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Tuesday, January 3,2012

CU women win first Pac-12 game

By Matt Sparkman

After trailing by eight with 8:33 to go, Colorado women’s basketball held Utah scoreless for the duration of the game to win, 58-52.

“We knew we had to play better and get stops,” said head coach Linda Lappe. “I knew our offense would finally catch fire, and it did at the end.”

Senior forward Julie Seabrook led the Buffs in scoring with 17 points, 12 from beyond the arc. Brittany Wilson added 14 points, bringing her usual spark off the bench.

Saturday’s triumph wasn’t especially pretty. Colorado turned the ball over 17 times and shot below 50 percent from the free-throw line, numbers that will undoubtedly give Lappe headaches on the way back from Salt Lake.

But CU’s effort represents everything Lappe stands for. When she was hired in the spring of 2010, Lappe explained that when the going got tough, (and it always does, she added) good teams come together instead of going their separate ways.

Things got tough in Salt Lake for CU. What was once a nine-point CU lead evaporated and turned into a 10-point ledger for the Utes in the second half.

Instead of continuing to head south, as some teams of recent years past would have done, the Buffs came together in a major way.

As Utah’s Iwalani Rodrigues sunk two free throws to put the Utes up by eight with only 8:33 to go, Lappe’s Buffs decided to display why they are arguably the best defensive team in the Pac-12.

CU’s defensive grind began to frustrate Utah. Missed field goals and turnovers took its toll, as Utah committed an intentional foul on Chucky Jeffery out of frustration. Jeffery missed both free throws and went on to miss a jumper on the ensuing possession to continue Colorado’s offensive woes.

Continuing to get defensive stops, the Buffs started to hit shots on offense. Jeffery took over in the closing minutes, rattling off six straight points to put the Buffs up by two. Seabrook hit a three to ice the game for the Buffs, giving them their 12th straight victory and their 19th in their last 22 tries.

Colorado will look for their 13th straight win on Thursday, at Washington.

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