In a hard-fought game Sunday afternoon, the University of Colorado’s women’s basketball team came out on the losing end.
In front of a 5,885-person crowd at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, the Colorado Buffaloes (15-5, 4-5 Pac-12) fell 62-54 in overtime to the University of California, Los Angeles Bruins (10-10, 5-4 Pac-12).
“We came out from the start and we were flat,” said CU head coach Linda Lappe. “We missed a lot of easy shots, missed a lot of free throws, and obviously, more so than offense, didn’t make the defensive stops down the stretch like we did at other parts of the game.”
The Buffs hit 31 percent of their field goals, going 3-of-14 from behind the 3-point line and shooting 15-of-25 from the foul line. They committed 25 turnovers and only had 5 team assists.
UCLA shot 34.3 percent, only making two three-pointers and 14 of their 22 free throws.
UCLA junior guard Markel Walker led all scorers with 24 points, going 9-of-21 from the floor and 6-of-9 from the foul line. Senior guard Rebekah Gardener scored 17 points for the Bruins, and sophomore guard Thea Lemberger had 13.
CU Freshman guard Lexy Kresl scored 15 points for the Buffs, and junior guard Chucky Jeffery had 14.
The Buffs struggled through most of the first half, missing easy shots and turning the ball over. Colorado was 8-of-29 from the field and missed five free throws.
Despite the Buffs’ errors, the Bruins could not break the game open due to their own shooting troubles. UCLA shot 9-of-30 and 4-of-7 from the foul line.
The Buffs managed to settle down in the final minutes of the half, bringing the score to 17-15 with 3:56 left. The Bruins stretched their lead to 3 points with under a minute left, but Jeffery came alive for the Buffs with a steal and a layup followed by a buzzer-beating jumper to give Colorado a 24-23 lead at the break.
Jeffery said the teamed lacked some focus to start the game.
“I think that we were really flustered at the beginning of the game, bobbling passes, dropping passes and turning the ball over,” Jeffery said. “I think we were going too fast and never got settled until later on in the first half. Then we started getting shots, but coming out we need to be way more focused.”
With momentum on their side, the Buffs came out much stronger to start the second half. They pushed their lead to six points but couldn’t keep the Bruins away.
The game was back-and-forth for the remainder of the half. In the dying seconds, the Buffs held a two point lead, but the Bruins came down the court and scored a hard-fought layup with 7.5 seconds left.
The Buffs had one last chance to win the game in regulation, but they couldn’t capitalize on their opportunity and headed into overtime.
During overtime, the Buffs struggled offensively. UCLA’s defensive pressure only allowed the Buffs to make three shots. On the other end of the floor, the Bruins had all the momentum, pushing their lead to eight points and never looking back.
After the game, the players said they weren’t happy with their overtime performance.
“We really didn’t fight back as early as we should have,” Kresl said. “We weren’t as much of a presence as we were in the beginning of the game. We didn’t apply much pressure or box out like we were supposed to.”
The Buffs head for the state of Oregon for their next two games. They will take on Oregon State on Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. and the University of Oregon two days later, on Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mark McNeillie at Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org.