Buffs Run By Rams 93-63
BOULDER – Senior center Kara Richards scored a career high 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds to vault Colorado to a 93-63 win over instate rival Colorado State Wednesday night at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
Brittany Spears matched her own personal best with 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her eighth career double-double as the Buffaloes move to 2-0 for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Colorado used an 11-0 run to open the second half to pull away from the Rams (0-2). The Buffaloes shot 57 percent in the second period, outscoring Colorado State 51-28.
Richards dominated the inside in her best all around game in a Colorado uniform. She was 8-of-12 from the field and a perfect 9-of-9 from the free-throw line.
"I became a little bit more aggressive," Richards said. "I started calling for the ball more. As a post, the only way I'm going to have a good game is if the guards get me the ball and we have guards that can all do that."
Richards reached 20 points for the fifth time in her career and surpassed her previous career best of 24 points set twice in her freshman year in 2005 (vs. Manhattan and Iowa State).
The teams played a tight and entertaining first half. Spears hit her first five shots from the floor and scored 10 of CU's first 12 points, and the Buffaloes hit a solid 49 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes (16-of-33). But the Rams stayed within striking distance. Although the Buffaloes never trailed in the game, Colorado State stayed within three to eight points throughout the first 20 minutes. CSU's Kandy Beemer and Bonnie Barbee each hit a pair of 3-pointers as CU's lead at halftime was just 42-35.
CSU cooled off considerably in the second half hitting just 29 percent (11-of-38) from the field. Richards also went to work, scoring 18 of her 25 points and grabbing six of her eight rebounds in the final 20 minutes
"It started on the defensive end, but initially we just went right inside and just tired to establish a presence," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "I thought Kara [Richards] really dominated on the interior, she was phenomenal. I think the adjustments defensively gave this team the extra bounce, the extra step that they needed. I think the adjustments were big; not necessarily what I said, but what they did."
Coming off a poor performance from the free throw line against UCF in its season opener, making just 16 of 26, Colorado responded in a big way by making its first 17 free-throw attempts of the game and finishing 22-of-24 from the line. The 17 straight made to start the game were CU's best since its school record 19-of-19 performance against Nebraska on Feb. 7, 1987.
Facing her former team, sophomore guard Kelly Jo Mullaney scored 14 points and dished out six assists. The Buffaloes had a well rounded game from junior Bianca Smith who had nine points and a career-high eight rebounds.
Richards wasn't the only CU frontcourt player to have success on the blocks Wednesday. Freshman Julie Seabrook had nine points on 4-of-5 shooting and five rebounds while sophomore center Courtney Dunn had six points and four rebounds.
Beemer finished with 15 points and four assists to lead Colorado State while Barbee pitched in 13.
Colorado will face its first road test of the season by traveling to play No. 15/11 Virginia on Monday, Nov. 24, at 5 p.m. MST in Charlottesville, Va. The game will mark the return of McConnell-Miller to her alma mater where she will face her former coach, Debbie Ryan and the Cavaliers.