Buffs Win Big On Road
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Colorado picked up its second road win of the season and in doing so recorded its largest victory against Colorado State in 28 years as the Buffaloes defeated the Rams 82-47 Saturday afternoon at Moby Arena.
Colorado improves to 4-2 with its third straight win while the Rams fall to 1-7.
Colorado's front court of Jackie McFarland, Aija Putnina and Brittany Spears each had double-doubles as Colorado's 35-point margin was its highest in the CSU series since a 112-48 win on Nov. 16, 1979. McFarland had 17 points and 10 rebounds for her 40th career double-double.
Spears had 16 points, a career-high 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals. Putnina had 11 points, on a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor, and 10 rebounds for her second double-double since she became a regular starter three games ago. The win, CU's largest on the road since a 70-35 decision at Kansas on Jan. 16, 2002, gives CU a 2-1 road mark this season after winning just one road game each of the past two seasons.
"We addressed our 'road woes' so to speak at the beginning of the season, CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "We felt like one area we needed to work on was mental toughness and I thought that (mental toughness) really showed tonight the way we rebounded, our aggressiveness and the way we defended."
Colorado shot 51 percent from the field (29-of-57) while holding Colorado State to just 24 percent (17-of-70). The Buffaloes took full advantage of CSU's shooting struggles by enjoying a commanding 58-26 edge on the boards.
"Despite the amount of turnovers (CU had 24) we moved the ball really well," McConnell-Miller said. "Leading up to this game we shot often and early, but today we made the extra passes and found the best options within our offensive structure and therefore our efficiency was there."
The Buffaloes hit four of their first five shots to jump out to a quick 9-4 lead. CSU climbed back to within 9-8 as CU missed two shots and turned the ball over on five possessions. But back-to-back 3-point field goals by guards Susie Powers and Bianca Smith sparked an 18-6 run which gave CU a 27-14 lead with 5:16 remaining in the half. CSU scored six straight to cut the Buffaloes' lead to seven, but CU scored the last five, including a McFarland tip-in at the buzzer to take a 32-20 halftime lead.
Powers, who had nine points, six assists and five rebounds, led the defensive effort by shutting down Sara Hunter, CSU's top scorer. Hunter was held scoreless in the first half on five attempts and finished with eight points, only three of which came with Powers as the primary defender.
"Defensively we were led by Susie Powers and the fact that she contained Hunter," McFarland said. "Generally they feed off her and her scoring, and with Susie playing all day right in her shorts, it helped the rest of us out by taking (Hunter) away."
Colorado put the game out of reach early in the second half, embarking on a 27-8 run in the first 7:48 of the period. Smith had a pair of 3-point field goals during the run along with one each by Powers and McFarland. The Buffaloes ball movement from inside-out allowed open looks as Colorado hit 14-of-28 from beyond the arc. The 14 3-pointers are the second most in a single game in school history (CU had 16 against Buffalo on Jan. 3, 2004) and it's also the first time the Buffs have had double-digit 3-point efforts in three straight games.
Colorado had 28 points in the paint – mostly from McFarland and Spears – and turned 17 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points.
"In practice we've really been working on the zone and how to use our inside presence to create open shots," McFarland said. "Although (the defense) tries to take it away, you need an inside and outside presence in order to win.
Smith finished with 11 points off the bench and was 3-of-7 from downtown. Junior forward Caley Dow had four points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench.
CSU was led by Lauren Young who had 10 points and five rebounds.
Colorado will return home to face No. 25/24 University of Wyoming on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Coors Events/Conference Center. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain.