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CU Edges Nebraska In Final Seconds

Jan 31, 2009

BOULDER—Brittany Spears connected on a baseline layup with five seconds remaining in the game to complete a furious Colorado comeback as the Buffaloes beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 75-73 Saturday afternoon at the Coors Events/Conference Center.

The game was full of runs by both teams. The Buffaloes scored the first five points, but the Cornhuskers responded with an 18-3 run to open a 10-point lead. Bianca Smith scored a 3-pointer for Colorado with Spears right behind her with another two to get the Buffs within five (18-13) with 11:55 remaining in the first half.

Spears led the Buffs with 25 points and nine rebounds while Smith added another 21 points, all of which came from beyond the arc as she matched her school record seven three pointers in the game.   It is the second time this season that Smith has scored over 20 and the seventh time for Spears.

Nebraska went on another 7-0 run to build a 12-point lead when once again Smith gave the momentum back to the Buffs.  She hit three of her five first half 3-pointers in a one minute span to allow Colorado to crawl back to within six at 28-22.

Nebraska's Cory Montgomery, who had a team-high 24 points and nine rebounds, had an answer to Smith, hitting a 3-pointer of her own to spark the Huskers on a 14-4 run for a 42-28 lead with just under two minutes left.

Despite committing 18 first half turnovers which led to 19 Nebraska points, the Buffaloes narrowed the gap to eight at halftime when Kelly Jo Mullaney drove the length of the court for a layup as the buzzer sounded.

The Buffs came out in the second half looking like a different team. CU cut its turnovers down to eight in the second half and wasted no time, cutting the deficit down to three with a 7-2 run to open the half.

"Most importantly they started to take care of the basketball," head coach Kathy McConnell Miller said. "{They} had the confidence that we could win."

Nebraska built its lead back up to eight (50-42), but when Smith hit her record-tying seventh 3-pointer at 12:03, it tied the score at 58 and neither team would build a lead of more than three the rest of the contest.

Moments later, Kara Richards scored on a layup to give CU the lead at 62-61, their first since an 8-6 advantage early in the first half.

From the 10-minute mark on, the lead changed six times with two ties thrown in. The Buffaloes held onto the lead for two minutes before the Cornhuskers tied it up at 68 with 4:45 remaining.

That didn't stop the Buffs from answering right back as Mullaney gave CU a 70-68 lead on a jumper with the shot clock winding down. After a Yvonne Turner free throw, Spears gave CU a 72-69 lead on a layup at the other end.

Montgomery hit a pair of free throws to pull Nebraska to within one and the Huskers regained the lead at 73-72 as Turner converted a steal into a bucket on the other end with only 1:20 remaining.

With 49 seconds left in the game, Spears went to the line to tie the game up 73-73. A turnover by Turner on the other end gave Colorado the ball to set up Spears' game winner.

Colorado shot 55 percent in the game, its best mark this season in the Big 12 and second-best percentage of the season.

Richards finished with 14 points and six rebounds while Mullaney had 10 points and four rebounds off the bench.

Dominique Kelley had 16 points while Turner had nine points, seven assists and four steals.

Colorado returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 4, as the Buffaloes travel to play the University of Kansas at 6 p.m. MST at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.