The buildup was big, but Colorado’s effort was bigger. The CU women’s basketball team took on – and took down – No. 8 Louisville 70-66 on Friday night at the Coors Events Center.
But it wasn’t easy for the Buffaloes to remain unbeaten (9-0).
CU led by as many as 13 (64-51) in the final 3 minutes before Louisville’s full-court pressure sparked a 10-0 run and allowed the Cardinals to close to 68-66 in the final half-minute.
But Jen Reese scored on a critical put-back after two missed free throws by Brittany Wilson with 11.1 seconds remaining to give the Buffs their first win against a Top Ten opponent since the 2002 CU team defeated No. 5 Stanford in the NCAA’s Sweet 16. Buffs coach Linda Lappe was a junior on that squad.
The Buffs had four players in double figures, topped by Chucky Jeffery’s 22. Arielle Roberson added 13 and Reese and Wilson had 11 each. CU center Rachel Hargis contributed seven points and a career-high seven blocks.
Louisville (9-2) was led by Antonita Slaughter’s 19. Cardinals’ leading scorer Shoni Schimmel was held to four.
The Buffs are off until Saturday, Dec. 22 when they host Utah Valley (1:30 p.m.). They close non-conference play a week later against New Mexico (2:30 p.m., Coors Events Center).
Jeffery scored the game’s first basket to give CU a 2-0 lead, but the Buffs trailed for almost the next 10 minutes. The good news: They never let the Cardinals get more than a five-point lead before they made their move to go ahead on a 11-0 run that put them up 23-16.
Roberson scored five points during that spurt, with Jeffery and Lexy Kresl each adding a three-pointer.
Louisville closed the gap to three (23-20) before CU surged again, this time riding Jeffery’s five points and an inside basket by Rachel Hargis on the way to a 7-2 run that gave the Buffs their biggest early lead – 30-22.
Lappe liberally subbed her posts and it paid off. Hargis contributed her best half of the season, hitting three of four field goals, blocking a season-high three shots, collecting two rebounds and getting one steal.
She was on the receiving end of a Jeffery pass in the half’s closing seconds, scoring a layup that put the Buffs up 36-30 at intermission. Jeffery led all first-half scorers with 13 points and was the only player on either team in double figures.
The Buffs held the Cardinals to 39.1 percent from the field (9-for-23) and shut out Schimmel, who entered the game with a team-best 12.1 points a game. Mostly, the job of defending her fell to Brittany Wilson – and “B-Wil” stayed as close as fuzz on a peach.
Louisville entered the game with a plus-9.1 rebounding edge, but was out-boarded 19-12 in the first 20 minutes. CU forced the visitors into 10 first-half turnovers, but matched that total.
The Buffs started the last half in an offensive stupor, not getting their first points until Roberson hit a pair of free throws (38-34) with 15:36 remaining. She followed those with a basket in the lane to push CU ahead again by six (40-34).
But Monique Reid answered with a pair of quick inside buckets to cut the Buffs’ advantage to two (40-38). The Cardinals then pulled to within 41-40 on a bucket by Shawnta Dyer. But the Buffs temporarily held them at bay.
At the 10-minute mark, CU was up 48-43, but a three-pointer by Slaughter trimmed the lead to 48-46. The Buffs held that two-point advantage until Brittany Wilson hit both ends of a one-and-one to up CU’s lead to 50-46 with 7:18 to play.
The Cardinals weren’t done – and the Buffs weren’t even close. A pair of Slaughter free throws pulled them to 50-48 before Jen Reese banked in a short jumper for a 52-48 CU lead with 5:22 showing.
That started a 10-0 Buffs run that produced their biggest lead of the night — 60-49 – with 3:33 remaining.
Here’s how it happened: Jeffery followed with an acrobatic layup to make it 54-48 with just under 5 minutes left, Reese got another basket, and Kresl and Brittany Wilson scored on fast-break lay-ins. The Buffs were up by 11 points, the Cardinals were staggering and the CEC was rocking.
But Louisville’s 10-0 run and a frantic finish were on the way.
Colorado Head Coach Linda Lappe
“I am really proud and happy for our players, they have worked hard sense the end of last season to do what we did tonight, it is a great feeling. I thought we executed great both offensively and defensively, there were times where we really struggled to score the ball but we hung in there until the end. We have some teaching points from that last two minutes of the game and I think that will help us; we don’t practice up thirteen with forty five seconds left, so we have to go back and do that. I am very proud and excited for our team and this program and our University.”
