Buffs Struggle From Field, USC Pulls Away 76-57
BOULDER — University of Southern California senior Shay Murphy scored a career-high 33 points and the University of Colorado struggled from the field for the second straight game as the Trojans took a 76-57 decision from the Buffaloes Saturday afternoon at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
Murphy was nearly automatic from the floor hitting her first five of the game and finishing 13-of-19 to go along with six steals, five rebounds and four assists.
USC stormed out to a 22-5 lead in the first 11 minutes of the game. While Colorado made only 2-of-19 out of the gate, the Trojans made 10-of-16 (625). Murphy and Morghan Medlock combined for 20 of the Trojans first 22 points, on a combined 8-of-8 from the field.
After hitting 49 percent from the floor in its first six games, Colorado has cooled off in the last two. The Buffaloes hit just 32.2 percent (19-of-59) on Saturday and have made just 31.1 percent (38-of-122) over the last two games.
"I think when you play more experienced teams like USC, it is a lot tougher to come back, but it's not impossible," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "We continuously talked about that in the huddles, what we needed to do. I thought we got a little bit impatient with the fact we weren't hitting a lot of shots, and we were stuck on four for so long, and we probably took some shots that were out of character for us. We eventually came out of it for a little bit, but got back into it against a more experienced team; a team that capitalizes on mistakes."
Colorado fought back late in the first half, closing the on a 21-12 run. An Aija Putnina basket with 8:40 left in the first half stopped a streak of 16-straight missed shots over a 9:39 span. Senior Jasmina Ilic scored eight of her season-high 22 points down the stretch as CU cut the Trojans' lead to 34-26 at halftime. Ilic was 3-of-7 from 3-point range has she moved her career trey total to 107.
Despite the late first-period rally, it was more of the same from USC in the second half as the Trojans opened on a 14-4 run with the help of a pair of 3-point field goals by Jamie Hagiya.
"I think it was one of those where we were expecting a situation like Vanderbilt, where we came back from 17 down," Ilic said. "I thought we were going to continue that in the second half, however we didn't come out fully-focused in the first minute and a half and we went down by 15."
Putnina led all players with 14 rebounds, 11 of which came in the first half, giving her four-straight double-digit rebounding performances. It is the best streak by a freshman since Erin Scholz had four in a row in 1993-94.
Junior Jackie McFarland her sixth double-double of the year, and 25th of her career, with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Colorado will play its first of three straight on the road with a game at Cal State University Fullerton on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. MST in Fullerton, Calif.