Though it does not get the same recognition as some of the national powers in women’s college basketball, there is no shortage of great players to have come through Boulder. Narrowing down the list could be considered a challenge.
Who makes the cut as the best players to ever take the court for the Buffaloes? Have they achieved the same glory as the Buffaloes’ best men’s basketball players of all time? Here are six names that stand the test of time, setting the table for future CU players. With a mix of old school and new, these names are the best of the best in black and gold history.
Brittany Spears (2007-2011)
Any joke you’re thinking about right now has probably been heard by Spears one time or two in her life. Especially given the fact that she came to start at Colorado a decade after the singer of the very similar name (who spells her name Britney).
During her time in Boulder, Spears left an indelible mark on the program. As a sophomore, she led the Buffs with 18.3 points per game on 43.4%. But her senior season would be the real barometer of success, averaging 19.2 points per game and a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per game.
Over four years in Colorado, Spears tallied 2,185 total points, good for seventh all-time in the Big 12. She also left the program as the leader in minutes per game, 3-point attempts, scoring average, and field goals made. Truly the best to do it for the Buffaloes.
Lisa Van Goor (1980-1985)
Van Goor had the privilege of playing for two of the legendary coaches in Colbeorado history. Her first three seasons were spent under Sox Walseth before getting two years under Ceal Barry. Van Goor used that time to establish herself as one of the best players in the history of Colorado women’s basketball.
Until the aforementioned Spears arrived on campus, Van Goor was the all-time leading scorer in Colorado women’s basketball with 2,067 points. She is still the leader in career scoring average, total field goals, total rebounds, and rebounding average. Oh, and she’s still the only player in program history, male or female, to garner more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career.
In 2019, Van Goor was honored by being inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor, a proverbial slam dunk. There are few who have performed at a level like Van Goor did. Her place in the history of Colorado basketball will be forever solidified, especially with her induction into the Hall of Honor.
.@CUBuffsWBB great Lisa Van Goor is being inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor! @MJBuffsVoice sat down with her and we also hear from CU's two seniors this season. ⬇#GoBuffs pic.twitter.com/uSJBxKYsHv
— Colorado Buffaloes (@CUBuffs) March 13, 2019
Jackie McFarland (2004-2008)
McFarland became a force for the Buffaloes during her four years in Boulder. She had a modest start as a freshman, averaging 10 points per game on nearly 44% shooting in 27 games. It would be a good indication of what was to come from the prolific scorer.
Making the jump to 17 points per game as a sophomore, it would be the first of three years in which she would accrue postseason honors. That year, she would be named to the All-Big 12 Second Team, the first of three straight years that she would make the All-Big 12 team.
In the following two seasons, however, McFarland would find her stride. She would improve to 17.8 points per game as a junior before going off for 18.7 as a senior. Both years would be good enough to earn All-Big 12 First Team honors, sending her off as one of the most prolific scoring players in the history of the program.
Going through some end-of-season stats for Colorado WBB, Quay Miller had the 6th-best single-season rebound total (301) in #cubuffs history and only the second 300-rebound season in CU's last 41 seasons (Jackie McFarland had 325 in 2006-07).
— Brian Howell (@BrianHowell33) March 28, 2023
Tera Bjorklund (2000-2004)
There have been few star centers in the history of the program, but Tera Bjorklund certainly fits the bill. Even as a freshman where she backed up Britt Hartshorn, Bjorklund showed her scoring prowess, leading the Buffs with four 20-plus point efforts.
Even as a backup in 2001-02, Bjorklund was second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.5 points per game while finishing second on the team in rebounds as well. Her junior season would become her real coming out party. She earned Offensive MVP for CU for the second year in a row, leading CU to a Sweet 16 appearance.
A dominant scorer down the middle, Bjorklund finished her career fourth all-time on the CU scoring list with 1,858 points. In her final two seasons for the Buffaloes, Bjorklund would earn All-Big 12 First Team honors, cementing her status as a major player in college hoops.
— Alumni C Club (@AlumniCClub) March 5, 2023
Shelley Sheetz (1991-1995)
Modern fans may know Sheetz as a special assistant to the head coach for the Buffaloes but there was once a time when she was a legend on the court. She is currently fifth on the all-time scoring list at CU with 1,775 career points.
From 1993-1995, Sheetz was a key player for a Colorado program that went to three straight Sweet 16’s, including appearances in the Elite Eight in 1993 and 1995. When she retired, she was second on the all-time scoring list and is still second in steals (287) and third in assists (514).
Sheetz became a member of the Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004, being the only CU player to rank in the top five in all three of those categories. She is now building that legacy by being a coach who can bring a little bit of everything to the table.
— Shelley Sheetz (@ShelleySheetz) June 17, 2023
Mya Hollingshed (2017-2022)
Some would argue that Hollingshed is on the short list of the most talented players to pass through Boulder. Given her status as the eighth overall pick to the Las Vegas Aces in the 2022 WNBA Draft, it would be hard to argue that, making her just the sixth Buff ever picked.
Hollingshed would have two decent seasons to start her career before really becoming a force as a junior. She averaged 13.1 PPG and nearly 7 RPG on her way to All-Pac 12 honorable mention. As a senior, she received All-America honorable mention, All-Pac 12 First Team honors, and joined the 1,000-point club. She has since moved on to become a focal point for Puerto Rico in international play.
— espnW (@espnW) April 12, 2022
There you go, if you want to read more about Colorado college basketball here are 5 players to watch next season.
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