After taking down Utah in Boulder, 54-49 on Wednesday evening, the University of Colorado women’s basketball team headed to Salt Lake City for a rematch with the Utes on Saturday afternoon. The Utes got revenge on their home court, beating the Buffs in a close one again decided by five points, 58-53.
The Buffs were led in scoring by sophomore guard Kennedy Leonard, who dropped 13. Colorado had a rough night from deep, only making a lone three-pointer out of 14 tries. It was another rough loss for the Buffaloes, who once again could not hold onto a halftime lead. The Buffs led 28-25 at the halfway point, but the Utes played a solid third quarter, outscoring CU 20-13.
A pair of free throws made by senior center Zoe Beard-Fails at the 8:25 mark in the third quarter signaled the only points Colorado would put up until nearly six minutes later, when junior center Zoe Correal made a layup. At that point, the Buffs trailed 41-34 and had allowed Utah to go on a 16-0 run.
Sophomore forward Makenzie Ellis drew first blood for Colorado in the game, making a free throw. Two more shots at the charity stripe by senior center Bri Watts near the end of the quarter gave the Buffaloes an 11-10 advantage after ten minutes of play.
Utah took a 17-16 lead with just under eight minutes to go before halftime and maintained a small advantage over Colorado for the next few minutes. A media timeout with 3:49 left in the second sparked the Buffaloes into a renewed offensive attack. The team regained the lead, going up 28-25 at the half thanks to a layup by Leonard with ten seconds left in the quarter.
The rough third quarter spoiled the Buffaloes’ chance for a second straight Pac-12 victory. Colorado led as late as the 5:15 mark in the final quarter. But up 49-48, the Buffaloes again allowed Utah to go on a decent scoring run. In the next two and a half minutes, Colorado failed to score a basket while allowing seven points to the Utes. With 2:53 to play, the Buffs trailed, 55-49.
Colorado hung around, coming to within two after a free throw by Smith with just 39 seconds left. With the team down 55-53, head coach JR Payne used her timeouts as efficiently as possible, but it was not enough for the Buffaloes. Late free throws by Utah sealed their fate.
On the day, the Buffs made 19-of-52 shots from the floor, good for a 36.5 percent conversion rate. Utah fared slightly better, making about 41 percent of its shots. Last Wednesday in Boulder, the Buffaloes outmuscled the Utes near the glass, snagging 48 rebounds to Utah’s 37. But on the road, the Buffs were unable to repeat the trend. Utah grabbed 42 boards to CU’s 34.
Sophomore guard Alexis Robinson was second on the team, after Leonard, with nine points. The two shot a combined 8-of-30 from the floor in the loss. Freshman forward Monica Burich also added nine points, but fouled out in the fourth quarter. Senior guard/forward Haley Smith tied Burich with eight rebounds, which led the team. Smith and Leonard played the whole game.
Up next for the Buffs is a home game versus Washington State on Friday, Feb. 3. The Buffaloes and Cougars will tipoff at 6 p.m. (MST)
Contact CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo.