Buffs Fall Short In Comeback
BOULDER - A valiant comeback effort from an 18-point first half deficit by Colorado fell just short against No. 21/23 Iowa State as the Cyclones held on for a 53-47 Big 12 Conference win on Saturday afternoon at the Coors/Events Conference Center.
Iowa State wins its fifth straight, improving to 18-4, 6-2 in Big 12 play. Colorado falls to 10-11, 2-7.
The game started out with back and forth scoring and the Buffaloes led by one at the 18:44 mark after a 3-pointer from Alyssa Fressle, but the Cyclones outscored CU 22-5 over the next 8:47 to take command.
The Buffs struggled in the first half against the Cyclones' defense, committing 10 turnovers which led to 14 Iowa State points. The Cyclones capped off their run with eight straight points and led 24-8 mid-way through the first half.
Colorado regained some momentum before halftime. The Buffaloes closed the first half on a 9-0 run of their own. Brittany Spears contributed seven of the nine points while Fressle added another two to close the half 31-22.
"It takes a great deal to overcome that kind of deficit. If you look at in pieces it is actually a doable task," Coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. "We talked about going into the half and outscoring them by eight from this point on. If you look at it as coming back from 18 points, it looks like a much larger deficit than it really is."
The Buffs came out of the locker room for the second half with a new found energy. Colorado wasted no time in cutting the spread to five in the first 3:14 of the second period. Fressle, who finished with 10 points, got the run started with a jumper, and after a pair of layups by Kara Richards, Hannah Skildum connected on her second 3-pointer of the game to cut the ISU lead to 36-31
But the Cyclones were able to put the game back up to double-digits after Kelsey Bolte hit a 3-pointer and Nicky Wieben scored four of her game-high 18 points to make the lead 47-34.
After Fressle hit her second 3-pointer to cut the lead back down to 10 at 49-39, Spears scored CU's next six points and the Buffaloes closed the gap to 51-45 with 3:27 left, but could get no closer. CU had several missed opportunities in the closing minutes as Iowa State missed eight of 10 free throw attempts down the stretch, finishing an uncharacteristic 4-of-13 from the line. ISU grabbed several offensive rebounds off its missed free throws and Colorado was unable to convert on a couple chances down at the other end, scoring just two points over the final 3:27.
Spears had her 13th career double-double and led the Buffs in scoring for the 14th time this season, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Fressle added two steals, a blocked shot, and two rebounds on the defensive end. Skildum finished with six points off the bench.
The Buffs shooting percentage was better than the Cyclones at 43-42 percent, but the Buffs 17 turnovers let the Cyclones score an extra 19 points which put the Buffs behind in the end.
Colorado will take its Big 12 "BYE" this week and return to action on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Texas A&M University. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m. MST at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas.