Rebounds and three-pointers key in much-needed win
With only eight games to go in the season, Colorado snapped a six-game losing streak Saturday.
The Buffs defeated the Texas Longhorns 67-52 in Boulder.
Colorado head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said that the Buffs really needed this win.
“I’d like to say timely win, but I would tell you that any win would have been a great win,” McConnell-Miller said.
McConnell-Miller said that with three minutes left in the game, the Buffs made a conscious effort to make sure they closed out the game.
“We took care of the basketball and made free-throws down the stretch and just converted on possessions,” McConnell-Miller said. “For us that was a very positive step, because in the past we had made several turns in a direction we did not go at that point.”
McConnell-Miller said sophomore guard Whitney Houston, who has struggled toward the end of games this season, played well in the final minutes against Texas, and played well against Texas’ pressure throughout the game.
Houston said the Texas pressure was the most she has seen in a single game, but she found a way to fight through it and maintain her focus at the end.
“At the end, I get kind of timid and kind of frustrated when I’m committing turnovers,” Houston said. “I just said ‘not this one, we’re going to win this one.'”
The Buffs out-rebounded the Longhorns 50-29 and had three different players with 10 or more rebounds.
“For us to out-rebound a team, first and foremost as athletic as Texas 50 to 29, but more importantly out of a zone, which is very difficult to rebound out of, was big,” McConnell-Miller said.
Sophomore forward Aija Putnina tied her career high of 15 rebounds against Texas and scored 14 points.
“I thought she rebounded the heck out of it,” McConnell-Miller said. “She came through the lane, she jumped, she boxed out and (the refs) let it play, they let her be physical. She handled the contact on the other end as well.”
Bianca Smith scored a career-high 26 points for the Buffs, shooting 7-14 from behind the arc.
The sophomore guard’s seven three-pointers tied the Colorado all-time record for three-point shots made in a single game.
“I felt like I needed to come through and knock shots down to get my teammates up and spark something in them,” Smith said. “I just tried to stay composed, get everybody in it, and keep everyone’s head up.”
Smith, originally from Missouri City, Texas, said getting a win against Texas was very special.
“It feels great,” Smith said. “It’s probably the best feeling in the world because since I’ve been here, we have not beaten them.”
After the game, McConnell-Miller said her team was very happy to have gotten a win at home against the Longhorns.
“I can tell you that they are a very proud and happy team right now,” McConnell-Miller said.
Saturday’s victory over the Longhorns improves the Buffs’ record to 14-11, and 3-9 in the Big 12.
The Buffs will play No. 17 Kansas State in Boulder next Saturday.
Contact Staff Writer Brad Cochi at firstname.lastname@example.org.