wyoming (Dec. 21).

The Buffs will also have an exhibition game against USC-Aiken on Nov. 7 in Boulder.

Colorado’s women’s basketball team finished on a rough note last season (15-17), but head coach Linda Lappe is going to depend on her younger players to reverse the program’s downward trend.

Two years ago, Lappe took the Buffs to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine years, going 25-7.

Last year, they dropped to 19-15 and settled for a trip to the Women’s NIT.

It was another step or two in the wrong direction last season, with a losing record and no postseason berth — a first in Lappe’s five years.

So, as the Buffs look to get back on track, here’s a quick glance at the players expected to be in uniform this season:

Jamee Swan — A 6-foot-2 forward, Swan will be a senior next season and she is arguably the Buffs’ top returning player. She led the Buffs in scoring (13.4 points per game), rebounding (7.9) and blocks (61) this season. Swan was a major force at times during Pac-12 Tournament. She’s got the potential to be an all-Pac-12 caliber player.

Arielle Roberson — The athletic, 6-foot-1 forward missed the entire season with a torn ACL in her knee, but is expected to return for her final season as a Buff. Roberson has played two seasons at CU, earning all-Pac-12 honorable mention both years. She led the Buffs in scoring (12.0 per game) and rebounding (8.3) a year ago. She could team with Swan to form a dangerous front-court duo.

Haley Smith — Rivaling Roberson as the most athletic and versatile player on the team, Smith, a 6-1 wing, will be a junior. She blossomed this season as a sophomore, starting all 32 games and finishing fourth on the team in scoring (9.4) and third in rebounding (5.5).

Lauren Huggins — For the first time in her three years as a Buff, she played every game. Huggins will be a junior next year, and the 6-2 wing proved herself as a knock-down shooter with the ability to spark the offense with 3-pointers. She figures to be in a similar role next season.

Brecca Thomas — She had her good moments as a freshman, playing a backup role to Kresl at point guard. Thomas is small, at 5-5, but has to play big next year. If she’s going to take over the starting role at the point, she has to improve her assist-to-turnover ratio (40 assists, 63 turnovers) and her shooting (30.7 percent).

Kennedy Leonard — If Thomas isn’t ready to step up into the point guard role, Leonard will be waiting. An incoming freshman from Texas, Leonard is a 5-8 guard who averaged about seven assists per game in high school. Lappe and her staff are excited about Leonard’s potential to be an elite point guard.

Zoe Beard-Fails, Zoe Correal and Bri Watts — This trio got better as the season went along. All standing 6-1 or taller (Correal is 6-4), they give the Buffs some size and depth in the paint. Their continued development will be crucial on those nights when Swan and/or Roberson get into foul trouble. Beard-Fails and Watts will be juniors and Correal a sophomore, so they should be key pieces to the frontcourt for a while.

Alina Hartmann — A smart and talented guard from Germany, Hartmann has the skills to be a major asset for the Buffs next season. She played a limited role this year, but was one of the few players on the team with more assists than turnovers, and she also displayed a sharp shot when given the opportunity. It’s not out of the question that she takes a major leap forward and challenges for a starting role next year as a sophomore.

Monica Burich, Makenzie Ellis and Alexis Robinson — Along with Leonard, they make up CU’s talented incoming class. Burich and Ellis, both 6-2 forwards, could challenge for playing time in a crowded frontcourt. Robinson is an exceptional talent as a 5-10 guard and figures to give the Buffs more depth in the backcourt.

While much of last season was a disappointment for the Buffs, they finished strong, going 4-2 in the last six games. The tone to that run was set by the Buffs’ three seniors.

Those seniors will be gone, but the tools appear to be in place to continue the momentum and get the Buffs moving in the right direction next season.

Brian Howell: twitter.com/BrianHowell33.

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