Bianca Smith is a senior. Her year was originally incorrect in the photo caption. 1/30/10; 15:18
Teams can gain experience, but it can’t be taught or learned.
The Colorado Buffaloes, who are 12-7 overall, 2-4 in the Big 12 Conference, look to rebound from a two-game losing streak when they meet undefeated Nebraska (18-0, 5-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Coors Events Center.
Head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller says the team still needs to improve upon its consistency, but the players are starting to correct other areas of their game themselves, saying they are beginning to identify their mistakes and address them when they enter a huddle.
However, it will take much more than identifying errors for the Buffs to get the win.
Beyond an impressive record, the No. 6 Huskers are stacked with Big 12 experience. Seniors Kelsey Griffin, Cory Montgomery and Yvonne Turner headline the roster, and junior Dominique Kelley and freshman Lindsey Moore go beyond their supporting roles.
“There’s two things: the experience and the fact that they have been playing and basically starting their entire careers in the Big 12 since their freshman year,” McConnell-Miller said. “Their chemistry is good and they are very experienced.”
McConnell-Miller believes the combination of the seniors’ experience and Moore’s legitimacy as a point guard make things come together for the Huskers.
“They’ve got a really good point guard that can allow Turner and Dominique to play their natural positions, which is scorers and shooters and playmakers,” McConnell-Miller said.
But the Buffs have their own team chemistry, which they hope will give them the upset.
“I think chemistry on the floor is big,” McConnell-Miller said. “It’s understanding where your teammates need to be, leading them, putting them in a position to score, taking care of them within the flow of the offense and defense, and really understanding what our needs are.”
Along with teamwork comes leadership, and senior guard Bianca Smith, the lone senior on the team, is prepared to put her mental toughness against Nebraska’s seniors.
“I’m going to have to be there for the younger ones who haven’t played against the type of caliber team that Nebraska is,” Smith said. “We just have to stay positive, stay confident.”
While Smith is prepared to direct her team, other players must fit into this equation as well.
“I think it’s important that your seniors are good leaders,” McConnell-Miller said, “but you have to have the players that are on the floor that have the ball in their hands be strong leaders as well.”
One Buff who’s used to having the ball in her hands shows her leadership with a less direct approach.
“I think Brittany Spears leads by example,” McConnell-Miller said. “She just plays and takes care of business and rebounds and shoots it and scores. She’s a very silent leader. She’s just a no-nonsense type player. She’d rather show you how than tell you how.”
Spears, who leads the team averaging 18.1 points per game, credits her impressive stats and quiet leadership to playing hard and staying positive on the court. Spears knows how difficult the league is and just how important teamwork is to get the win.
“This is Big 12, you’ve got to play together,” Spears said. “One person can’t win by themselves. We’ve got to just play together and just keep fighting. Something good will happen if we keep working hard.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Marlee Horn at Marlee.firstname.lastname@example.org