Seniors Step Up For Buffs
BOULDER — When Colorado needed a shot in the arm to get going against Northern Colorado, the Buffs looked to their seniors to step it up, and they answered.
Forward Jackie McFarland scored a game-high 26 points and point guard Susie Powers had 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds to lead Colorado to a 69-60 win over Northern Colorado Wednesday night at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
Colorado improves to 3-2 overall while the Bears fall to 3-3.
McFarland, who became the ninth player in team history to reach 1,400 career points (1,411), sparked a 23-4 first-half run to overcome a slow start by the Buffaloes. UNC hit its first four 3-point field goal attempts and built a 19-11 lead in the first 8:56 of the game.
Coming out of a media timeout with 10:56 remaining in the first half, McFarland took over. The All-Big 12 Conference performer scored 10 straight points capped off by a 3-pointer to give CU a 21-19 lead. After Kate Kevorken tied the game at 21, CU sophomore guard Bianca Smith kept the momentum by in the home team's favor by hitting three 3-pointers in a span of 2:17. Caley Dow and Whitney Houston finished off the run with back-to-back buckets to give the Buffs a 34-23 advantage.
Powers had six of her career-high eight assists in the first 20 minutes, two of which went to McFarland during her 10-0 run. Powers, whose 16 assists against only three turnovers this season leads the Big 12, scored nine of her career-best tying 12 points in the second half.
CU built its lead to 55-41 early in the second half as McFarland and Powers each hit a pair of 3-pointers during the run. UNC answered with six straight to cut CU's lead to eight, but Powers' third 3-pointer of the half sparked a 7-0 run to give the Buffs their largest lead of the game at 62-47.
The 3-pointer was a big weapon for the Buffs against UNC. CU made 13 from downtown, its most since a similar baker's dozen against Iowa State on Jan. 10, 2007. Colorado was 8-of-21 in the first half alone, with the 21 attempts breaking the school record of 20 attempts in one half set against Buffalo on Jan. 3, 2004. Colorado ended up at 13-of-36, with the 36 attempts just one short of the school record for a game which is 37 against Buffalo. CU, which had 10 3-pointers against Rice on Saturday, has hit double-digits in 3-pointers in back-to-back games for the first time in school history.
Sophomore Aija Putnina had a career-high 15 rebounds and tied a personal best with four blocked shots for Colorado, which held UNC to just 34 percent from the field. McFarland finished with eight rebounds and three blocks while shooting 8-of-11 from the field.
"Tonight we had some great individual performances, but I think collectively as a team we struggled with some combinations on the floor and we do a lot of things that do not really help us," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "We do not take advantage of opportunities, and we always feel like the next play we can get it. We are growing in areas and we are struggling in some. But individually, Jackie, Susie and Aija performed well tonight."
"Overall I thought it was a good effort, but I think we can do better. I thought UNC did a nice job and they challenged us and made us work for everything we got."
Whitley Cox led Northern Colorado with 21 points and five assists. Courtney Stoermer had 13 points and nine rebounds while Danielle Hagen had a team-high 12 rebounds.
Colorado will resume its nonconference schedule by facing Colorado State on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2:30 p.m. in Moby Arena in Fort Collins. The game will be televised live by The Mtn network.