Buffs Open With Win At San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO ? Freshman Brittany Spears had 15 points ? all in the first half ? to spark Colorado to a season-opening 66-48 win at San Francisco Friday night at War Memorial Gymnasium.
Spears, who also tallied seven rebounds and five steals, scored 15 of CU's first 23 points as the Buffaloes erased an early 13-6 deficit and closed the first half with a 30-12 run to take control of the game. Spears was 7-of-11 from the floor and had four of her steals by halftime equaling CU's top individual theft performance from any game all of last season. Her scoring output tied for the 10th best by a Buff in her debut in team history.
"I felt comfortable because we were prepared," Spears said. "We worked all week on (San Francisco's) plays, all the screens; flare screens. (The coaching staff) told us what they were going to do. I felt prepared mentally and physically for this game."
With Spears' strong start the game opened up for CU's all-Big 12 forward Jackie McFarland who had a game-high 22 points including 15 in the second half.
"The ball movement was great," McFarland said. "Before (opponents) have been able to double-down on me the entire game and tonight after a couple plays in the first half when we were getting good shots (outside), it opened up the post a lot and allowed me to move around."
"The energy we had tonight was amazing. With the quickness and athleticism of some of the freshman, we now have a lot of depth and didn't wear down in the end."
Freshman guard Britney Blythe made her collegiate debut in her own back yard scoring 11 points with two steals and two assists. The San Mateo, Calif., native led a Colorado bench effort that outscored the USF bench 26-6. Sophomore Aija Putnina corralled nine rebounds and had six points, including her first career 3-point field goal.
"We have several options for players coming off the bench and tonight we wanted players on the floor that could score and I thought that was the difference," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "We had five players that could shoot the ball and USF had a difficult job of figuring out who to guard. In the past we've had just one (who could score) and now we have more offensive weapons."
"We wanted to improve our performance on the road this year and I was very pleased with the mental toughness of this team and the decision making on the floor. This team was prepared for what we were going to do and our staff had a confidence level going into the game tonight the way the players have worked in the off season and preseason."
The Buffaloes, which have won just one road game each of the last two years, enjoyed their widest margin of victory on the road since a 71-50 win over Kansas on Jan. 18, 2003.
Colorado's defense shut down San Francisco as the Dons were held to just 37 percent shooting for the game and just 32 in the second half (9-of-28). The Buffaloes had 11 steals ? nine in the first half ? and overall forced 18 USF turnovers. Lisa Olden led USF with 14 points and seven rebounds while Necolia Simmons had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Colorado will complete its West Coast swing by visiting the University of Southern California (0-1) on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m. MST at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.