CU Erases 18-Point Deficit To Notch 9th Straight Win
CORVALLIS, Ore. - The No. 19 Colorado women's basketball team turned a slow start into a 66-63 overtime victory Sunday against Oregon State to finish the Pac-12 Conference season 13-5.
The Buffs' 13 league wins this season trail only the 1989 and '95 squads, both of which finished their seasons 14-0 and made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
CU shot just 33.8 percent from the field but outrebounded the Beavers 49-36. Senior guard Chucky Jeffery scored a game-high 25 points, while redshirt freshman forward Arielle Roberson earned her second career double-double Sunday with 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Eight of those were on the offensive end, a number just two off from the program record.
2013 PAC-12 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Friday, March 8 • Pac-12 Networks
Saturday, March 9 • Pac-12 Networks
Sunday, March 10 • ESPN2
All times Mountain and subject to change.
"We knew how we wanted to end the regular season, but now it's one-and-done from here on out," said Jeffery, who also contributed seven rebounds. "We had a heck of a regular season, but now it's Pac-12 tournament time, and anybody can win."
With a win over Oregon on Friday, the Buffs secured a No. 4 seed and first-round bye at the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament, set for March 7-10 at the KeyArena in Seattle.
But even with a first-round bye already locked down, the Buffs had no easy go of Sunday's matchup against the Beavers.
"Coach said this was probably how the game was probably going to go," Jeffery said of OSU's aggressiveness. "They weren't going to come out and give it to us, we were going to have to earn it, and that's what they did. I think it was a good game for us to end our regular season on, it was very competitive."
It was senior day for the Beavers at Gill Coliseum, and the strength of the OSU upperclassmen showed early. Four OSU seniors hit the court at some point in the first nine minutes of the game, helping the Beavers to a 22-9 lead with 11:05 left in the half.
OSU seniors Mollee Schwegler, Quortni Fambro and Patricia Bright put up a combined 15 points in the half, including two Schwegler three-pointers in the first four minutes. The Beavers built their largest lead, 18, at the 6:50 mark, but CU responded with a 14-2 run to head into the locker room trailing by just five (28-33).
"We don't give up," Jeffery said. "They were hitting shot after shot, and it was kind of draining us, but we just had to keep plugging . . . we started cutting the lead, and we started getting settled, getting stops on defense and making baskets."
Jeffery opened the second half with a layup and made two free throws to bring the Buffs back within one (33-32), but a strong OSU defense held CU to just four points over the next six minutes.
But then it was OSU's turn for a scoring drought, as CU turned up the energy on both ends of the court with a 15-4 run. Junior center Rachel Hargis gave the Buffs their first lead of the game with a jumper at the 7:09 mark, and while CU would build a five-point lead with 2:12 on the clock, the Beavers weren't done yet. With nine seconds remaining, OSU freshman guard Jamie Weisner hit a three-pointer to tie the score at 56-56 send the game into overtime.
The Buffs went on a 7-1 run to gain a six-point overtime lead, but OSU would fight to the finish as Weisner hit another three with 30 seconds on the clock. Jeffery then hit one of two free throws, but OSU guard Ali Gibson responded with a deep, nearly half-court trey to close CU's lead to one (64-63) with 6.3 seconds remaining.
Roberson was fouled on the next possession and made two crucial free throws, and OSU missed its buzzer-beater shot to give the Buffs the 66-63 win.
"You can't ever think that it's not your day," CU head coach Linda Lappe said of the Buffs' comeback. "You've just got to find different ways to get things done . . . you've got to make sure that little things don't affect you. We could have even let that half-court shot affect us, but we didn't, and I really liked our resolve."
Lappe said OSU's competitiveness down the stretch was critical for the Buffs to experience before postseason play.
"I think it was so great for us to get a win like this," Lappe said. "Now every game is win and you move forward, lose and you go home. It's a different kind of pressure, but it's also a lot more fun . . . I feel like Oregon State prepared us to play at a high level game in and game out and possibly multiple days in a row."