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Buffs Erase 15-Point Halftime Deficit To Tame Wildcats

Jan 31, 2007

BOULDER Jackie McFarland had 19 points and Whitney Houston had a career-high 17 as the University of Colorado rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to claim a 66-55 Big 12 Conference win over Kansas State University Wednesday night at the Coors Events/Conference Center.


The Buffaloes improve to 9-11 overall and 3-5 in Big 12 action, matching their win totals from the 2005-06 season (9-21, 3-13 Big 12) and also snapping an eight-game losing streak to the Wildcats (15-6, 3-5 Big 12).


Colorado outscored Kansas State 23-0 over a 10-minute, 24-second span of the second half which allowed the Buffaloes to overcome the second-largest halftime deficit to win in team history. None of the current Buffaloes were born the last time CU was victorious when closing halftime deficit that large. Colorado trailed the University of Washington by 19 points (35-16) on Dec. 21, 1982, in Portland, Ore., before coming back to win 67-65.


Kansas State missed 12 straight shots during the CU run and committed six turnovers. The Wildcats shot just 22.2 percent in the second half (6-of-27) while the Buffaloes made 62.5 percent (15-of-24) and outscored KSU 42-16 in the final 20 minutes. KSU's 16 second-half points were the lowest CU has allowed in a half this season.


Colorado had a hard time doing anything right early on. Claire Coggins and Kimberly Dietz combined for 24 first-half points as the Wildcats took a 39-24 lead into the locker room. Colorado made just 38 percent from the field in the first half (8-of-21) and committed 12 turnovers.


A quick Shana Wheeler bucket to open the second half actually gave the Wildcats their largest lead at 41-24. CU whittled the margin down to 10 at 41-31 with 16:00 remaining on two Houston layups and a Susie Powers 3-pointer. The Wildcats responded with a 7-2 run, ending on a Coggins 3-pointer to push the KSU advantage back up to 15 at 48-33 with 13:53 remaining.


Then the fireworks began on the CU side of the court.


Houston started the run with a jumper from the free throw line. After KSU guard Shalee Lehning missed a pair of free throws, senior Jasmina Ilic drilled a long 3-pointer to cut the margin to 48-38. Sophomore guard Bianca Smith, who had been held scoreless for the past four games, nailed a 3-pointer from the right elbow. Coggins missed a 3-pointer on the other end which led to a Smith layup that put the Buffs within five at 48-43 with 11:39 left on the clock.


McFarland made consecutive field goals and an Ilic jumper at the 9:15 mark gave the Buffaloes the lead for good at 49-48. Colorado continued to press as Smith connected on her second 3-pointer of the half and McFarland scored four straight points to give the Buffaloes a 56-48 lead with 4:43 remaining.


Dietz ended the drought with a layup of her own at the 3:29 mark of the half to cut the CU lead to six, but the Wildcats would not draw any closer. Coggins led the Wildcats with 19 points while Dietz finished with 16.


McFarland, who had a team-high 11 rebounds, recorded her 13th double-double of the season which ranks fifth on CU's single-season list. She also holds down the fourth spot on the list as she had 14 as a sophomore in 2005-06. McFarland now has 32 career double-doubles, third on CU's career chart.


Houston also had a personal-best seven field goals while tying career highs with 13 field-goal attempts and three steals. Sophomore Hannah Skildum dished out a career-high five assists while adding four points and two rebounds.


Colorado will continue its Big 12 Conference schedule by hosting Texas Tech University on Saturday, Feb 3, at 7 p.m. MST at the Coors Events/Conference Center.