Lexy Kresl (senior): Kresl is perhaps the player with the most experience on the team this season. She started at least 12 games in each of her first three seasons with Colorado. In that time, Kresl has made her mark in the record books and currently sits at 10th all-time in 3-pointers made for Colorado with 124. As the starting point guard, Kresl will be a primary ball handler and also someone who can stretch the floor with her 3-point shooting.
Colorado expects to run both Kresl and freshman Brecca Thomas at point guard. Kresl will play a big role in providing stability and consistency at the position as Thomas makes the high school-to-college transition. Already in last Saturday’s exhibition against Colorado State-Pueblo, Colorado ran some lineups that featured both Kresl and Thomas. Especially early on, we can expect to see a lot of this as Thomas begins to inherit some of the ball handling duties from Kresl. Due to her 3-point shooting and scoring prowess, Kresl will most likely see some time at shooting guard as well as point this season.
“At the beginning of the season, she’ll play a lot of point guard,” Colorado head coach Linda Lappe said at last Wednesday’s Media Day. “My plan for her is that our team is going to be the best when she can play a lot of two guard as well and come off screens and hit a lot of shots.”
Jasmine Sborov (senior): Sborov, the team’s captain, joins Kresl in the starting backcourt as the Buffaloes’ top option at shooting guard. Sidelined for most of the 2013-14 season with a broken bone in her right foot, Sborov had started in all 14 of the team’s games until the injury on Jan. 10 against Cal. In that abbreviated season, Sborov managed to score 109 points, more than she scored in freshman and sophomore seasons that saw her fail to break 100 points. Sborov will aim to continue that offensive development this season, hoping to improve upon her 7.8 points-per-game average last season.
Fully healed from last season’s injury, Sborov will try to stay healthy and in the lineup this season. As a part of that, she says she is “trying to be smart” in the situations she puts herself in the hopes of avoiding another injury that could derail her last season in a Colorado uniform.
Haley Smith (sophomore): Smith, who is listed on Colorado’s roster as a wing, actually started in Colorado’s exhibition against Colorado State-Pueblo last Saturday. In the weeks to come, she may find herself regularly filling the gap in the starting lineup left by sophomore forward Arielle Roberson.
Smith took on a larger role than expected last season after the injury to Sborov, with her first start coming one game after Sborov went down for the season. Similarly, Smith will be thrust into the rotation this time in Roberson’s absence, and will look to build on last year’s economical scoring stats when she averaged 3.5 points-per-game on 40.2% shooting. Smith finished last season strong, scoring eight or more points in four of the team’s last seven games.
Of Smith, Lappe had the following to say at last Wednesday’s media day: “She has one year of experience. She started the second half of last season. She was playing her best basketball in March. But, she’s really going to have to step up and maybe play multiple positions. Last year she was primarily a wing. This year she may have to play some forward for us.”
Brecca Thomas (freshman): Thomas comes into her first year for Colorado with lofty expectations. Lappe praised Thomas’ work ethic and demeanor at Media Day last week, and said that Thomas “knows what she wants and she wants to help this team be special this season.”
Thomas may be able to provide that help best by taking some ball-handling duty from Lexy Kresl and allowing the senior to spot-up and shoot 3’s. Thomas sports solid form on her own jump shot and put on an impressive performance in Colorado’s exhibition last Saturday, shooting 5 of 7 for 10 points. She also managed four rebounds, an encouraging number for any freshman’s first game, but especially for Thomas, who is Colorado’s shortest player at 5-feet-5-inches. Thomas will get some playing time this season and could very well be a regular rotation player, or even a starter, for Colorado by season’s end.
Lauren Huggins (sophomore): Huggins is a wing who specializes in the 3-point shot. Two times last season, Huggins scored at least 15 points. The first time was against Alcorn State when she hit five 3-pointers and one free throw for 16, the other was against Arizona when she hit five 3-pointers for 15. Huggins lets it fly, and she does so with remarkable accuracy. Her 36.4% 3-point percentage was good for 11th in the Pac-12.
In every game Huggins appeared in for more than five minutes last season, she attempted a 3-pointer. She is the sniper for this Colorado team. If you see Huggins on the court, be prepared to see her let one fly from beyond the arc, and be prepared for it go in.
Desiree Harris (sophomore): For the second season in a row, it is possible that Harris, a guard, won’t see much of the court. She averaged less than five minutes a game last season and converted only one of her 12 shot attempts.
But, I distinctly remember seeing Harris at the Coors Events Center on the court after a game last season, running drills long after everyone but the press and staff had left. Harris might not get starter’s minutes, but a continued work ethic like the one I saw that night could contribute to some big minutes down the road for the sophomore guard.
Alina Hartmann (freshman): Hartmann, a native of Bamberg, Germany, brings depth to the wing position for Colorado this season. Having played for the German U20 junior national team this past summer at the 2014 U20 European Championship, Hartmann comes into her college career with experience playing against some of the best young players in Europe. Much like Smith, Hartmann could be expected to fill some of the minutes left by the loss of Arielle Roberson. Hartmann started her career off on a positive note in Colorado’s exhibition against Colorado State-Pueblo last Saturday, scoring nine points in 15 minutes.
Check CUIndependent.com throughout the week as we continue our basketball blowout with previews of the men’s team from Tommy Wood and Alissa Noe (including Tommy’s extensive preview of their guards from yesterday here) and more women’s previews from yours truly. This week, we’ll be previewing the women’s team’s forwards and centers, coaching staff and providing a season preview ahead of the first game of their season Saturday night against North Dakota at 6 p.m. in the Coors Events Center.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sam Routhier at Samuel.Routhier@colorado.edu and follow him on twitter @samrouthier.