Freshmen Step Up As CU Advances
Colorado head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller was expecting her freshman class to have an impact this season, and so far that's exactly what is happening.
Freshmen Meagan Malcolm-Peck and Chucky Jeffery combined for 23 points, 13 rebounds and seven steals to help lift Colorado to a 62-50 win over Georgia Southern in the first round of the 2009 Omni Hotels Classic Friday at the Coors Events/Conference Center.
The Buffaloes, 3-1 overall for the first time since 2003-04, will play Harvard in the championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m. Earlier on Friday, Harvard held off New Orleans 60-57. Georgia Southern and New Orleans will play in the consolation game at 4:30 p.m.
CU junior Brittany Spears led all players with 20 points.
Malcolm-Peck had a career-high 12 points, on 5-of-8 shooting, with seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
"I think the goal is always to contribute however you can and just make an impact," Malcolm-Peck said. "So whether it's hustling and getting a rebound and kicking out to Bianca [Smith] to get a three or anyway you can help the team. I just focus on that and its fun."
Jeffery had 11 points, six rebounds and five steals in 19 minutes of playing time. Jeffery has started the last three games while Malcolm-Peck has started all four.
"When I start I feel like I have to do well so I can stay on the floor and get my team off to a good start," Jeffery said. "Like (coach) said I need to let the bad things go and move forward."
The Buffaloes jumped out to a 10-0 lead, hitting four of their first six shots including 3-pointers by Malcolm-Peck and Spears. Conversely, Georgia Southern made just one of its first 10.
But that start quickly faded as the Buffaloes went cold, and were bit by the turnover bug at the same time the Eagles started heating up.
Colorado missed 10 straight shots which allowed Georgia Southern to counter the Buffs' opening run, with a 14-0 run of their and led 17-14 with 6:13 left in the half. Turnovers didn't help the Buffaloes cause either. CU committed 22 in the game, 13 of which came in the first 20 minutes.
CU rebounded to take a 21-20 lead at halftime. Both freshmen starters keyed big second half runs to allow the Buffs to put the game away.
With the Buffaloes up 27-26, Malcolm-Peck hit a 3-pointer and followed that up with a steal and layup to ignite a 17-7 run that put CU up 44-33 with 10:20 left. Carolyn Whitney and Candice Ivy had consecutive buckets for the Eagles to cut the CU lead to seven.
Jeffery took care of the next CU run. The Colorado Springs native had five points, three offensive rebounds and two assists as the Buffaloes outscored the Eagles 13-3 over a six minute span. Colorado had its largest lead at 57-40 with 3:32 remaining in the game, before a late Eagles' run narrowed the gap.
"We came back in the second half and played with great intensity, which we were talking a great deal about at halftime," McConnell-Miller said. "There were some great moments tonight."
Whitney led Georgia Southern with 11 points and eight rebounds. The Eagles committed 25 turnovers and shot just 26 percent from the field.