While there were definite high points and reasons to be optimistic for the future, the Colorado women’s basketball season ended in disappointment. After earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament and home court advantage in the first two rounds the Buffs were favored over No.12 seed Kansas but got upset 67—52 in the first round.
“The thing that I like is that we put the program back on the map, and that’s important,” head coach Linda Lappe said of the season in the post-game press conference.
Before losing to Kansas the Buffs only other losses came against teams ranked in the top 25 and their home record was an amazing 16-2. After losing to both Cal and Stanford twice, the Buffs fell to then No. 18 UCLA in the regular season.
During the Pac-12 tournament CU fell to the Stanford Cardinals once again before ending their season against Kansas bringing them to a final record of 25-7. The 25 wins are the most the team has had since the 1995-96 season. The Buffs did have one top ten win on their resume as they beat then No. 8 and future national champion runner up Louisville at the beginning of the season.
“We’ve been in a lot of different scenarios, and it doesn’t matter. We expect to win the game,” Lappe said after the Kansas game.
The Buffs weren’t ranked before the season started and were a surprise to many as they hadn’t made it to the NCAA tournament since 2004. In only three years Lappe has turned the program around and made them a serious contender in both the Pac-12 and the country.
After turning so many heads during the regular season, while playing in one of the toughest conferences in the country, it was a bittersweet ending to the season. No one expected them to be a five seed at the start of the season but once they earned it, no one expected them to lose.
“So, we’re disappointed when we look at it now, but when you go back and look at our season you can definitely be proud of a lot of things that our players accomplished and our staff accomplished,” Lappe said. “And now we’ve got to just keep getting better from here and keep moving forward.”
One of those players was senior guard Chucky Jeffery who ended her illustrious Colorado career with the loss to Kansas. It was the first time in the four years she played that the team made the tournament.
“It’s very disappointing,” Jeffery said during the postgame press conference. “We didn’t want it to end this early. It’s kind of sad being my last game, but I wouldn’t have gone through the season with any other team.”
Jeffery earned her share of awards this season including being named to the All-Pac-12 team and earned an honorable mention to the 2012-13 Associated Press Women’s Basketball All-American team. She became the first Buff player to earn the honor since the 2007-08 season.
Jeffery was rewarded as she was the fifth Buff to be selected in the WNBA draft. Jeffery was taken with the 12th pick in the second round by the Minnesota Lynx. Jeffery led Colorado in scoring [13.7 ppg], assists [4.0 apg], rebounds [8.2 rpg] and steals [2.2 spg] this season.
“I think the program has come a long ways, especially since I first got on campus.” Jeffery said after the Kansas game while talking about her four years with the Buffs.
With only three girls graduating, the Buffs are primed for deep runs for many seasons to come. Along with Jeffery, twins Brenna and Meagan Malcolm-Peck are also graduating. Junior center Rachel Hargis, who missed the Kansas game with a knee injury will be back and ready to take the team to the next step.
“She’s definitely a great defender and whether it’s her presence or her communication and intensity that she brings which is what we missed,” freshman forward Arielle Roberson said of Hargis during the Kansas post-game press conference.
Roberson has three years left at CU and will be one of the best players on the team for years to come.
“Sure we didn’t end the way we thought it would, but I think we did a lot of great, uncommon things this year and we can continue to build on that stuff.” Roberson said after the Kansas game.
If the Buffs can make it back to the NCAA tournament next year it will be the first time they have back to back appearances since a four year run from 2001-2004.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Scott Annis at Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org.