On The Last Two Minutes Of The Game
“It was a little nerve-racking but we were just trying to pass the ball too much. They were obviously going to foul us, but at some point you just have to want to be fouled and go to the free throw line. We were having trouble getting the ball inbounds we were really pushed towards the baseline; we need to get some space there. It felt like it was a lot of us and what we were doing, and that is a good thing because we can fix that.”
On Jen Reese’s Put Back
“Holy, cow, we talk about that all of the time, we work on free throw box out all of the time, we work on offensive positioning for the free-throw. I have seen those offensive rebounds win games, we let them get one which was huge for them, and I have seen a lot of games one off of that. I felt like we are in trouble if Jen doesn’t get that put-back, I wouldn’t say she crashes hard every time but to know that she knows she needed to do that in that particular time was great, and Jen just has a great fell for the game. It was all effort.”
On Brittany’s Defensive Game
“I felt like Brittany really frustrated Shoni, and didn’t give her many open looks all night long. Her open shots, the few were not very good shots. I thought her presence on the ball and being able to get through screens was awesome, I thought Brittany had her for the majority of the game.”
On Rachel Hargis’s Game
“Rachel was ready; we knew it was going to be a war on the block. And Rachel thrives anytime I tell her it is going to be a war on the block, she gets excited about it, she is a physical player, she loves physical contact. She is athletic and a strong player and I thought she moved very well. They have good post players and they dominated a lot of teams, and they dominated us for a portion of the second half and then we started picking up our defense a little bit. Rachel got a little bit tired in the second half and let down her guard a little bit but towards the end she brought back her physical existence. Their post players thought twice before they took a shot, and they were trying to change their shot, and even the shots that she didn’t block, she changed or made them think twice.”
On The Poise Of The Team
“We started down at the beginning of the game, but you didn’t really see a change in our players demeanor which I thought was great. We knew that the steady team was going to win that game, because we knew there were going to be ups and downs of that game. I think the biggest stretch was when we didn’t score to come out of the half, the fact that we were able to keep the lead, and for me to be able to talk to our team with seven minutes left and tell them we hadn’t played our best game this half, yet we were still two points ahead; I think that gave our team a lot of confidence. It could have gone two different ways at that point, and we decided that we have to win the last two media timeouts, that is what we have to do. Really we were just the aggressors during that time period; we were moving the ball well, I thought Chucky had some nice looks during that period of time, she was aggressive to the rim and we were knocking down shots. Jen Resse had a couple of great shots in that period.”
On This Win Feeling Different
“It is because we expect it, yes on paper it might look like we were the underdogs; but I told our team that we have to have the underdog mentality in the fact that we don’t need to feel the pressure, they have all of the pressure. We can have a lot of fun, but we are not underdogs when it comes to the expectation and our players understand that. We knew we would have to fight hard every single second.”
Chucky Jeffery, Sr., G
On The Overall Game
“It means a lot. I am so excited. I am so happy. We played like a team. I think we’re a great team and we came out and we fought today and no matter what happened and we got the win. I am just so excited. We didn’t have the best few seasons prior to this, so for us to come out and beat a ranked team like this, it just means a lot.”
On Final Minute And A Half
“We got a little flustered and started throwing the ball around a bit. They were capitalizing on us so we realized we had to throw down and relax a bit because there was still time left in the game. (We had to) get the ball and secure it. We were throwing the ball around a little bit and I threw a terrible pass. I should have just held the ball and let the time run out. Jen (Reese) came up with a big offensive rebound that won us the game. I am just happy we won.”
On Brittany Wilson’s Defense
“She did a phenomenal job. We knew who number 23 was coming into the game and I think Brittany guarded her better than anything. That was probably one of the best defensive games I’ve seen Brittany play.”
“We can’t be (intimidated). At the end of the day, it is still another game. Everyone puts on their shoes the same way we do. We just had to come out and be confident in our game plan and play the game.”
On Controlling Our Emotions
“We were able to talk to each other. We knew it was going to be a big opportunity for us but we knew we couldn’t come out and be over excited or over anxious. We did a good job when things got rowdy. When we went down, we regrouped. I think we kept our composure for the most part.”
Brittany Wilson, Jr., G
On Guarding Shoni Schimmel
“That is the second time I have played her and I knew that I wanted to shut down a Big East All-American. I had the team’s help. It was just a great thing to be able to shut her down and not let her score in the first half and not let her score until the last four minutes of the game. It was a great day.”
