Buffaloes Take Consolation Game At Coors Classic
BOULDER-Junior Jasmina Ilic had a game-high 24 points and sophomore Jackie McFarland had 21 as Colorado defeated Utah State 71-56 in the consolation game of the 19th Annual Coors Classic tournament Saturday evening in front of 1,979 at the Coors Events Conference Center.
Sophomore shooting guard Lauren Lubin had career-highs with 13 points and 13 rebounds in her first collegiate start as the Buffaloes improve to 2-2 on the young season. Lubin made the start in place of senior Whitney Law who sprained her left ankle in Friday's overtime loss to Northern Iowa.
Colorado started the game on an 18-4 run, sparked by seven points each from Ilic and McFarland and four from Lubin. Ilic, who was just 4-of-26 from the field over the previous two games, hit four of her first eight shots. She finished with a game-high 10 field goals ? four from beyond the 3-point arc.
"I think it was definitely a boost of confidence especially with all of the young players on our team," McFarland said. "We needed it mentally."
Utah State (0-3) made just two of its first 17 shots of the game, missing all five from 3-point range, and ended up at 26.7 percent for the half (8-of-30). The Aggies out-rebounded the Buffaloes 22-16 in the first half, led by forward Jenny Gross with seven. The Buffaloes shot 48.3 percent in the first 20 minutes building a 39-24 lead.
"The theme of the tournament for us was that we had slow starts," said Utah State head coach Raegan Pebley, the former Raegan Scott who had a solid playing career for CU from 1994-97. "We've got to be able to fix that and come out more aggressive in the beginning of the game. We played even with them after the first ten minutes but we just dug ourselves too deep of a hole at the beginning of the game to beat them."
The Aggies shot a little better in the second half, hitting 12-of-3 (38.7 percent), but Colorado regained the advantage on the boards in the second half out-rebounding Utah State 25-15. Lubin had 10 of her 13 rebounds in the second period as the Buffs led by as many as 24 late in the contest.
"I can tell you we are a lot happier tonight than last night," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "They really bounced back. They got off to a great start and opened things up for Jasmina. I thought she really responded. I thought Lauren came in, in Whitney's absence and had a great game. As I have said before we have had several great individual performances but I think tonight we had a solid team performance. What doesn't show in the stats is Jackie's leadership. She is getting better at communicating out there. Her composure was better and she didn't get frustrated."
McFarland scored in double digits for the fourth-straight game, the best streak of her career. She hit 7-of-11 from the field (.636), a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, and added five rebounds, four assists and four steals to earn Coors Classic All-Tournament team honors.
Sophomore point guard Yari Escalera played all but four minutes in Saturday's contest, pitching in nine points, six rebounds and four assists. Brittany Hagen led the way for Utah State with 18 points.
Colorado will play its first road game of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 30, as the Buffaloes travel north to face Colorado State in a 7 p.m. game at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo. The game will be televised live by Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain.
Friday, Nov. 25
Illinois 62, Utah State 43
Northern Iowa 74, Colorado 65, OT
Saturday, Nov. 26
Colorado 73, Utah State 56
Northern Iowa 71, Illinois 47
MVP -- Cassie Hager, 6-7, Sr., C, Northern Iowa
Jessie Biggs, 5-9, Jr., G, Northern Iowa
Lori Bjork, 5-11, Fr., G, Illinois
Jackie McFarland, 6-3, So., F, Colorado
Camille Brox, 5-5, Jr., G, Utah State