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Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Final tourney doesn't last long


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Once they got to their final Big 12 women's tournament, Colorado and Nebraska didn't have long goodbyes.

Both were gone by the end of the afternoon session on the first day. Colorado fell to Kansas 71-45 on Tuesday, while Nebraska gave Iowa State a scare before falling 69-61. The two schools, longtime members of the Big Eight before it expanded to the Big 12 in 1996, will be headed elsewhere after this school year.

Colorado heads to what will be the Pac-12, while Nebraska goes to what will be a 12-team Big Ten.

The Buffs won the Big 12 tournament once, in 1997, but they never took a regular-season Big 12 title. Colorado won four Big Eight regular-season titles and four Big Eight tournament championships.

Nebraska won the Big 12 regular-season crown in 2009-10 and won that once in the Big Eight days. The Huskers never did win the tournament title in either league.

Nebraska (13-18) was wrecked by graduation and injuries, and finished last in the league this season. With several players returning, coach Connie Yori hopes to have a good introduction to the Big Ten in 2011-12. But she hasn't paid much attention to the league this season.

"Honestly, I could not tell you what's gone on in the Big Ten," Yori said. "We're going to take the offseason to try to catch up; we've taped a lot of Big Ten games. I feel the Big 12 has been a great league for us; there's so many people in this league I respect."

Colorado coach Linda Lappe also played for the Buffs, finishing her CU career in 2003. So she has spent a lot of time in Municipal Auditorium, which is hosting its 10th Big 12 women's tournament this year.

"Last night, I sat in my hotel room and looked over at the arena," Lappe said. "I can remember so many details that have happened in this building, and I took a second to say to myself, 'This is a pretty neat opportunity I've had.' I've really enjoyed being in the Big 12 as a coach and visiting all the same arenas I got to play in.

"We're happy we're going to the Pac-12. But at the same time, it's a little bittersweet. It's an ending to something that was pretty special."