The Colorado Buffaloes women’s basketball team is proving this season will be much different than their last.
When CU played Seton Hall last year, they lost 77-40. But this year, the Buffaloes strove for a very different story as they gained revenge Sunday, defeating the Pirates 80-54 in front of 2,185 fans at the Coors Events Center.
The game started out strong for the Buffs (6-1) with help of two 3-pointers from junior forward Brittany Spears and one from freshman guard Chucky Jeffery.
Despite their five turnovers in the first five minutes, CU settled down and kept their game in check.
The team ran up 18 points in the first eight minutes, whereas in last year’s game, they scored only 13 in the first half.
With the offensive game of freshman forward Meagan Malcolm-Peck and two assists by junior guard Whitney Houston, the Buffaloes raised the score to 39-30 going into halftime.
CU didn’t lose any speed once the second half began. Sophomore guard Alyssa Fressle went on a 10-point run to extend the Buffs’ lead.
Even though the Pirates (5-4) attempted to come back with mini-runs in between some down moments by the Buffs, it just wasn’t good enough.
“I don’t want it to be 10 straight points, we disappear, 10 straight points,” CU head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said. “I’ve looked at film, there’s a lot of different reasons why that happens. They are either subbed or they are tired, but never the mentality of we just don’t care anymore.”
The Buffaloes’ lead was widened by successful free throw attempts. Spears went 3-of-4 from the line while senior guard Bianca Smith went a perfect 2-of-2.
Overall, the team won by a smashing 26 points, lighting up the scoreboard at the end of the game.
The team registered a season-high 21 assists against the Pirates with Jeffery leading the way with six. Beyond that, Spears finished with a double-double as she ended the night with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
McConnell-Miller credited the win to the way her team has welcomed the new players and the progression they have made since last season.
“What I’m most pleased about is what’s happened over a 12-month period,” McConnell-Miller said.
Keeping last year’s loss in mind, McConnell-Miller made sure her team didn’t stop playing hard regardless of their large lead throughout the game.
“I like to teach them and reinforce that we play every possession as if the score is tied, and it’s the end of the game and we need to score,” McConnell-Miller said. “I hope that at no point did I let up or act like it was in hand.”
The coach said she was also extremely proud of Fressle’s 10-point run early in the second half.
“I think this game was important for Alyssa,” McConnell-Miller said. “She’s had a great week of preparation, I thought, and it definitely carried over. I think it was good for our team and it was great for her confidence.”
Fressle said she felt much more confident with everything falling into place with the part of her game she loves most — scoring easy fast break-points — compared to previous games this season.
“In the previous five games, I might have struggled a little bit,” Fressle said.
After the win, the Buffaloes say they are prepared to take on players from the Big 12 Conference as conference play begins next month.
“It gives you confidence because [the Pirates are] very athletic too, and the Big 12 is athletic,” Spears said. “So it just gives us the confidence that we can play against that many teams and really guard them and score against them.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Marlee Horn at Marlee.email@example.com.