Late Run Gives Texas Big 12 Win Over Buffs
BOULDER - Colorado's Jasmina Ilic had a game-high 20 points but a late Texas rally allowed the Longhorns to escape with a 69-64 Big 12 Conference win Saturday afternoon at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
Colorado (7-15, 2-8 Big 12) led by six at 62-58 with 3:49 remaining in the game, but the Longhorns (12-8, 6-4 Big 12) closed the contest on a 13-2 run. UT freshman Erika Arriaran scored eight of her team-high 14 points in the final six minutes and reserve post Mariana Mergerson scored five of her seven in the final minutes to spark Texas.
Texas was able to rally despite losing All-Big 12 forward and leading scorer Tiffany Jackson who left the game with an injured ankle with six minutes remaining in the game.
A Mergerson jumper with 40 seconds remaining capped a 9-0 run and gave the Longhorns a 65-62 lead. A turnover gave Texas the ball back, but the Longhorns couldn't take advantage as Arriaran was fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one. CU senior Whitney Law hustled the ball down the court and hit a short jumper of her own with 0:16 left, cutting the lead to 65-64.
Arriaran was fouled again, but this time made both free throws. Colorado had a chance for overtime, but Ilic's 3-point attempt from the left wing sailed long as the Buffaloes dropped their 11th straight game against a Big 12 Southern Division opponent.
"The story was they (Texas) made big shots," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "We turned it over, then they would make a shot, then we would turn it over again. I thought we forced a lot on the offensive end and did not stop what they were trying to accomplish."
Texas led by as many as 10 early in the second half, but the Buffaloes fought their way back into the game by getting to the foul line. Colorado, the Big 12's top free-throw shooting team, hit 17-of-18 from the charity stripe in the second half (94.4 percent). The Buffaloes hit eight consecutive free throws ? four from Ilic and two each from Law and Jackie McFarland -- during an 11-0 run to take a 43-42 lead with 12:03 remaining in the game.
Texas briefly regained a three point lead at the 10 minute mark, but a pair of jumpers by Ilic sparked a 9-0 run that gave CU its largest lead at 56-50.
McFarland had 17 points and 11 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season, the fifth best total in team history. Law finished with 11 points seven rebounds and five assists. Colorado out-rebounded the Longhorns 43-34 and finished 23-of-26 from the line, but committed 21 turnovers.
Colorado will be back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 8, as the Buffaloes host Kansas State at the Coors Events Center at 7 p.m. The game will air live on Fox Sports Net-Rocky Mountain.