Buffs Shut Down Texas Southern
BOULDER — Colorado forced Texas Southern into 32 turnovers and held an opponent under 30 points for the fifth time in team history as the Buffaloes defeated the Lady Tigers 64-29 Friday night at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
Colorado, which has won six-straight games for the first time since 2003-04, improves to 7-2 overall. Texas Southern drops to 2-6.
It was a night for the defense as the Buffaloes employed a 1-2-2 press that caused a healthy portion of the 32 turnovers, which were the most by a Buffaloes opponent since Central Michigan gave up 33 on Nov. 29, 1997. Texas Southern was held to just 12 field goals and 27 percent from the field (12-of-45).
CU's pressure also amounted to 18 steals for the Buffaloes, a season high and the most since swiping 19 against California on Nov. 29, 2003. Brittany Spears matched a career high with five steals while Hannah Skildum had a personal-best four steals.
"I definitely think the 1-2-2 press helped a lot," Skildum said. "I like playing it. We have a big presence in the front and we play off of each others energy."
Colorado's defense offset a cold night on offense as the Buffs shot a season-low 32 percent. Spears led all scorers with 13 points while Bianca Smith and Jackie McFarland both had 11.
"You have to be happy with the win," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "I thought that we didn't see the offensive production we are capable of, in particular the shot selection and ball movement. We have shown we are better at that on certain days then we are on others. Defensively, I thought we played well and applied good pressure all game long."
Texas Southern actually hit four of its first seven shots to open a 9-8 lead in the first 5:25 of the game. CU went to Smith off the bench and the sophomore responded with a pair of 3-point field goals to ignite a 10-0 run. The Lady Tigers whittled CU's lead down to 20-16 with 5:49 remaining, but the Buffaloes shut out Texas Southern the rest of the half, ending the period with a 12-0.
CU then limited Texas Southern to eight points over the first 15 minutes of the second half, and 13 overall, tying for the second-lowest second-half defensive total in team history. The 29 points allowed tied for the fourth-lowest total in team history and fewest since CU defeated Iowa State 79-29 on Feb. 19, 1993.
Sophomore Aija Putnina grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with seven points. The Buffaloes enjoyed a 47-35 edge on the boards and corralled 22 offensive rebounds. Skildum finished with eight points and also notched two assists.
Colorado returns to action on Friday, Dec. 21, as the Buffaloes host Dartmouth College at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events/Conference Center.