The Colorado Women’s Basketball team defeated the Samford Bulldogs 71-60 at the Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham, Alabama on Friday night.
The Buffaloes started out sluggish on the offensive side of the ball, struggling to find a sense of cohesiveness with each other. The Buffs opened up the game down six nothing as the Samford Bulldogs began to roll as an offense. Freshman forward Annika Jank finally got the Buffs on the board with a three-point ball. Junior guard Alexis Robinson stole the ball for Colorado and passed it ahead to Jank who pulled up for the three. Missed shots, turnovers and sloppy play plagued the Buffs for most of the first half as they headed into halftime down 31-14.
For the rest of the first half however, the Buffaloes looked like a team that was nervous and shook by the pressure of being on the road and playing in their regular season opener. The Samford Bulldogs forced mistakes from Colorado and took the opportunity to capitalize.
Robinson had five points, four steals and one assist for the first half. Junior guard Kennedy Leonard added four points with one steal and senior guard Brecca Thomas had two points with one steal as well. The Buffs could not maintain possession of the ball, they either committed a foul or had the ball stolen.
The Buffs came out of halftime strong, looking like a completely different team. After only putting up 14 points in the first half, the Buffaloes exploded for 57 in the second half. Who knows what was said by the players and Colorado coach JR Payne in the locker room during halftime, but whatever happened in that locker room certainly paid dividends for the Buffs.
All of a sudden, it was the Bulldogs who couldn’t catch a break. Samford began to turn the ball over, miss shots and botch rebound opportunities. The Buffaloes had 24 points off turnovers to the Bulldogs 10. The Buffs also had 12 points off second chance opportunities to the Bulldogs six points.
One reason for all the points off turnovers was that the Buffs opened the second half with a press defense. From the opening inbound pass of the second half, there was not a moment where a Bulldogs player did not have a Buff harassing them mercilessly. Sometimes there were two Buffs applying pressure to a Bulldogs player, it depended on the situation. The press defense paid off for the Buffs as they forced 14 steals to the Bulldogs six. Robinson led the way for the Buffs with 5 total steals for the game.
From those turnovers came opportunities to score for the Buffaloes and score they did in the second half. Sophomore guard Quinessa Caylao-Do led the buffs in scoring with 18 total points. Robinson and Jank both had 16 points respectively, and the Buffaloes flexed their muscles in the second half as they never gave up.
Colorado trailed Samford for most of the game and did not earn their first lead until their was 4:52 remaining in the game. From there, Colorado never looked back as Robinson hit a jumper to increase Colorado’s lead to six with 56 seconds remaining. Colorado would go on to hit some clutch free throws an wrap up the win 71-60.
Up next, Colorado travels to North Carolina to take on the University of North Carolina Tar Heels on November 12 at 12 p.m MST.
Contact Sports Writer Yama Radtke at firstname.lastname@example.org.