Colorado Shuts Down Pepperdine
HONOLULU, Hawaii - Alyssa Fressle scored 16 points and dished out seven assists to lead Colorado to a 63-55 win over Pepperdine Saturday in the first game of the 2009 Paradise Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawaii campus.
Colorado (7-4) wins its fourth-straight overall and ends a streak of 10 losses in a row away from Boulder dating back to January 2008.
"Our last two games on the road we didn't play Colorado Basketball and we know we're so much better than that," Fressle said. "Being in Hawaii its great not just off the court, but to also prove that we can win on the road."
Fressle, just three points and one assist off her career high, keyed big moments in each half for Colorado. She scored the first five points of a 7-0 run that gave Colorado its first lead at 14-12 in the first half and had big shots in the second as Pepperdine tried to close the gap.
Pepperdine led early 12-7 when Fressle made a baseline jumper to cut the lead to three. After a missed 3-point attempt by Pepperdine's Nakeya Isabell, Spears got the long rebound and immediately found Fressle on the break for the layup. Isabell fouled Fressle, who hit the free throw to tie the game at 12. The foul was costly for the Waves as it was Isabell's second and starting center and leading scorer Miranda Ayim was already on the bench with two of her own.
The Buffaloes took advantage with their best defensive half of the season. Pepperdine scored just one basket over the final 9:36 of the first half and the 17 points scored by the Waves was the lowest half total for a CU opponent this year. Richards scored eight straight points and Fressle hit a couple free throws as the Buffs extended their lead to nine at the half, 26-17.
"We played a very good Pepperdine team today," CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "We had to work hard and grind that one out. (Ayim and Isabell) got into foul trouble early and our players responded on the defensive end, challenging shots. It was a great team effort."
It was Spears' turn early in the second half as the sophomore scored 10 of CU's first 12 points as the Buffaloes built a 14-point lead (38-24) with 16:15 remaining. But Ayim and Isabell returned to the lineup and kept the game close. Ayim scored 11 of her team-high 15 points in the second half as the Waves cut the CU lead down to 48-44 with 6:44 left.
Richards and Bianca Smith each hit layups to put Colorado back up by eight, but the Waves chipped back to a 5-point deficit at 52-47 with 4:28 reamining. After Spears hit a jumper, Pepperdine answered with a Jazmine Jackson free throw.
Pepperdine, pressuring the Colorado back court all day to the tune of 20 turnovers, looked to get the ball back late again as the Buffaloes were struggling to get a shot off. But Fressle came through one final time, as a 24-foot 3-pointer to beat the shot clock gave the Buffaloes some breathing room at 57-48 just 2:49 left in the game.
Just five players scored for the Buffaloes as Kelly Jo Mullaney had eight off the Bench and Smith finished with five. Colorado had its best overall shooting performance of the season hitting 56.3 percent from the field (27-of-48) while holding Pepperdine to just 37.7 percent for the game (23-of-61).
"Alyssa and Brittany are two players we know we can go to and handle the pressure and make plays," McConnell-Miller said. They have both really made the transition to understanding defensive concepts, stopping scorers and they know what we are trying to accomplish. We saw some great effort on the defensive end and a better understanding of what we are trying to do."
Colorado will play its final nonconference game of the 2008-09 season by facing the host Hawaii Rainbow Wahine on Sunday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. MST at the Stan Sheriff Center.