Lappe's CU Buffs off to best start in 8 years after beating CSU Rams
By Brian HowellCamera Sports Writer
11/20/2011 04:07:10 PM MST
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FORT COLLINS -- Colorado's women's basketball team was hoping for a good start to Sunday's game at Colorado State.
They wound up with a great start and a solid finish in a 72-53 rout of the rival Rams at Moby Arena.
"We came out really hard and knew we had to play defense and be really strong in there," junior Meagan Malcolm-Peck said. "We really wanted to throw the first punch and I think that's what we did."
CU's Chucky Jeffery prepares to go up for a shot against Colorado State's Meghan Heimstra during Sunday's game at Moby Arena in Fort Collins.
It was more than a punch. CU nearly knocked the Rams (1-3) out in the first 10 minutes to run its record to 3-0 for the first time since the 2003-04 season.CSU's Meghan Heimstra, from Silver Creek High School, scored 16 seconds in to put the Rams up 2-0. CU followed with an 18-0 run, keeping the Rams scoreless for 9 minutes.
"We came out and we knew we had to jump on them," said CU's Chucky Jeffery, who tied for the team lead with 14 points. "Our defense was intense and we had them rattled. We went on a run for a long period of time and it was hard for them to catch up. Once we kept piling on, it was going to be hard for them to catch up to us."
Once CU got the lead into double-digits, it stayed there the rest of the afternoon. CSU got within 11 late in the half and within 13 with 4:45 to play in the game. But the Rams never were able to sustain any momentum.
"The thing I liked about it is we didn't then let up," CU coach Linda Lappe said. "They made some nice plays on the other end, but it's not like we gave them anything. I liked our intensity throughout and I liked every time they made a run, we came back and we responded."
The Buffs responded with their great balance on offense. Throughout the early stages of the season, the Buffs have touted their balance, and they continue to prove it. Six Buffs scored between eight and 14 points, led by Jeffery and Lexy Kresl, with 14 each. Malcolm-Peck and Jen Reese added 12 apiece.
In addition, Rachel Hargis came close to a double-double, with 9 points and eight rebounds, and Brittany Wilson scored eight points, including two big 3-pointers in CU's initial 18-0 burst.
"Everyone is doing an awesome job and everyone is really jelling together well," said Malcolm-Peck, who had just 10 points in the first two games combined.
In addition to the balanced scoring, the Buffs were thrilled with their rebounding and defense. CU had not been particularly good on the boards in the first two games, but out-rebounded the bigger Rams 37-28. Five players had at least five boards, led by Hargis' eight.
"We knew if we weren't going to rebound and if they were going to be tougher than we were, then we weren't going to win and we might have gotten beat by 20 or 30," Lappe said. "We talked a lot about that this week. We got our players in the mindset of being physical and boxing out and setting the tone early on making sure we got all the loose balls and got the 50-50 balls and didn't get basketballs ripped out of our hands, like we had previously."
Defensively, the Buffs kept the Rams' main weapons from hurting them. Kim Mestdagh led all scorers with 19, but she didn't make any 3s (she attempted just one). And, aside from Mestdagh, Heimstra (nine points) was the only Ram with more than six points.
"That's how we scouted it, that's how we played it," Jeffery said. "I think our defense did great. We had an all-around good team game."