Buffs Back On Winning Track
BOULDER – Brittany Spears had 25 points and 12 rebounds and Kara Richards scored 20 as Colorado defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 73-39, Tuesday night at the Coors Events/Conference Center, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Junior Bianca Smith nabbed a career-high 12 rebounds as the Buffaloes (3-3) got a boost of confidence in several areas after a disappointing Thanksgiving week that saw back-to-back losses in the Coors Classic for the first time.
The Buffaloes, which had been giving up nearly eight rebounds per game to their opponents, took control of the boards Tuesday night, more than doubling up the Lady Lions 51-28. CU also rediscovered its stroke, hitting 51.7 percent from the field (31-of-60) after shooting just 34 percent (61-of-179) during the previous three games.
"Leading up to this game, we talked about the areas that we needed to improve," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "First and foremost, was the confidence that we had the ability to shoot and rebound. We didn't do that in the last couple of games, and the time we spent over the last few days helped us get back on track."
Spears and Richards combined for 17 of Colorado's first 19 points as the Buffaloes built a 19-7 lead in the game's first eight minutes. Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored the next eight points, four by LaQuisha Slaton, to cut the deficit to 19-15 with 10:29 remaining in the half.
Colorado clamped down on the Lady Lions from there. The Buffaloes went on an 18-0 run of their own, holding the Lady Lions without a point for nearly nine minutes. Freshman Alyssa Fressle started the rally with a long jumper from the top of the key, and spent the rest of her half dishing the ball off to Spears who scored 19 of her 25 points in the first 20 minutes.
Richards finished off the half with a pair of layups in the last minute to give the Buffs a 41-20 advantage at the break. The senior captain was 10-of-17 from the floor and added seven rebounds and two steals.
Fressle, coming off a 19-point performance against Drexel, once again had a solid stat line, scoring eight points while dishing out a team season-high eight assists to go along with four steals and three rebounds.
Colorado held Arkansas-Pine Bluff to just 26 percent from the field (15-of-57) and the lowest point total for an opponent since the Buffaloes beat Southern Utah 81-38 on Dec. 28, 2007.
"We spent more time this week focusing on ourselves," McConnell-Miller said. "We spent more time focusing on Colorado, and what Colorado needs to do and where we want to be. Finding our identity was important. There are times in the game of basketball when you need to focus on yourself, get healthy and get better."
Arica Green led the Lady Lions with 14 points. Ava Walters had six points and seven rebounds.
Colorado returns to action on Tuesday, Dec. 9, as they travel to play Seton Hall University at 5 p.m. MST in South Orange, N.J.