Monday, January 21, 2019

On Friday and Sunday We Visit the Mountain Schools.

On Friday 1/25 we play Colorado at 6 PM (Pacific Time)

After a 10 and 1 preseason with big wins over North Carolina and Navy, the Buffs are struggling mightily in PAC12 conference play at 0 and 6. Kennedy Leonard, their senior point guard, is one of the best players in our conference - and after playing in all 108 games since arriving in 2015, she's missed their last four games with a sprained foot. She's top five all-time at Colorado in points, assists and steals - and with a dozen more assists she'll take over as the all-time leader in that category.

Colorado has four players averaging double figures in scoring - Leonard (14), Qunessa Caylao-Do (11), Mya Hollingshed (11), and Alexis Robinson (10), Their key rebounders are both freshmen - Hollingshed (6'-4") averages 7 and Peanut Tuitele (6'-1") snares 6 per game.

Needless to say, the Buffalos sorely miss their team leader, but even so they almost knocked off Washington two weeks ago with their freshman backup point guard, Lesila Finau. J.R. Payne, their third year head coach, is working hard to raise the level of play to become more competitive in PAC12 play and they're making rapid strides.  Hopefully, Friday night we'll get to see Kennedy Leonard play, but regardless we can expect an all-out effort from the Buffs.

Then on Sunday (1/27) at 11 AM we face Utah, one of the hottest teams in the West with a new AP
ranking of 21st in the nation. Overall they're 15 and 1 with their sole loss coming courtesy of a Reili Richardson buzzer-beater that gave Arizona State a two point win over the Utes.  Some of their biggest wins have come against Alabama, Brigham Young, and Florida.

So, how do they win? They average 76.5 points per game with a 19 point average margin of victory. They have a 48% shooting percentage and 38% from three on seven made threes per game. Their free throw percentage is 74%. They average 38 rebounds, 18 assists, 9 steals, and 5 blocks per game. In other words, they're damn good. Lynne Roberts is obviously a terrific coach. In her first press conference this year she put the rest of the conference on notice, "It's time for us to make the pivot to greatness."

Like Stanford they recently lost one of their senior mainstays, Daneesha Provo, to an ACL tear. But they have three freshmen who have earned PAC12 Freshman of the Week honors so far this season - Dre'Una Edwards (four times), Dru Gylten, and Andrea Torres. Megan Huff, a 6'-3" senior, is their leader at 19.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Dre'Una, a 6'-2" freshman, isn't far behind at 12 points and 7 boards. 

This will be one of the great battles of the season for the Cardinal, but unfortunately it isn't being shown on the PAC12 Network, so we'll have to watch it live-streaming on our computer. This is the signature win the Utes are looking for, and they don't call their building the Huntsman Center for nothing. Do you think the Utes are gunning for the Cardinal? I think so, too. Sure would help if Maya could play in this one.

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