Youth Serves Buffs Well
BOULDER — Colorado used a strong bench and an energetic youth movement to defeat Kansas 59-41 in a Big 12 Conference game Tuesday night at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
The Buffaloes (13-5, 2-3 Big 12) broke a three game losing streak thanks to 31 points from its freshman class. Brittany Spears had 14 points and eight rebounds and the Buffs had career-nights off the bench from forward Courtney Dunn, who finished with nine-points and five rebounds, and guard Britney Blythe who pitched in eight points, three rebounds and two assists.
Kansas (12-6, 1-4 Big 12) jumped out of the gates quickly, outscoring Colorado 18-8 to open the game. Colorado then went to its bench to provide a spark that allowed the Buffaloes to match their win total from the 2006-07 season (13-17).
After making just three of its first 13 shots, Colorado brought in Blythe who promptly connected on an off-balance floater in the lane that started a 19-4 run to end the half. Spears had a 3-pointer and two layups during the run while sophomore guard Bianca Smith provided a pair of 3-pointers to help bolster a CU bench that outscored KU's 27-8.
"I basically wanted to just come in and step up and be a spark," Blythe said scoring her most points since netting 11 in her collegiate debut at San Francisco. "I wanted to bring some energy. Our seniors obviously always step up every night. Jackie (McFarland) told me, come in and be composed, so I tried to do that."
Dunn, who entered the game late in the first half, kept the momentum in CU's favor entering the second. She scored seven of her points during the first 7:15 of the second half as the Buffaloes put the game out of reach with a 14-4 run to open the period. Dunn hit 4-of-5 from the field while playing a career-high 25 minutes.
Senior Jackie McFarland was the game's high scorer with 15 points, nine of which came from the foul line as she creeps closer and closer to CU's all-time mark. She needs just 12 more to catch Bridget Turner's school record of 484 from 1985-89.
Kansas was led by Danielle McCray who registered a double-double by scoring 12 points and grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds, but the Colorado defense forced 27 turnovers and allowed the Jayhawks just 32 percent shooting. Kansas' 41 points tied for the third lowest by a CU Big 12 regular season opponent and the 18-point margin of victory was the highest over the Jayhawks since a 75-56 decision on Feb. 24, 2004.
"The fact that we only gave up 41 points to a Big 12 team says a lot for the way we responded (to the three-game losing streak)," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "We played a lot of players who hadn't seen much time and it gave them great experience. They came into the game and really stepped up and did some great things. At one point we had three freshman and two sophomores on the floor, and they were looking as poised as anyone on the team."
Colorado will travel to play Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m. MST in Lubbock, Texas. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports Net.