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The game was no fairy tale ending, but it really was something for the story books.
A crowd of 6,012 came to salute the University of Colorado women’s basketball team’s three seniors in their final home game.
CU came back from a 22-2 deficit against the Baylor Bears to go into the locker room down just 34-28. But Baylor and 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner were too much to overcome and the Buffs, who lost the bout 81-59 Saturday at the Coors Events Center.
Senior Britney Blythe, who finished the game with three points and two assists, said she liked how her team came together in final seven minutes before the break.
“I think you could tell that we really came together once we made that run and came back in the first half,” Blythe said.
“I like our resiliency and our fight in the first half,” Head Coach Linda Lappe said. “I think that showed a lot about our team. We got down big to start the game and could have packed it in early and didn’t. I think that tells you a lot about the character of our players – to keep fighting and to keep believing.”
Brittany Spears lead the team, just missing a double-double with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Her final game at the Coors Events Center helped her move into 10th on the Big 12’s all-time scoring list.
Spears has racked up 2,054 points in her 122 career starts. With 521 points this season, she is only the second player to score 500 points in three seasons.
The game was especially emotional for the seniors, who faced a new coaching staff in their final year at Colorado.
Chelsea Dale finished the game with five rebounds and two assists and was visibly emotional after she thanked the fans and the band after the game.
She was especially grateful to the coaching staff which she said has been motivational and supported the players 100 percent.
“I think in the position the three of us were in when we were in the process of getting a new coaching staff, we were afraid that we’d kind of be left out of what they were expecting in the future – ‘Let’s just kind of get these guys out and then we’ll move on with the program,’” Dale said. “As soon as Coach Lappe and the staff came in, we were a part of everything. They made us feel as though we were the leaders and that we weren’t going to miss a beat with these guys.”
The Buffaloes’ regular season is over, but they head into the Big 12 tournament as the 9th seed to face the Kansas Jayhawks.
The team feels ready for their third match up with KU, saying that it’s their turn to lose.
“A lot of us are really excited,” Blythe said. “We know that anything can happen. Like Coach Lappe always says, ‘It’s March, you never know what can happen.’”
Lappe said she likes how her team has improved throughout the season and they’re ready to agitate some teams in the tourney.
“Our confidence has gotten better, and that’s the biggest thing when you go into the tournament,” Lappe said. “You’ve got to have a swagger and a certain level of confidence and I think we have that.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Marlee Horn at firstname.lastname@example.org.