On The Stretch That Gave Colorado A 13-Point Lead
“Our offense was stagnant, but so was there’s so we had to defend and that’s the only thing we were worried about. Our shots weren’t falling. We stayed on 36 (points) for I don’t know how long. We guarded them and we knew that we had to get some stops. Once our offense started to go, we just brought our defensive pressure up that much more. I think we have a great team this year. Our depth and our defense is amazing.”
On What it Would Mean to Be Ranked
“Since I got here my freshmen year and Coach Lappe’s first year, all we’re trying to do is bring tradition back to the school and build the fan base. We’re trying to get things back to how they used to be. We can’t look too much at it, it is only a number, just like they took that number and we beat them. We need to keep playing like the underdogs and just keep swinging and everything will fall into place from there. If we do and when we do get a number, it is just a number so we just have to keep playing like we have been playing and do the things that we have been doing and we will be fine.”
Rachel Hargis, Jr., C
On Her Game
“I didn’t realize I had seven blocks until now. We knew it was going to be a physical tough game from the beginning and I like physicality. I was ready to go and I knew that if we were going to win, then I needed to do my job.”
“I think that the experience has helped me a lot knowing when to be smart and when to go for those blocks. I have just done a lot better job of not getting into foul trouble.”
On Pac-12 Teams Being Ranked
“I think it is a great thing for the Pac-12 and for us going into the Pac-12. Cal, Stanford, and UCLA are all ranked. If four Pac-12 teams would be ranked, that would be awesome and get our NCAA bids up even more, so that would be a big deal for us.”
Louisville Head Coach Jeff Walz
On the loss
“We knew going into the game that we were going to have to rebound the basketball. Colorado does a great job of going to the offensive glass and our goal was to keep them under twelve second-chance points. We did a great job in the second half, until the end. It’s a two point game and a kid goes to the line and shoots two free throws and we put ourselves into the position to win. She missed two and then we just didn’t box out. It’s a killer.”
On needed improvements
“We got some good shots, we got some good looks. We just didn’t knock them down. It’s an area of the game that we have to continue to work on. We’ve got to get better.”
“We knew coming out here that this was going to be a very good test for us. Colorado is a very good basketball team. Arielle Roberson is a big-time post player and Chucky [Jeffery] is a great point guard. I was very impressed with Colorado on film. Overall, they have been the best team that we’ve played this year. We’ve played some teams with some great individual players that can break you down one-on-one, but as an entire team, I think Colorado is the best
that we’ve played.”
Last time the Buffs were unranked and beat a Top 10 team was a 63-49 win over No. 7/7 Texas Tech on Jan. 11, 1997. The last time Colorado defeated a Top 10 team overall, was a 62-59 win by the No. 12/12 Buffaloes over No. 5/5 Stanford in the 2002 NCAA Sweet 16. CU head coach Linda Lappe was a junior on that team.
The win was No. 699 for the Colorado women’s basketball program (699-450, .608)
The Buffaloes defeated the Cardinals in their first ever matchup 70-66
The Buffaloes improve to 13-9 against the teams that currently make up the Big East. Colorado has won its last three games against the Big East.
Colorado is 1-0 against ranked teams this season. For Colorado it was its 14th all-time win over a Top 10 ranked team.
Colorado is 62-142 all-time against ranked opponents, including a 38-45 mark at home.
Colorado is 3-5 against ranked teams under Linda Lappe.
Colorado is 9-0 for the second straight year; its fourth start of 9-0.
Colorado has a 371-126 record at the Coors Events Center, 6-0 at home this season.
Brittany Wilson (11 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal)
Wilson set a season high for assists (5). She tied her season high record for rebounds (6), last vs. Idaho (11/11/12). Has gone 19-for-21 from the free throw line this season and 35 of her last 43 free-throw attempts (.814). She hit 19 in a row to begin the season before missing her final two.
Rachel Hargis (7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals)
Set a career high and a team season high in blocked shots (7). Her seven blocks were just one off the school record for a game. Two player have eight, Jackie McFarland against South Dakota State on Dec. 28, 2005 and Britt Hartshorn vs. Nebraska on Jan. 23, 1999. She has nine blocks over the last three games after totaling just three in the first six contests.
Chucky Jeffery (22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists)
The 16th player in team history to reach 1,300 points. Set season highs for 3-pointers made and attempted (2-of-5) and free throws made and attempted (8-of-10).
Arielle Roberson (13 points, 7 rebounds)
Scored double figures for the ninth time to begin her career, just one off the school record of 10 set by Tracy Tripp in 1985-86.