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CU Drops Big 12 Opener To Hot Shooting Nebraska

Jan 4, 2006

BOULDER - Colorado's Jasmina Ilic scored a career-high 36 points but Nebraska's 55.2 percent performance from the field was the difference maker in the Huskers' 80-62 victory over the Buffaloes Wednesday night at the Coors Events/Conference Center in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams.


Colorado falls to 5-8 overall and is 4-6 all-time in Big 12 openers. Nebraska improves to 9-3 overall, breaking a 21-game losing streak against CU in Boulder that dated back to the 1985-86 season.


Ilic hit 12-of-25 from the field ? both career highs ? and 8-for-11 from the free-throw line. Her 36 points mark the third best single-game total in team history. Susan Horner and Tracy Tripp share the single-game school mark at 38. Ilic, who also had a personal-best five steals, is the first player in CU history to score 33 or more points twice in the same season. She had 34 against Cal-State Fullerton in the season opener.


Despite Ilic's career-night, the Buffaloes shot only 37.5 percent from the field and made only one field goal in a critical eight-minute stretch that spanned the last six minutes of the first half and the first two of the second half.


The Buffaloes, who led by as much as six in the opening 10 minutes of the game, claimed a 26-25 lead with 6:06 remaining in the first period on an Ilic 15-foot jumper. Nebraska scored six straight to take a 31-26 lead with 3:24 remaining.


After a media timeout, Ilic nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner to cut the lead to two, but the Huskers scored the final eight points of the period for a 10-point lead at halftime. Nebraska made 17-of-29 attempts in the first half (58.6 percent) and shot 55.2 percent overall. Nebraska is the first CU opponent this season to hit over 50 percent from the field for the entire game.


"I thought we were a little tired," said CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller, who was coaching in her first Big 12 game. "We started to make poor decisions and turned the ball over on consecutive possessions. Nebraska is a deeper team than we are and they used their depth to tire us out. They (the Huskers) were hot shooting. They had some easy looks, but even so they were hitting their open shots."


The Huskers extended their lead to 14 in the opening minutes of the second half and never let the lead fall below nine points the rest of the game. Kiera Hardy led the Huskers with 17 points while Kelsey Griffin had 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds.


Jackie McFarland had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds for Colorado, but fell into foul trouble in the second half. Point guard Yari Escalera had six points, six rebounds and five assists.


Colorado will travel to play Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 2:30 p.m. MST in Norman, Okla.