In head coach JR Payne’s season debut with the University of Colorado, the Buffaloes took down the Northern Colorado Bears on the road, 83-62.
It comes as a welcome start to the season for the Buffs, who won just seven contests during the 2015-16 season. The Buffaloes never trailed in this victory.
The Buffaloes built up a sizeable lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Colorado led UNC 30-14 after the first 10 minutes and commanded a 49-28 lead at the halfway point.
Sophomore guard Kennedy Leonard started her 2016-17 campaign with a 26-point performance, which led the team. She registered nine assists in the contest and made 10-of-18 shots from the floor.
Overall shooting percentage was a main area of concern for Payne’s Buffaloes heading into this season. Last year, the Buffs converted just 39.1 percent of shots from the floor. On Friday night in Greeley, the team made 32 of 63 attempted shots, good for a near-51 percent rate.
The Buffaloes’ sophomores paved the way for victory tonight. Complimenting Leonard’s standout night, guard Alexis Robinson scored 17, going 7-of-13 from the floor.
Colorado also got some help from the bench, as the Buffs’ subs registered 21 points in the win. The Buffaloes also scored 20 points off of turnovers on Friday.
During the game, it was UNC that resembled the Buffaloes of last season. The Bears made just 38.3 percent of their shot from the floor. Northern Colorado’s two leading scorers, Savannah Smith and Krysta Leger-Walker, went a combined 9-of-31 on the night. They combined for 24 points.
Senior forward Haley Smith scored 10 points and was tied with UNC’s Smith in the total minutes played category. Both Smiths were on the court for 34 minutes apiece.
Colorado will open its season at Coors Events Center Sunday against Air Force Academy. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo